LEADER (”Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale”) meaning ’Links between the rural economy and development actions’) is a local development method which allows local actors to develop an area by using its endogenous development potential.

The LEADER approach has been an important component of EU Rural Development Policy for over 20 years. Since 2007 it has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). In the period 2007-2013 it was successfully applied in fisheries areas as Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund and since 2014 this approach, called “Community-Led Local Development” (CLLD) can be implemented not only in the EAFRD (where it is still called LEADER), but also in the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The Local Development Strategy Söderslätt 2014-2020

The development strategy of Söderslätt aims at fulfilling the vision of an area where innovative ideas in combination with a demographic and cultural mixed population creates a climate neutral way of developing the industries and creating new jobs.

The development strategy will guide Leader Söderslätt in their work in order to assure a fair selection of projects that will result in a locally led development of Söderslätt. The strategy will be accessible to the public as it is imperative for Söderslätt’s population to identify with it and understand the importance of their participation to development of Söderslätt.

Four areas have been identified as integral to Söderslätt’s development: 1) The rural businesses, including the food industry as well as innovative and environmentally friendly industries, 2) Innovation and investment in prevention of negative effects of climate change on for instance water supplies and arable land. 3) Innovative entrepreneurship and young adults within the business sector, as well as development and invigoration of the creative industries, 4) The tourism sector, Sweden’s new cross sectoral industry, has great potential at Söderslätt’s southern coast, but needs to be reorganized, restructured and stimulated in order to encourage an around the year business where local business owners collaborate.

In summation, Söderslätt’s opportunities of development suggest a focus on competence development of rural business owners, innovation and investments in prevention of the negative effects of climate change, new and innovative businesses that includes young adults, women and new Swedes as entrepreneurs as well as development of the area’s export maturation.