Area Based Development (ABD) is considered to be an innovative approach enabling breakthrough in sustainable growth of rural cross-border regions.
ABD is perceived as suitable for targeting defined geographical areas in cross-border regions in the Western Balkans, characterized by specific complex development problems. The approach as its core principles uses a methodology, which is inclusive, participatory, and flexible and ensures integration and coherence. It is suitable in particular for areas where one or several of the following development situations are present: poverty gap, post-natural or human disasters, post-conflict environment and exclusion issues.
The ABD approach was initiated in the region as part of the EU-financed (DG AGRI) study, carried out in close collaboration with SWG. The study titled “Facilitating an area-based development approach in rural cross-border areas of the Western Balkans” was carried out by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre – IPTS. It covered the Drina-Tara Region – a cross-border area between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia – and, as part of the study, developed a methodology for designing and applying the ABD approach to cross-border regions.
The SWG Assembly has, beside the cross-border region Drina – Tara, selected three cross – border regions in the Western Balkans to be involved in the process of Area Based Development.
The selected regions were follows:
- Cross-border region Drina – Sava region (cross – border region between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia)
- Cross-border Prespa region (cross – border region between Albania and Macedonia) and
- Cross-border region Shara (cross – border region between Macedonia and Kosovo.
Project Aim and Outputs
The main aim of the Project Preparation Facility was to prepare a project proposal for implementation of ABD in the above mentioned cross-border regions of the Western Balkans.
The output was a project fiche and technical annexes related to the selected cross-border regions (in-depth analyses and development Strategies and Action Plans for each of the regions), for provision of a basis for the multi-annual ABD project in the selected regions of Western Balkan countries.
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.