The European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has a direct impact on agriculture (first pillar), and on rural development with a full integration of agriculture in the rural areas (second pillar, see http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rurdev/index_en.htm).

As the Member States implement the European policy in their own region, Flanders (responsible for the Agricultural policy in the Flemish region) adopted a specific Flemish strategy and program for rural development (PDPO).

After a first program period (2000-2006) and the second program period (2007-2013), the third program period (PDPO III) for the rural development in Flanders runs between 2004 and 2020. There are six common EU priorities for rural development:

  • EAFRD-priority 1: fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas
  • EAFRD-priority 2: enhancing farm viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture, and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable forest management
  • EAFRD-priority 3: promoting food chain organisation, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture
  • EAFRD-priority 4: restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry
  • EAFRD-priority 5: promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors
  • EAFRD-priority 6: promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.

Here, you can find the brochure of the Rural Development Programme Flanders 2014 - 2020. In there, you can find all the measures of the RDP III.

In addition, three horizontal goals have been set; i.e. innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. At a European level, LEADER was created in the early nineties as an innovative approach to rural policies. Through a bottom-up approach, an area-based vision for the long term is developed and implemented. Local public-private partnerships, the so-called Local Action Groups (LAG), establish and implement a local development strategy. They are responsible for selecting the projects, supporting the promotors, the financial and substantive monitoring of the implementation of the local development strategy, information and publicity. These LAGs also have to act cross sector with a view to realising cooperation and networking. Ever since the start of the LEADER story, Flanders has been participating into this new methodology...

In this program period, no less than twelve Flemish LEADER regions (Local Action Groups) have been identified: Haspengouw, Kempen-Maasland, MarkAante Kempen+, Kempen Oost, Kempen Zuid, Pajottenland+, Hageland+, Vlaamse Ardennen, Meetjesland, Grensregio Waasland, Westhoek, Midden-West-Vlaanderen. 

Contact information: https://www.ruraalnetwerk.be/pdpo-iii/oproepen-leader/contactpersonen.

Kaart LEADERgebieden.pdf (.pdf 951.25 KB)

Karte - ländlichen Raums

As in all Member States, the rural development program incorporates the establishment of a rural network, aiming at networking and communication between all rural actors. The Flemish Rural Network aims at being the “driving force that generates group dynamics and gets rural areas on the move”.

The Flemish Rural Network established four strategic objectives under RDP III:

  1. Objective 1: informing more stakeholders on RDP in order to have them participate in RDP
  2. Objective 2: ensuring a (more) appropriate coordination between RDP and the Flemish countryside
  3. Objective 3: informing the general public on the Flemish RDP and on rural development
  4. Objective 4: stimulating innovation in agriculture and forestry on the countryside

These objectives are a translation of the objectives set by Europe.

Therefore the network has been assigned the following tasks:

  • Facilitating the exchange of good practices and project examples ;
  • Facilitating thematic and analytical exchanges between stakeholders in rural development, including the exchange and communication of results ;
  • Providing for and/or facilitating training and networking activities for Local Action Groups (especially on inter-territorial and transnational cooperation, mutual cooperation and other forms of cooperation) ;
  • Providing for and/or facilitating networking activities focused on advice and innovation, e.g. in cooperation with the Flemish EIP-network ;
  • Sharing and communicating results on the monitoring and evaluation of RDP II and RDP III ;
  • Communicating on RDP, in agreement with the managing authority, based on a communication plan, including communication activities for the general public ;
  • Contributing actively to the smooth functioning of the European Network for Rural Development.

Ariane Van Den Steen
Coordinator Flemish Rural Network

Flemish Government
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Organisation, Finance and Communication Division
Ellipse building (5th Floor) 
Koning Albert II-Laan 35, bus 40
1030 Brussels

Tel:  +32(0)2 552 77 39
Email: vlaamsruraalnetwerk [at] vlaanderen [dot] be


Itinerary to the Ellipse building:


Itenary to Ellipse Building in Brussels North Region

Itenary to Ellipse Building in Brussels North Region