In August 2021 the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development approved the realization of a 3-years regional programme with the title “Support to economic diversification of rural areas in Southeast Europe (SEDRA II)”. The project strives to strengthen the regional and national capacities through facilitating theme-specific policy dialogues providing technical expertise on issues related to rural economic diversification in SEE countries in their EU approximation process.
The project overall goal is to encourage competitiveness and employment in the Western Balkan region through strengthening networking capacity for rural development and promotion of the economic diversification and competitiveness of rural areas. Participation of the local actors in less favored rural areas in promotion of the cross-sectoral innovation and inter-regional knowledge exchange through the implementation of local projects, will ultimately contribute to inclusive, environmentally and climate friendly economic diversification, increase the attraction of the areas, improve the market access, encouraging young people and women to get more involved and contribute to reduced out-migration.
The project activities are focused to the further support of the regional platforms for political and policy dialogue and mechanisms for more intensive and broader cooperation, strengthening the regional stakeholders’ competencies and expertise related to the EU CAP and Green Agenda for Western Balkans as per adopted Action plan, as well as further alignment of the agriculture and rural development policies of the SEE countries to the EU CAP.
The regional project includes the Southeast European countries/territories and the lead executing agencies are the ministries competent for agriculture and rural development, through their membership in the regional organization Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development (SWG RRD), which at the same time is the main implementing partner.
The three main project outputs are:
1) to improve evidence-based policy making processes for sustainable development of rural areas in the context of the EU approximation of the Western Balkans. The impact logic is that an enabling policy framework, agreed at regional level and implemented at national level, will promote economic diversification and competitiveness of rural areas.
2) to build networking capacity for rural development. The impact logic is that bottom-up
engagement of local actors in less favored rural areas promote cross-sectoral innovation and inter-regional knowledge exchange through the implementation of local projects, thus
contributing to inclusive, environmentally and climate friendly economic diversification.
3) to improve the qualification offer for rural MSMEs as well as for the population in seven cross-border rural areas. The impact logic is that increased regional value creation and local resilience building, especially in less favored rural border areas, will change the socio-economic decisions of poor and vulnerable population groups in particular so that they see improved prospects for themselves and their families.
Time frame: August 2021-August 2024