A panel discussion on the topic: „Transfer of experiences on the topic of
establishment, networking and functioning of local action groups and
inter-municipal organizations“ was held in Bac, in the hall of the
Cultural Center, on February 11.
The panel discussion is one of the activities carried out during the implementation of the project „Cult (R) ural – development, protection and promotion of the municipality of Bac“ which is an integrative civic initiative that aims to support the citizens of Bac to get involved in local community development processes.
It is conducted by the association of citizens Dunav 1245 from Sremski Karlovci in cooperation with the Tourist Organization of Bac. The initiative is part of a broader project „Platform for Responsible Public Financial Management“ implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and funded by the Government of Sweden.
Panelists at the discussion were representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management – Ms. Ljiljana Simic – Independent Advisor in the Sector for Rural Development of the Ministry, Mr. Slobodan Zivanovic – Head of Rural Development Programming Group in the Ministry, Mr. Bojan Kovac – Manager of the Local Action Group „Heart Backa ”from Kula, but also a representative of the newly established network of Lagovo in Serbia and Miss Branka Mandic – President of the Board of Directors of the Local Action Group“ Ravnica Backe „.
After the presentation of the project and the implemented activities, the participants were addressed by representatives of the Ministry and presented current information related to the local strategy in RD (LSRD) evaluation process, and on that occasion it was said that 17 strategies were reviewed and evaluated, 4 more remained for evaluation and one was not submitted within the deadline.
It was said that the evaluators are very professional and with excellent references, which will be important when EU representatives are involved in the process, and they think that they will accept this process and the results of this work. A review of the report on the financial expenditure of funds is underway and after the completion of this process, the LAGs and Partnerships will be paid another part of the funds. A ranking list of evaluated strategies will be published on the website of the Agricultural Payments Administration. It was emphasized that the Rulebook was changed and the number of necessary points for a positive assessment of LSRD was reduced from the previous 80 to 60 points.
A discussion opened, and representatives of the LAG joined. Representatives of the Ministry stated that even it is true that there is no budget at the moment, they expect a rebalance with quarter of million Euros to be invested in 2 series of micro projects for LAGs and for support of newly established LAGs. It is necessary to change the role of the local community in our system, because they are quite large in terms of population and size of the territory and should have a significant role in rural development. In Europe, municipalities are the size of our local communities and are one of the founders of the LAGs.
Panelist Bojan Kovač presented the newly formed Network of Local Action Groups, presented the goals and expectations in further work. Panelist Branka Mandić introduced the participant to the newly established Local Action Group „Ravnica Bačke“ (Backa’s Plain), which includes the territory of the three municipalities of Bač, Bačka Palanka and Bački Petrovac.
Representatives of LAGs with longer work experience expressed their readiness to transfer experiences and knowledge in the field of work of local action groups (partnerships for rural development) and rural development to members from Bac. It was agreed to join the LAG Network of this Serbia as an associate member.
By involvement of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, the Municipality of Bac and the LAG Network of Serbia, all participants in this event, and above all farmers, citizens and organizations from Bac and other participants, had the opportunity to exchange information and knowledge about current activities and expectations in the field of rural development.
After the discussion, the panelists gave statements to the media and informal discussion was continued during the catering.