Local action group (LAG) represents local partnership between public, private and civic sector as equals, on a specific geographically linked area, based on the LEADER approach guidelines.
LAG is linked to a rural area with more than 5.000, and less than 150.000 inhabitants while individual settlement within LAG cannot have more than 25.000 inhabitants.

The aim of establishing a LAG is to use joint efforts, through the compilation of Local development strategies and implementation of specific joint development projects, in order to improve the overall development and raise the competitiveness of the target rural area.

Responsibilities of LAG are as follows:

  • Assembly and association of existing human and financial resources from public, private and civic sector, as well as volunteers.
  • Association of local stakeholders on joint projects and intersectoral actions in order to achieve synergy, joint ownership and critical mass necessary for the improvement of economic competitiveness of the area.
  • Strengthening of dialogue and cooperation between different rural stakeholders, who often do not have experience in teamwork, as well as reducing potential conflicts and directing situations in which solutions are being reached through consulting and conversations.
  • Enabling the process of adaptation and change in agricultural sector through interaction of various partners.


LEADER represents an initiative by the European Union for mobilization and implementation of rural development in rural communities.

Its intention is to help people, associations, trades and other potential factors in rural areas to consider the potential of their area, and to stimulate implementation of integrated, quality and original sustainable development strategies. In its 25 years of existence, LEADER has grown from an initiative into an integral part of European policy on rural development, and has thus become an obligatory part of national programmes of rural development

The introduction and implementation of LEADER programme in Croatia is assigned to the Ministry of agriculture, a part of which is IPARD Agency as its implementation body. Within our country LEADER is a part of IPARD programme in Measure 202: Preparation and implementation of Local strategies for rural development

One of the basic characteristics of LEADER is placing emphasis on local population that was always considered the main factor in rural areas. Connection on local level links people in order for them to exchange their experiences and knowledge, get informed and promote the activities of rural development, find project partners and create the sense of belonging to a larger unity such as local action group. LEADER approach encourages creation of self-conscious, responsible and engaged society whose members actively participate in the development of their area and improvement of their own future.


LEADER approach is based on the following principles:

  • Sustainable rural development – development based on preservation and balanced development of environmental, social and economic capital;
  • Approach based on specificities of the area – every rural area has its features, potentials, specificities and recognisability – planning of the future must be based on these;
  • Bottom-up approach – wide inclusion of all available forces in local communities contributes to quality development with the wealth of ideas and possible solutions;
  • Establishing of local partnerships – connecting, establishing of partnerships and development of cultural cooperation are of crucial value. LEADER’s original idea is to create local private-public partnerships in the form of local action groups – LAGs;
  • Innovation– tradition is definitely the basis for a sustainable rural development, but innovations are necessary to present traditional values in a new and competitive way;
  • Integral and multisectoral approach– division into sectors is a common cause for problems in development. Horizontal, intersectoral connection and vertical connection of local, regional and national institutions, is especially important in achieving sustainable rural development;
  • Networking – connecting, learning from examples of good practice, transfer and exchange of knowledge and experience are crucial in implementation of LEADER approach in creation of joint development strategy for European rural areas;
  • Cooperation– is a step further than networking, towards initialization and implementation of joint projects between two or more LAGs within a country, region and/or European Union.