The Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” (LAG “VIP”) is a non-profit organization founded on September 14, 2012 and covers the areas of 6 local self-government units (which are also the founders of the LAG) and has the city of Virovitica and the municipality of Gradina. Lukač, Pitomača, Suhopolje and Špišić Bukovica (administratively belonging to Virovitica-Podravina County). The LAG area belongs to the statistical NUTS-1 region of Continental Croatia. The area of the LAG is 814.47 km2, which represents 1.44% of the mainland of the Republic of Croatia and 40,24% of the area of Virovitica-Podravina County. The LAG area “VIP” is located in the continental part of the Republic of Croatia in the area of contact of Central and Eastern Croatia, in the Virovitica-Podravina County. In the north it borders with Hungary, in the south with Bjelovar-Bilogora and in the north-west with the County of Koprivnica-Križevci. The VIP LAG borders the Marinianis LAG in the east, the Bilogora-Papuk LAG in the south, and the Podravina LAG and the Northern Bilogora LAG in the west.
LAG “VIP” actively begins work after passing the 2nd tender of IPARD program for Measure 202 “Preparation and implementation of local rural development strategies”, after which the Agreement on co-financing of LAG “VIP” was signed with the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and rural development.
The establishment of the LAG “VIP” is the basis for the implementation of the LEADER program in the Republic of Croatia (French “Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale”, which means “Links between actions for the development of the rural economy”), whose main objective is to promote and improving rural development and achieving better co-operation between local self-government units, non-governmental organizations, the private and civil sectors, family farms, youth, women and various socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
The most important tasks of the LAG “VIP”, from its inception to the present, include encouraging and animating local people to propose, design and implement development projects (since they are best aware of the problems, needs and untapped potentials of their area), design and implementation of the Local Development Strategy for the period 2013-2014 and the development of the Local Development Strategy for the period 2014-2020. years. In this way, they want to network local stakeholders and ensure information flow and knowledge transfer, in order to jointly plan the overall development, to make adequate use of all the potential, which will ultimately contribute to improving rural, living and working conditions in the LAG VIP area. Based on a synergistic approach, since its inception, the LAG has been a constant contributor to the development of its area and sought to achieve the strategic goals and vision of the current LRS.
The purpose of the LAG’s activities under the Statute is to:
- improve the quality of life in the area of activity,
- to empower and connect stakeholders operating in the area of activity,
- encourage the participation of women, young people and all vulnerable groups in local decision-making,
- encourage cross-sectoral cooperation,
- to gather and connect all stakeholders who strive for and act in the direction of sustainable and uniform development of the area of the area of operation, as well as
- to improve the conditions for LAG members to act.
In order to constantly have as much relevant information as possible and better implement the LEADER program in its area, LAG “VIP” is a member of two civil networks in the Republic of Croatia – the LEADER Network of Croatia (LMH) and the Croatian Network for Rural Development (HMRR). It is also a member of the National Network for Rural Development, established in 2011 by the Ministry of Agriculture, which operates throughout the rural area of the Republic of Croatia and is an integral part / member of the European Network for Rural Development (EMRD).
Vision of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” is to enable and promote balanced development of the whole rural area based on the efficient use of all economic, agricultural, tourism and cultural resources, environmental protection and sustainable development in order to achieve the highest possible employment rate and increase the level of education. Development Vision of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” is a concise and clear idea of the desired and predictable achievement in the development of the area. It is based on the results of basic analysis, SWOT / TOWS analysis, development trends in the narrower and broader circle, and ideas about the future of the area. The development vision is based on the development of the identity of the area by using comparative advantages with a greater emphasis on human resources development, especially on action based on the principles of the LEADER / CLLD approach.
The role of the LRS and the LAG “VIP”, as a supporting organization for the development and implementation of development guidelines, continues to be based on the preservation and development of social capital with an emphasis on developing partnerships between the public, economic and civil sectors, based on the principles of CLLD implementation as soon as possible access to local development, establishment of networks of support institutions / organizations for their synergistic action, strengthening of economic development opportunities of the area (especially development of agriculture and tourism sector) and strengthening of entrepreneurial initiatives in all development sectors for the purpose of sustainable development of the area by diversification of activities and creation of sustainable family farms, small business and crafts. The main purpose of the above is to ensure the quality of life of local residents and to retain the younger population, that is, the survival of the population in the area.
