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Georgian LAGs Build Relationships for Transnational Cooperation at the 2023 LINC Conference in Italy



From the 9th  to 11th May, 2023, representatives of Zugdidi and Akhmeta Local Action Groups (LAGs) and 2 Action Against Hunger project team members attended the international LEADER Inspired Network Community (LINC) Conference 2023 held in the Basilicata region of the Province of Matera, Italy. The attendance of these LAGs was made possible through the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the project “Improving local governance through inclusive development approaches”

The LINC Conference has been initiated by the LAGs and National LEADER Networks of Europe to enhance cooperation and collaboration on rural development and community-led governance. At the conference participants were able to learn about new and innovative development initiatives and could exchange experiences on LEADER-supported programmes through seminars and workshops, as well as engage in cognitive, cultural and sport events.

Of particular interest to Action Against Hunger and the Georgian LAGs was the workshop that was dedicated to transnational cooperation that was facilitated by the EU CAP Network. The workshop included a  presentation on recently implemented and planned LEADER initiatives by the CAP Network and provided space for thematic discussions on cooperation issues, ideas and projects. During the workshop, the members of Zugdidi and Akhmeta LAGs held intensive discussions with the LAG members from various countries about opportunities for transnational cooperation and learned about best European practices for collaboration between institutions.  

This was my first experience of the LINC Conference” explained Ana Imedashvili from Akhmeta LAG, “I was less familiar with the specifics of the work of local development groups in Europe. During the events and informal interactions, I had the opportunity to communicate with representatives from several countries. I engaged with delegates from Estonia, Finland, and the Czech Republic. Additionally, I spoke with members of the Swedish and Austrian delegations. Our conversations mainly revolved around their priorities, interests, international projects, and potential collaboration between our respective countries.”

The representatives of Zugdidi and Akhmeta LAGs had previously participated in LINC 2022 which was held in the Czech Republic and therefore it was the second opportunity for them to strengthen linkages with European LAGs and plan transnational projects for the future. As Giorgi Patsatsia, from Zugdidi LAG put it “Participation of LAG members in these types of events is critical to LAG development. It increases the chances of implementing international projects, finding new contacts, establishing a friendly relationship with them and generally getting updates about the development of LAGs. It was an extraordinary space with extraordinary people, where you could feel respect for culture, innovation, friendship, fun, and equality.

Participation in the conference and the transnational workshop was particularly important at this time, as both Georgian LAGs are currently engaged in designing and implementing transnational projects with LAGs in Moldova and Armenia with the support of ADA. Apart from the participation in the transnational workshop,  the LAG members took part in different study tours to see LEADER projects in the region and meet with local community members who are working to improve their locality.


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