In advanced countries, rural areas are a complex web of social, political and historical factors. In addition, several kinds of uncertainties are usually present. As a consequence, frequent mismatches arise in practise between measures and rural development goals and priorities. To overcome this pitfall, a key factor is represented by the acquisition of relevant knowledge from local stakeholders. In line with this idea, the European Commission encourages the Community-Led Local Development approach delivered by Local Action Groups. The aim of the study is to show the suitability of a participatory approach, namely backcasting, to the outline of the Local Action Plan of a specific LAG. Within this framework, a participative backcasting experience was carried out with the stakeholders of the LAG ‘Daunia Rurale’ in order to detect their needs and the strategic actions to carry out. The study provided stakeholders and policy makers with a rational approach and an operational tool to recognise the needs and design the actions for the specific endogenous potential of the investigated area. The proposed method proved to be rather innovative in CLLD contexts for the detection of expressed needs of local stakeholders and the definition of the LAP. We submitted some questionnaires to stakeholders and looking at their results (either at the ones on the niceness of the workshop or at the strategy-validation ones), some encouraging remarks can be drawn. Backcasting has been particularly helpful to local stakeholders and decision makers in identifying the steps to give a clear direction to rural development. What we learn from this case study represents a valuable outcome that can support practitioners, policy makers and researchers in understanding how to design medium- to long-term planning development strategies in rural areas.
- Community-Led Local Development planning
- Local Action Groups
- Participatory approaches
- Rural development planning