At the end of the three periods of programming, the L.E.A.D.E.R. (Liaisons Entre Actions de Développement de l’Economie Rurale, a European Community Funding Initiative) approach turns into a method for implementing community programmes thus ranking in the wide sector of general programming of the rural field, (Sicily RDP, Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 – Axis IV).

The LEADER comes to have a multi-sector feature in the new programming, with its integrated and bottom-up approach and the further involvement of the GAL, legal personalities constituted of both private and public partners representing the private and public interests of the territory affected by the LEADER actions.

The personalities the LEADER turns to are both Public and private Bodies who cooperate in the development of the rural areas where they work and act.

The primary goal the LEADER set itself is to favour the implementation of development strategies that, starting from priority issues, can make the rural areas more dynamic. Other aims of LEADER are to encourage rural areas to open to European and non-European countries and to promote and spread knowledge and experiences.

The testing of new forms of enhancement of cultural and natural heritage as well as the expansion of the economical sector in order to help create new jobs and improve the management ability of the local communities are further goals LEADER intends to reach.

As for the diversification of rural economy, the LEADER method develops through the following steps of Axis III:

  • Measure 312 “ Support to the creation and development of microenterprises”
  • Measure 313 “Promotion of tourist activities”

Those actions aiming at improving life quality in rural areas will be carried out through Steps 321, 322, 323 concerning the essential services for the economy and people, the development and renewal of the villages and the conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage, respectively.

Prior to the elaboration and implementation of local development strategies, Step 341 is considered in order to provide competence and animation.

With regard to the implementation of local development strategies promoting better quality of life, diversification and interregional and transnational cooperation, the LEADER method will be applied through Axis 4 of the Rural Development Programme (RDP), measures 413, 412; while measure 431 will deal with the organization of the GALs.

GALs’ task will be to elaborate and present strategies for the development of the area they are responsible for in accordance with the provisions in Axis IV of Sicily RDP 2007-2013, through the drawing up of a Local Development Plan.

The operating methods and criteria of the LDPs accepted for financing are specified in the Manual of operating and implementing provisions in Axis IV “Implementation of the Leader method” (4th August 2012) which complements the frame of operating provisions provided for by Axis IV of the RDP 2007-2013 of Sicily Region.

The implementation of the LDP develops within a well-defined set of programming points and regulations. The implemental plan of Axis IV concerning programming is described in the Sicily RDP 2007-2013 ( Axis IV, paragraph 5.3.4 “Implementation of the Leader method”). Moreover, as the scope of the LDPs’ action is mostly expressed by some Measures of Axis III, it is consequently essential to take the plans of the aforesaid measures, whose provisions also apply to Axis IV, into consideration.

From the regulatory and procedural points of view, the Manual is directly connected to: Sicily Rural Development Programme that the European Commission approved by Resolution C/2009/10542 of 18th December 2009; Announcement for selecting GALs and LDPs, published in the Official Journal of Sicily Region N. 25, part I, of 29th May 2009 and in Annex 7 and subsequent amendments (17th July 2009); “Implementing and procedural provisions concerning the measures under investment – General Part” (Annex A to Sicily RDP 2007-2013), approved by Decree of the General Manager N. 880 of 27th May 2009 and subsequent amendments and additions; Guidelines on the eligibility of expenditure on rural development and similar actions established by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, year 2010 as amended; AGEA (Agency in charge of granting financial support) Manual of procedures and controls as amended; Manual for filling application forms – structural measures; specific implementing provisions governing the implementation of Measures 312, 313, 321, 322, 323, 421; Documents related to the division of funds, agreed between the Management Authorities and their regional programmes; Regulation on public contracts (Law Decree 12th April 2006, N. 163 and subsequent amendments).

By Decree of the General Manager N. 589 of 16th June 2010, the final classification of GALs accepted for financing and their corresponding score were published.

By Decree of the General Manager N. 764 of 24th June 2011, the “Eloro” LDP was accepted for financing.