Regional cooperation and networking in the field of agriculture, rural and economic development of cross-border areas


Target region: Western Balkan (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria)

Implemented by: Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development in South Eastern Europe (SWG)

Funded by: the European Union

Time frame: 15 December 2017 – 14 December 2018

Background of the Project

The action strives to contribute to balanced socio-economic development of rural areas in the WB targeted cross-border regions, through efficient regional cross-border cooperation and strengthened regional capacities for rural economic diversification. The objective of the project is to promote local entrepreneurship, employment and strengthen regional capacities for rural economic diversification. This will ultimately increase the attraction of the areas, improve the market access, maintain/develop natural or cultural heritage values, encouraging young people to get involved and contribute to reduced out-migration.

The project puts greater attention on developing a coordinated policy approach that instigates improvements in the policy framework, inline with environmental measures and human capital developments, in order to address the multiple and diverging constraints facing rural areas. Successful development of rural areas requires effective strategic planning and coordination, dialogue and monitoring of rural development policies.

The ABD approach considering the strengths and weaknesses of the regions, aims at current and future opportunities that these areas poses and supporting the potentials for rural economic development. Consistent with the strategic plans and analysis the intervention of the action facilitates the following prospects:

  • stem the population loss and attract young skilled labor in rural areas.
  • improved usage of natural resources (sustainable use of environmental resources and their protection),
  • creation and implementation of short value chains and cluster production,
  • promotion, marketing and branding of regions and their values for living, visiting and production;
  • transfer of knowledge and exchange of experience, introduction and implementation of innovation (new processes, methods), quality standards in service and production.


To strengthen the networking and cooperation among public institutions and stakeholders as well as with other relevant regional bodies in order to accelerate the EU accession process of the Western Balkans in the agriculture and rural development sectors.