FAO in Armenia

Study tour to Serbia enhances Armenian partners’ awareness of the LEADER approach


On April 14-17 FAO organized a study tour to Serbia for Armenian state authorities of different institutions, responsible for rural and agricultural development. The study tour aimed at deepening their understanding of the EU LEADER approach and of the functioning of Local Action Groups. The tour was organized within the scope of the Local Empowerment of Actors for Development (LEAD) project in Armenia, jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) funded by the European Union.

The LEADER approach, focused on empowering local actors and fostering sustainable rural development, is central to the objectives of the LEAD project in Armenia. In order to achieve the project’s objectives including to enhance capacities of relevant ministries and to support the development of national policy mechanisms for successful implementation of the LEADER approach in Armenia, FAO and UNDP are initiating a process to integrate the LEADER approach into the country’s policy framework for agriculture and rural development. 

The study tour focused on the need for coordinated actions at both national and local levels, drawing insights from the experience of Serbia in implementing the LEADER approach. Along with FAO and UNDP team members, key stakeholders from Armenian state institutions participated in the study tour, including representatives from the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, the National Assembly, as well as deputy governors from Lori and Tavush regions.

During the tour, participants engaged in insightful discussions and exchanges with Serbian counterparts. They visited institutions responsible for implementing the LEADER approach, including the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry, and Water Management of Serbia (MAFWM) and the Provincial Government of Vojvodina. Highlights of the study tour included profound presentations by MAFWM also by Mr. Aleksandar Bogićević, Assistant Minister for Rural Development. Participants also gained firsthand insights into LEADER implementation through presentations and visits to organizations like the Network for Rural Development of Serbia and the Local Action Group "Srce Bachke."

Reflecting on the tour, Ms. Hasmik Kocharyan, project manager at FAO, emphasized the importance of synthesizing actions at both national and local levels to maximize the impact of the LEADER approach in Armenia. She underscored the need for policy support and strategic integration to ensure the sustainability of rural development initiatives.

The study tour to Serbia marked a significant step forward in Armenia's journey towards adopting and adapting the LEADER approach to its unique context. By leveraging international experiences and best practices, Armenian authorities are committed to reach inclusive and sustainable development in rural communities across the country.


LEAD programme

This initiative is part of the EU LEAD4Lori and Tavush Regions project funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in close cooperation with Armenia’s Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure. The project also works with the Ministry of Economy.

The  project  is implemented in Lori and Tavush regions of Armenia as part of the European Union’s LEADER / Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) concept with the following objectives: a) mobilise, capacitate and incentivise local actors to define community needs-driven strategies in Lori and Tavush regions, b) build supporting infrastructure to prioritise, implement and sustain local-grown initiatives in Lori and Tavush regions and c) improve the capacity of the relevant ministries and other bodies and develop policy mechanisms at the national level for successful piloting and sustainability of the LEADER approach in Armenia.