In the years 2000-2014 the region Südsteiermark has had the same area as the nature park and has been called LEADER-region for 2 funding periods. In 2015 the region has been extended and now it consists of 18 communes, which are actively working on the future development of the region Südsteiermark.
LEADER is an initiative of the European Union to support innovative projects and to implement them preferably in rural areas. LEADER derives from the French words “Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économique Rurale” which means “Links between the rural economy and development actions”. This programme is financed from the rural development programme ELER and funds from the country of Styria and the state of Austria.
Projects will be developed by active partnerships, which act on a local and a regional level. LEADER supports the participants in rural areas to develop projects and programmes related to the region’s needs as well as its potential and tries to realize those objectives sustainably.
The LEADER Approach:
The area-based approach: Local development strategies, which are created for special rural areas.
Local action group: Local private public partnerships act as platform and driver of development.
The Bottom Up approach: Strategies and projects are developed directly in LEADER- regions and not in planning offices or institutions. In this Case the local action group has to decide, whether a project complies the regional development strategy or not. In the final analysis the promotional agency is passing the judgement.
The innovative approach: Try something new. New projects shall be developed and realized with creativity, phantasy and risk appetite.
Multi sectoral approach: The actions and projects contained in local strategies should be linked and coordinated as a coherent whole.
Networking: Networking and exchange of experience on a national and European level.
Cooperation: Development and implementation of national and transnational cooperation projects.