Based on the analysis of the current situation, the overall objective of the LAG “VIP” is to support the sustainable development of the local community and initiatives in the LAG area by encouraging cross-sectoral cooperation and an integrated approach to community revitalization and strengthening the rural economy. Based on the defined development guidelines, local partnerships and the wider community with which they were consulted, set out to define strategic goals. The development of strategic development goals was driven primarily by compliance with the priorities of the Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014-2020. – second pillar priorities (rural development), EU CAP:
- fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas (development of databases in rural areas; strengthening links between agriculture, forestry and the scientific sector);
- strengthening the sustainability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture, promoting innovative agricultural technologies and supporting sustainable forest management;
- promoting the organization of the food chain, animal welfare and risk management in the agricultural sector;
- restoration, conservation and strengthening of agricultural and forest ecosystems (biodiversity, water, soil);
- promoting the efficient use of resources (water and energy) and supporting the transition to a low carbon economy (using renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving and storing carbon);
- promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development (simpler job creation, promotion of local development, increased availability of information and communication technologies),
and contributions that directly achieve all three CAP objectives:
- fostering the competitiveness of agriculture, inter alia, through multifunctional and technologically innovative production adaptable to climate change and the technologically modernized food processing industry
- ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and action against climate change while implementing the principles of environmental and nature protection and the conservation of genetic resources
- achieving balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities, including job creation and retention.
The first step in the design of the LRS LAG “VIP” was to define all relevant stakeholders in the strategic area, that is, all legal and natural persons who will be influenced by the LRS and who will implement it. The stakeholders involved provided a broader view of the current state of the art and highlighted the potentials to be harnessed and based on further growth and development of the area. The development of LRS is based on the involvement of different stakeholders in the LAG “VIP” area, in order to base the defined goals and measures, as well as the financial and action plan, on the real needs of the stakeholders. Partnership development in the LAG area “VIP” is particularly important because it encourages and supports the connection and cooperation of local communities that share a common historical, economic and social significance.
LRS LAG “VIP” is made according to the LEADER principle by bottom-up implementation. The LRS is structured in such a way that all programmed objectives are consistent with the related measures, activities and implementation types of operations, as evidenced by the cumulative contributions of the focus areas of the PRR for the period 2014-2020. Equally, the contribution to horizontal, cross-sectoral goals – to foster innovation with a particular focus on environmental protection and to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change – is highlighted. Cross-sectoral goals are permeated throughout the LRS. The LRS has been developed in accordance with the identified needs of the area, relying on existing local resources, which set goals, which are planned to be implemented independently of public assistance.
The most important part of the LAG Local Development Strategy is defining the development goals, priorities and measures that will be the basis for the preparation, selection and implementation of development projects. When planning the activities / types of operations for the implementation of the LRS LAG “VIP”, and thus the development goals, it was primarily guided by the implementation of the LEADER / CLLD principles for the period 2014-2020. which focuses on innovation, environmental protection and climate change mitigation, as well as on achieving planned results that bring lasting and visible change. Guided by all of the above guidelines, the bottom-up method has defined the LAG’s priority types of operations and measures that have led to the definition of strategic (specific) goals.
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TARGETS 2014.-2020.
- Fostering a competitive economy based on sustainable agriculture
- Improving the quality and living conditions in rural areas
- Strengthening the human capacity and identity of the LAG.
The expected effects of the objectives must be clearly (measurably) directed towards achieving the development vision of the area, but they must primarily contribute to complementarity with the development priorities of the Rural Development Program 2014-2020. for which the LRS LAG “VIP” is intended, which is essentially a project proposal for multi-year funding for the implementation of the CLLD under Measure 19 of the Rural Development Program by 2020. The defined goals of the LAG “VIP” will be achieved through the implementation of priority measures and activities with associated types of operations focused on the implementation system based on the 8th principle of CLLD (decentralized implementation of local development led by the local community). The contribution of the LRS is measured by measures of deliveries (outputs) at the level of measures that cumulatively measure the achievement of the results of the achievement of strategic goals (result indicators).
