Posted on: 2 August, 2019
Application deadline: September 30, 2019

Registration opens for LDnet workshop ‘Capitalising on diversity in local development’, EWRC2019, Brussels, 9 October 2019

For the 8th year running LDnet will be participating at EWRC (formerly Open Days). This year LDnet, in partnership with ELARD, are organising a workshop on 9 October 2019, 9:15 – 10:45, on Capitalising on diversity in local development, under the theme ‘A Europe Closer to Citizen’. Registration opened on 8 July 2019 and the workshop reference is : 09WS432

This workshop will demonstrate that bottom-up approaches to local development, like CLLD, have succeeded in engaging ‘Unusual Suspects’; people left out of mainstream development strategies. The workshop will start with urban and rural case studies from different parts of Europe that illustrate how different groups especially women, minorities and young people have been engaged in designing and implementing local strategies.  The case studies will then be discussed by a knowledgeable panel with audience contributions focusing on capitalising on diversity in local development.  We intend to make this a lively and interactive workshop and guarantee audience participation. 

The workshop will be led by LDnet and ELARD. It will be moderated by Peter Ramsden (LDnet) and speakers will include Sally Kneeshaw, gender equality expert (URBACT), Linda Gustafsson, City of Umeå,Urszula Budzich-Tabor (FARNET & LDnet) and Pietro Verga (CLLD expert, LDnet). Further details of the programme will be announced shortly.


Gender equal and diverse local development is a major challenge in a world where the typical elected official is white, male and no longer young. URBACT estimates that 15% of city mayors and slightly more elected members of municipalities are female. Other under-represented groups are ethnic minorities, the young and persons with disabilities.

This workshop has the objective of demonstrating that bottom-up approaches to local development have succeeded in engaging a range of Unusual Suspects, i.e. the people that are left out of mainstream regional and urban development strategies and lack a voice in society in general. In particular, Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) has strong potential to achieve this, through its emphasis on a balanced partnership at decision-making (project selection) level, as well as on involving a wide range of stakeholders as project promoters.

Across the EU there are numerous examples of local development approaches to promote gender equality and combat social exclusion. In urban areas, these are supported by URBACT through a working group on Gender Equal Cities and vary from a gendered way of exploring the planning of the city on a bus to launching an easily accessible funding scheme for projects engaging women, young people and ethnic minorities in the poorest neighbourhoods. In rural areas LEADER groups are supporting a variety of initiatives such as developing businesses led by women, promoting gender equality in rural schools or facilitating the involvement of young persons in a cross-border entrepreneurs’ exchange. There are also interesting initiatives to generate new types of economic activity based around energy, the circular economy and culture through the smart villages model. Fisheries LAGs have funded, for example, such projects as business training and creating new sources of income in seafood processing for women, or sheltered jobs for disabled fishermen.

Several examples of such initiatives will be used during the workshop, in the format of presentations and panel discussion, with participants having multiple opportunities to interact and contribute. The meeting will attempt to draw some conclusions about the secret of engaging the Missing Suspects in community led local development activities including a focus on models of governance, the use of outreach and the search for new economic drivers.