The IV Lithuanian Rural Parliament was organised by the Lithuanian Rural Commuity union the 18th of October 2019 in Raundovaris, Kaunas. After presentations by the authorities and intensive discussions, being concerned by unsufficient funding for community empowerment, bureaucracy, complicated regulatory framework and sectoral management of rural affairs, the participants suggest…
1. Strengthening rural communities:
It is important to encourage village inhabitants to act and represent local community, eldership or region. In order that the rural person would become self-governed Lithuanian citizen, we suggest:
- to give opportunity for municipality council to decide on expediency of “seniūnaitis” institution;
- municipality council decisions that are related to local communities should be considered in the Regional community organization council, and if such institution is not present, then it should be considered in a municipality NGO council in which all local community umbrella organization delegates must be present;
- simplify small (up to 5 000 euro) local project administration;
- to create a common accounting program/platform.
2. Development of regions:
In order to have a sustainable regional development in Lithuania and more effective usage of various funds, dedicated to decrease social economic separation, we suggest:
- to encourage a more solid LAG cooperation with various ministries, to ensure timely information about different calls for project applications;
- to create an opportunity during period 2021-2027 to implement a multi-funded LEADER/CLLD program that would encompass: European Agriculture fund for rural development (EAFRD), European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), European social fund (ESF) and European regional fund (ERF);
- to ensure that local action group delegate of LAG and Regional community organization council would be members of the Regional development council;
- technological processes are constantly improving, innovations in all fields are being pursued, we are seeking for smart and sustainable development. In order for these processes to develop smoothly, development of the competences of the rural population is of great importance. Vocational education is very relevant already since kindergarten, as the students are already deciding to leave the region (rural area). Given the specific of the regions, during period 2021-2027 the topics and scope of the training must be dictated by local specifics and needs.
3. Social entrepreneurship in rural areas:
Social and community business in rural areas can significantly contribute to solving social problems. By taking example from the most successful European social business models, it is possible to declare that it is a business that was created from initiative principal „from the bottom up“, is lead democratically, creates workplaces for local community members or people with social problems and invests the profits back to satisfy community’s or other social needs.
- in order to implement the national strategic provision that no less than 15% of public services would be given over to NGO sector, we suggest encouraging local municipalities to give over social service to capable community organizations more actively;
- we suggest improving NGO institutional capabilities, so that they would be prepared to render social services.