Position of the Association of Polish Cities Concerning the Application of CLLD in the Regional Operational Programmes

The Board of the Association of Polish Cities requests the regional authorities to take account of the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) mechanism in the draft Regional Operational Programmes which are currently under preparation. The possibility of applying this mechanism has been envisaged in the Partnership Agreement between Poland and the European Union, but only in the EAFRD its use is obligatory, and with regard to the ESF and the ERDF this decision has been left to the regional authorities. So far, only the authorities of the Podlaskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodships have clearly expressed their intentions to use this mechanism.

The increasing complexity of local problems and the scale of challenges which the local and supra-local communities will face over the next decade, require a broad application of new tools which would include citizens, NGOs and entrepreneurs in the decision processes. As representatives of Polish towns we see this very clearly. At the same time we see that this justified willingness of stakeholders to take part in decisions is not sufficiently accompanied by their knowledge about legal and material possibilities and by readiness to undertake responsibility. Such skills and competencies can only be developed through practice.

In the Polish situation, one of the most effective mechanisms to ensure institutional involvement of local stakehoders (NGOs and entrepreneurs) in co-decisions concerning the development paths and the allocation of funding to projects is the LEADER approach, applied in rural areas within the RDP since 2004. It should be stressed that this mechanism has been thoroughly tested now – there are currently over 2400 Local Action Groups in Europe, including 336 in Poland.

The Partnership Agreement and implementing acts for structural funds envisage that the approach based on LEADER:

(a) can also be applied in urban areas or in areas covering medium-sized and small towns together with their functional surroundings, as local or sub-regional development centres;

(b) will make it possible to link in a practical way resources of the different EU Funds (EAFRD, ESF, ERDF and EMFF);

(c) will facilitate the integration of strategies for urban functional areas, currently being developed, with the concept of local development strategies (a tool in CLLD) into one coherent development document to operationalise territorial management.

The implementation of this approach will also make it possible, among other tools, to make use of umbrella projects, which enable local decisions (involving representatives of 3 sectors) on the support to small-scale initiatives, whether developed by the social/civic sector or by business entities.

We are of the opinion that the experience of institutionalised cooperation between the 3 sectors is a chance to develop, within the next few years, a common practice of including social partners in co-decision processes and strengthening their sense of co-responsibility for their area. The importance of such development is beyond discussion.

The application of CLLD in towns will make it possible, for instance, to implement revitalisation projects in degraded or problematic areas, to improve cooperation with NGOs or to involve in joint action the inhabitants of urban and suburban areas, who often focus on their antagonisms instead of working together to solve common problems. Such activities will naturally support the involvement of citizens, which is already observed today i.a. in initiatives of participatory budgeting.

We therefore appeal to the regional authorities to include CLLD mechanisms, following the example of two voivodships (Podlaskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie), in the planning and implementation of developmental activities in their regions, either in the form of a separate programming axis, or in any other effective way in the Regional Operational Programme. Increasing the activity and commitment of citizens through co-management is one of the key conditions to address the upcoming problems and challenges.

This last objective cannot be achieved in our regions if we restrict the application of CLLD only to rural areas and to the EAFRD. It is necessary to include urban areas, and for this we need a multi-funded approach to CLLD, using the ESF and the ERDF, as well as a practical integration of strategic planning in functional areas (those covered by local development strategies, until now funded only from the RDP). We are convinced that the decision to use CLLD in each voivodship will be an important test of the will to involve citizens and their organisations in the implementation of development directions as defined in the regional strategies.

Signed: Marek Miros

Vice-President of the Association of Polish Cities
Koszalin, 24 January 2014

Created by Haris Martinos1165 points . Last Modification: Sunday 02 of February, 2014 10:07:49 GMT by Haris Martinos1165 points . (Version 6)