The goals of establishing a LAG under the Statute are:
- capacity building of local stakeholders and
- the dissemination of LEADER / CLLD principles and methodology in the integral development of the LAG’s area of activity, with cross-sectoral linking, capacity building, exchange of experience and public advocacy of the interests of local development stakeholders, representatives of public and private local socio-economic interests.
The objectives of the LAG to achieve its objectives are:
- local community-led local development management;
- strategic programming, development and implementation of a local development strategy for integrated and inclusive local community-led development based on a bottom-up approach or application of the LEADER / CLLD principles; encouraging public participation in the formulation and implementation of local development policies;
- providing support to all local development stakeholders, ie representatives of public and private local socio-economic interests involved in local community development through seminars, workshops, lectures, individual consultations, etc., with a view to their development and self-sustainability;
- encouraging the cooperation, mutual assistance and networking of representatives of public and private local socio-economic interests, as well as other stakeholders in rural areas whose activities are based on LEADER / CLLD principles, at local, regional, national and international levels;
- preparation, implementation, supervision and coordination of integral and other development projects of the Association at local, regional, national and international level;
- evaluation and selection, supervision and coordination of projects implemented in the system of implementation of decentralized allocation of public funds managed by the Association;
- care for the revitalization, protection and promotion of the traditional heritage and cultural and natural heritage of local communities;
- producing and publishing publications, magazines, sound carriers, books, magazines, brochures and other publications useful for the development of the non-profit sector and promoting the principles of LEADER / CLLD in the integrated sustainable development of local communities;
- participation in local, regional, national and international meetings, seminars and the like relating to the work of the non-profit sector, the integrated development of local communities and the application of the principles of LEADER / CLLD;
- organization of fairs, exhibitions, concerts, performances and other public events in local communities and at regional national and international levels to promote rural development and to apply the principles of LEADER / CLLD in local community development;
- organization of professional meetings, education and exchange of knowledge and skills for all representatives of public and private local socio-economic interests, development stakeholders of rural areas;
- support for the acquisition of knowledge, exchange of experience and consultation between the members of the Association and the competent state bodies and services responsible for rural development issues at the level of the Republic of Croatia and the European Union;
- encouraging and supporting the implementation of professional and scientific work related to the field of rural development and the application of LEADER / CLLD principles in the development of local communities;
- encouraging and supporting the active involvement of citizens in socially beneficial actions and volunteerism, and organizing volunteer exchanges; setting up and running local volunteer centers in rural areas;
- conducting volunteer activities, informing, consulting, educating volunteers and volunteer organizers through the operation of local volunteer centers;
- informing entities operating in the LAG area of tenders and existing opportunities;
- advisory and technical support and assistance in the preparation of project proposals by entities operating in the LAG area, excluding those applying for LAG competitions;
- performing other similar activities that contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Association in accordance with the provisions of this Statute.
Monitoring the implementation of the LRS LAG includes continuous monitoring, measuring the effects of the implementation of the LRS, evaluation criteria, and indicators for evaluating the success and efficiency of the priorities and measures, or projects that are being implemented. Monitoring and evaluation is an integral part of the regular activities of the LAG. The implementation of LRS is a continuous process. The basic features of this process, as well as in the process of its creation, relate to a collaborative, team approach and participatory decision-making and dialogue at all levels, but also to taking responsibility for the achievement of the set goals and tasks.
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TARGETS 2014. – 2020.
The vision is realized through the general and specific goals of the LRS and is based on the already determined comparative features of the area:
LAG “VIROVITICA RING” PAID TOTAL 699.984,52 HRK
FROM THE IPARD MEASURE 202 “PREPARING AND IMPLEMENTING LOCAL RURAL
Following the passage of the 2nd IPARD Program Contest for Measure 202 “Preparation and Implementation of Local Rural Development Strategies”, on February 23, 2014, the Virovitica Ring LAG signed a two-year IPARD contract with the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development. implementation of the LEADER Measure 202 “Preparation and implementation of local rural development strategies” in 2014 and 2015. Following the submission of the last Payment Request for 2015, the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development issued a Payment Decision, on the basis of which a total of HRK 446,825.88 was paid to LAG in 2015, or 99.29% of the total of HRK 450,000.00 that was approved for 2015. The last payment to the LAG “Virovitica Ring” was paid a total of HRK 699,984.52 for the activities carried out under IPARD Measure 202.
