The LEADER Initiative Serbia (LIS) is the working name of the EU-funded project officially titled “Capacity building for the establishment and implementation of a LEADER initiative in the Republic of Serbia". LIS provides assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) and relevant local stakeholders in preparing for the future implementation of the LEADER approach to rural development in Serbia. It aims to achieve three main results:

Result 1 – increased capacities and awareness within local communities to participate in the LEADER approach;

Result 2– strengthened human, technical, organisational and financial procedures and/or resources for the overall support to the LEADER approach within the MAFWM;

Result 3 – at least 10 potential LAGs have been identified and assisted.

The project aims to achieve these results by enhancing existing capacities and building new capacities to facilitate local rural development activities. This will be a gradual, step-by-step approach through a range of activities, based on EU best practice where possible, and adapted to Serbian specificities.

Although the project has a limited lifespan of two years, concluding in February 2013, it is more appropriate to view this support as a defining period in the development of the bottom-up LEADER approach to rural development in Serbia. In the medium to longer term therefore, LIS will continue to develop and mature, supported by local, regional, national and donor initiatives, to become a fully-fledged LEADER initiative responding to stakeholder needs through and beyond Serbia’s membership of the EU.

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