OPEN Repository

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Cross-border cooperation of Polish and Czech area-based partnerships supported by Rural Development Programmes: Genuinely international or solely national projects?
(Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geonics, Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Science, 2024-07-01) Furmankiewicz, Marek; Trnková, Gabriela; Department of Spatial Management, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland; Department of Economics, University of Hradec Králové, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
The literature on cross-border cooperation in Europe is predominated by the analysis of the European Union (EU) INTERREG Programmes’ results, while other support funds are often neglected. To fill this research gap, the authors undertook the research on cross-border cooperation of the area-based partnerships (Local Action Groups – LAGs) from Poland and the Czech Republic, financed by the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) 2014–2020. The main purpose of our paper is to identify the rationales for cooperation, strategies to find partners, the scope of activities and obstacles in implementing the joint projects. The qualitative research involved a content analysis of LAG documents and interviews with LAG managers. The actions in twelve identified cooperation projects were mainly related to local traditions, inventory and the promotion of local products and services, the development of tourism and environmental issues. The respondents have emphasised that these actions required separate financing by national RDPs following different administrative rules, even though when constituting the components of a single project. The bureaucratic restrictions resulted in a clear asymmetry of LAGs activities, manifested in a lower involvement of the Czech LAGs. As a result, many projects can be considered as highly unilateral, solely national rather than genuinely international, which has not been the intention of the LAG managers, however.
Bottom-up Efforts for a Low-Carbon Economy: Examples of Local Action Groups Activities in Poland and the Czech Republic
(University of Hradec Králové, 2024-04) Trnková, Gabriela; Furmankiewicz, Marek; Kola-Bezka, Maria; Hewitt, Richard J.; University of Hradec Kralove, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic; Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland; Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland; Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
Actions to counteract and adapt to rapid climate change caused by human activity require large-scale initiatives undertaken by international agencies and central governments as well as changes in the functioning of local economies and communities. In this article, we analyze the possibilities of involving rural territorial partnerships (so-called Local Action Groups; LAGs) in supporting the transformation of the EU local socio-economic systems towards a low-carbon economy (LCE). LAGs operate as associations of local stakeholders from the public, business, social and voluntary sectors and work for local socio-economicdevelopment. They can implement projects supporting energy transformation at three levels: as cooperation projects between LAGs and external institutions, as individual (own) projects, and by supporting grassroots initiatives of local stakeholders. In this paper we present examples of such activities, based on content analysis of LAGs strategic documents and websites. We point out that the potential of LAGs in supporting initiatives towards LCE is currently underused, which may be due to the low social awareness and low financial resources of local communities. However, LAGs have significant potential to support local pro-environmental initiatives using neo-endogenous development mechanisms, in which voluntary local actions are stimulated by external support.
Cross-border Cooperation Between Local Action Groups from Poland and the Czech Republic: Three Case Studies
(University of Hradec Králové, 2022-06-10) Furmankiewicz, Marek; Trnková, Gabriela; Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland; University of Hradec Kralove, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
The paper presents three case studies of cooperation projects involving Local Action Groups (LAGs) from Poland and the Czech Republic. The research involved an analysis of the content of documents, LAG websites and interviews with LAG representatives. The projects were financed from the funds of “Sub-measure 19.3” of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) in Poland. The aims of the projects concerned, among others: promoting the area of the LAG by exchanging experiences related to tradition, culture, including the promotion of healthy or traditional local dishes; promoting methods of waste segregation and processing; and developing local tourist services through international promotion and networking of services. As the main difficulty the respondents indicated differences in the principles behind accounting the projects, which had to be settled separately with regard to national RDP programmes, even though they are components of a single cooperation project. Czech respondents pointed to a high level of limitations regarding the scope of financing LAG activities. The COVID-19 pandemic, language barriers and geographical distance were mentioned much less. Cross-border cooperation between the LAGs remains relatively weak as partnerships tend to focus on local issues and needs. This may limit the diffusion of innovation and good practices between rural areas.