Funds from IPARD Measure 202 were allocated to carry out activities that included training and education of LAG employees and members, animation, production of promotional materials, organization of publicity events for LAG residents, organization of study trips, procurement of equipment and complete office expenses LAG.
LAG “VIROVITICA RING” TOTAL APPROVED 312.423,90 HRK
SUBSIDIARY 19.1. “PREPARED ASSISTANCE”
After receiving on 28 September 2015 the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” the Decision on allocation of funds for the implementation of Sub-measure 19.1. “Preparatory Assistance” under Measure 19 “LEADER – CLLD” of the Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014-2020, the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development adopted the Decision on payment of the last Payment Request the Virovitica Ring Action Group has been granted a payment of HRK 79,526.81. With the payment of the final Disbursement Request, the Virovitica Ring LAG completed the implementation of Sub-measure 19.1. “Preparatory assistance” with a total of HRK 312,423.90 approved, or 98.02% of the total amount allocated for the implementation of Sub-measure 19.1. Preparatory Assistance.
Submeasure funds 19.1. “Preparatory Assistance” has been approved for the development of the Local Development Strategy of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” for the period 2014-2020, the organization of meetings in the LAG area, participation of employees and members of the LAG in workshops and meetings for the purpose of drafting the Strategy, equipping the office and all the running costs of the LAG.
LAG “VIROVITICA RING” was granted a total of HRK 9,293,805.99
for the implementation of the Local Development Strategy 2014-2020.
On 27 June 2016, the LAG Virovitica Ring submitted an application for the Call for Proposals for the implementation of Sub-measure 19.2. “Implementation of operations within the CLLD strategy” – implementation of the type of operation 19.2.1. “Implementation of operations within the CLLD strategy” under Measure 19 “LEADER – CLLD” of the Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014-2020, after completion of the complaint and re-processing procedure, and the process of increasing public support due to excess available funds , The Payments Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development has announced the final results of the competition.
Accordingly, the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development has selected 54 LAGs from the territory of the Republic of Croatia for the implementation of local development strategies (LRS) for the period 2014-2020. The selected LAGs were allocated a total of HRK 463,096,945.70 to implement Sub-measure 19.2. “Implementation of operations within the CLLD strategy” (implementation of LRS), Sub-measures 19.3. “Preparation and implementation of LAG cooperation activities” and Sub-measure 19.4. “Running Costs and Animation” from PRR 2014-2020.
Based on the decision on the selection of LAGs, the Virovitica Ring LAG was granted public support in the total amount of HRK 9,293,805.99, since due to the number of inhabitants and the number of local self-government units within the LAG, it was not possible to obtain the higher the number of points, or the higher the amount of support. Accordingly, on February 17, 2017, the Virovitica Ring LAG signed an Agreement with the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development.
In the final ranking for Sub-measure 19.2, the Virovitica Ring LAG was ranked 17th out of 54 selected LAGs from the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and in terms of the amount of approved support, it achieved the best results compared to other LAGs from the area County of Virovitica-Podravina.
