ELARD – The European LEADER Association

Established in 1999, the European Leader Association for Rural Development (ELARD) is an international non-profit organisation founded by the National Leader Networks of various EU Member States.

During the 2000–2006 programming period, approximately 950 rural areas across the 15 Member States engaged in the LEADER+ Community Initiative, creating a broad network of information and resources. ELARD now represents over 450 Local Action Groups (LAGs) managing the LEADER+ Community Initiative, National Programmes for Rural Development, and other initiatives unrelated to rural development (e.g., INTERREG, EQUAL, URBAN, etc.). Many of these LAGs are already ELARD members through their national or regional networks, connecting numerous public, private, and voluntary local partners in active rural development at the community level.

An EU Wide Organisation

ELARD’s objectives include supporting rural and regional development under the LEADER philosophy, facilitating experience sharing among members and partners, and promoting networking and cooperation through transnational projects. Since the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements, ELARD has actively assisted newly established rural networks in the new member states with valuable information and support.


Within the FLIARA Project, ELARD aims to engage all stakeholders in rural development at a local level.

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