Urban Local Action Groups in Poland: Monofunctional social activities within Community Led Local Development
(Technical University of Liberec, 2021-09-15) Furmankiewicz, Marek; Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu
The article presents the basic characteristics of Urban Local Action Groups (ULAGs) in Poland. ULAGs are associations of citizens and legal entities representing different interest groups: the social sector (organisations and residents), the economic sector (local entrepreneurs) and the public sector (state and local government institutions), each operating in accordance with the assumptions of the Community-Led Local Development approach financed by the European Union (EU) and covering the entire area of a single city or several urban units. The ULAGs establish a bottom-up development strategy for a given area and obtain the funds required for its implementation by organising local grant competitions, in which the decision-making council (project selection committee) composed of local stakeholder representatives selects projects offered by local entities for funding. Only 7 ULAGs have been established in Poland at the beginning of the 2014-2020 EU Programming Period. The research described herein made use of the method of content analysis for the purpose of studying Local Development Strategies (LDS) prepared by ULAGs for the years 2015-2022. All investigated ULAGs were financed from the European Social Fund. Their activities were typically focused on social issues, including such aimed at social and professional activation and social inclusion of the inhabitants. The examined ULAG activities did not display the typical features of neo-endogenous integrated development, as they were prevented from utilizing EU funds for investment activities or infrastructure development. The article discusses the basic goals and tasks planned in the strategies of these organisations.
Partnerstwa terytorialne na obszarach wiejskich w Polsce. Współzarządzanie czy ukryta dominacja sektora publicznego?
(Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Przyrodniczego we Wrocławiu, 2018-09-12) Furmankiewicz, Marek; Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu
The subject of the analyses included in this monograph involves selected social structures and relations in territorial partnerships (specifically within LEADER local action groups) functioning in Polish rural areas and financially supported with European Union funds made available in the 2007–2013 programming period. The paper’s introduction includes an overview of the definition of partnership in local resource management, the concept of functional representation, issues related to social participation, as well as definitions of tokenism and clientelism. Also detailed are the relations between the idea of local action group creation with the concept of territorial governance and the rational choice approach in collective activity, indicating the theoretical benefits of group cooperation in resource management. In its empirical segment the paper closely examines the quantitative spatial analysis of the selected social structures observed in local action groups (LAGs), the territorial level of single LAGs, 16 voivodeships and three main historic-cultural regions in Poland. Special attention has been paid to decision councils, which served as a significant element of LAG resource governance processes as they have been responsible for the choice of local projects for European Union funding. It has been estimated that the share of people related to the public sector in decision councils exceeded 50% in 53% of LAGs in Poland, which is contrary to European Union recommendations. There have been cases of professional relations among decision council members in 58% of LAGs. Public authorities have on many occasions attempted to maintain dominant control over funds managed by the LAG through introducing officials who declared to be representing the social sector (referred to in the paper as “the concealed public sector” and considered a display of tokenism) as well as professionally subordinate officials (a situation in which the decision council includes the vogt, the municipality’s mayor or their deputies, as well as their subordinate municipal employees, which is related to territorial clientelism) into decision councils. Such actions are contrary to the idea of resource governance promoted in European Union programmes, according to which one should strive towards balancing the influence of various interest groups, while simultaneously ensuring a high share of private stakeholders (from the economic and social sectors) into public resource management. Attempts are made at finding relations between LAG social structures and local economic and social (including political) determinants. This involves original LAG classifications in Poland using quantitative methods. This is followed by a network analysis of selected social relations within decision council and processes related to the governance of available resources by three interest groups: the public, social and economic sectors. What is analysed are the potential connections between the studied relations and the previously identified social structures. Some of the resulting conclusions include a negative relation between the “concealed public sector” and trust relation density coefficients. Attempts are also made at finding correlations between development preferences expressed in LAG strategic goals and budget structures and the analysed LAG social structures. The book’s summary focuses on the discussion regarding regional differences between the studied features of local action groups in Poland and the issues of using the territorial governance model within LAGs. A series of observed phenomena, including the rapid state-wide establishing of partnerships and the dominant tendencies of the public sector are discussed with regard to the rational choice approach.