After signing the Agreement with the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development and in accordance with the approved Financial and Action Plan of the Local Development Strategy of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” for the period 2014-2020. and the adopted LAG Local Development Strategy Implementation Plan 2014-2020, the Virovitica Ring LAG, as part of Sub-measure 19.2. “Implementation of operations within the CLLD strategy” (implementation of LRS), launched a call for tenders for:
- Type of operation 1.1.1. “Restructuring, modernizing and increasing the competitiveness of agricultural holdings” from the Local Development Strategy of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” for the period 2014-2020, which is in line with the Operation Type 4.1.1. “Restructuring, Modernization and Increasing the Competitiveness of Agricultural Farms” from the 2014-2020 Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia,
- Type of operation 1.1.3. “Support for the development of small farms” from the Local Development Strategy of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” for the period 2014-2020, which is in line with the Operation Type 6.3.1. “Support to the development of small agricultural holdings” from the Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014-2020 and
- Type of operation 2.1.1. “Development of general social infrastructure for raising the quality of life of LAG residents” from the Local Development Strategy of the Local Action Group “Virovitica Ring” for the period 2014-2020, which is in line with the Operation Type 7.4.1. “Investments in the initiation, improvement or extension of local basic services for the rural population, including leisure and cultural activities and related infrastructure” from the 2014-2020 Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia,
after which, according to the defined criteria in his Local Development Strategy, he selects and finances projects in his area.
The methodology for selecting projects at the LAG level based on the implementation of the eighth principle of the CLLD local community-led approach to local development (decentralized approach to implementing local development) is defined in detail by the internal procedures of the organization. The basis for the decentralized process of managing public funds under Sub-measure 19.2. PRR of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014-2020 by the LAG, that is, the approval of end-user projects (project developers), is the Regulation on the implementation of Sub-measures 19.2, 19.3. and 19.4. within Measure 19 (OG 96/2017, OG 53/2018), the Grant Agreement to the selected LAG for the implementation of LRS no. 5738, the Agreement on Cooperation in Delegated Administrative Checks with Attachment attached thereto (concluded by the LAG and the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, defining the functions and responsibilities of the LAG and the APPRRR) and the Guidelines for the implementation of the selection process projects submitted by APPRRR. The LAG-level project selection process consists of the following activities: 1. preparation and publication of the LAG Competition, 2. submission, receipt and opening of project applications; 3. administrative control of projects (Analysis 1); 4. evaluation of projects (Analysis 2); and 5. selection of projects by the LAG MA.
In order to achieve European added value and strengthen the capacity of the VIP LAG, the Local Development Strategy envisages cooperation projects involving LAGs from the territory of the Republic of Croatia, which makes these projects inter-territorial. Under Sub-measure 19.3. “Preparation and implementation of LAG cooperation activities”, the Action Plan envisages the implementation of 2 inter-territorial cooperation projects, for which a public grant of 5% of the implementation of Sub-measure 19.2 was approved, ie an allocation of HRK 354,049.75. The local development strategy defines thematic areas and descriptions of the cooperation objectives.
In accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance on the implementation of sub-measure 19.2. “Implementation of Operations within the CLLD Strategy”, Sub-Measure 19.3. “Preparation and implementation of LAG cooperation activities” and Sub-measure 19.4. “Ongoing costs and animation” (OG 96/17, 53/18) under measure 19 “Support to local development under the LEADER initiative (CLLD – Community-led local development)” of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Program of the Republic of Croatia . and in accordance with the Eligible Costs List, the LAG also implements activities under Sub-measure 19.4. Running Costs and Animation. Through Sub-measure 19.4. LAGs are eligible running costs (which include the direct costs of LAG staff in accordance with Articles 67 and 68 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013; training and education of LAG staff, members and volunteers regarding work of the LAG and / or with the implementation of measures from the LRS, participation of employees, volunteers and members of the LAG in workshops, meetings (including ongoing meetings regarding the work of the LAG and LAG Competitions), seminars, trainings, study tours, fairs and similarly, regarding the implementation of the LRS and / or the Program, within or outside the LAG area; travel expenses (expenses stated in the travel order for LAG employees, members and volunteers); office expenses and services related to the LAG operation) and animation (which includes the implementation of animation activities; travel expenses (costs stated in the travel order for LAG employees, members and volunteers) and services). At the end of each quarter / quarter, the LAG submits Payment Requests to the Payments Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development.
(LRS LAG “VIP” 2014-2020 can be downloaded from the link https://www.lagvip.hr/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LRS-LAG-a-VIP-2014.-2020_V10.0-11.07.2019..pdf )
Finally, it should be emphasized that LAGs from the territory of the Republic of Croatia cover 516 local self-government units with 6,161 settlements, and that there are more than 2.2 million inhabitants in rural areas in the LAG’s area of activity.