The Catalonian Association for Rural Initiatives (known by the acronym ARCA in Catalan) is the network of the 13 Local Action Groups of Catalonia.
Constituted in January 2010, the principal objective of the Association is to be one of the bodies representing the aforementioned groups to Catalonian, state and international organisations and institutions, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food And Rural Action (the authority that manages the Leader Programme).
In this planning period, the DAAM wants to boost the role of the Leader Groups of Catalonia more than ever, coinciding with the start of the first Programme for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas 2010-2014, within the framework of the Law 45/2007 of Sustainable Development in Rural Areas and which represents an investment of 141.9 million euros for Catalonia.
The aims of ARCA are to promote and foment actions and projects which facilitate the integrated development of rural areas, improve the achievement of the objectives of the Leader groups and Catalonian rural development in general, through technical assistance in a framework of work and participatory debate and the fostering of inter-territorial and transnational cooperation between Leader groups.
ARCA is structured around 4 actions:
- Action 1: technical support services to the Local Action Groups.
- Action 2: communication and dissemination of projects, best practices and methodologies.
- Action 3: representation and presence of the Catalonian network in other bodies.
- Action 4: participation in rural development and cooperation projects.
The General assembly of ARCA is composed of 26 members, of whom, nine members form the board of directors. The Association has a technical team to develop the programme of work and coordinate and assist the Leader groups, mainly in projects of inter-territorial and transnational cooperation, at its disposition. They have also created a technical commission made up of the managers of the Leader groups, the technical team of the Association and representatives of the Subdirectorate-General Of Rural Strategy, whose function is to propose, share and debate on the performance of the Association, participate in the creation of the annual report and the formation of specific workgroups on topics.
The ultimate aim of Arca is to become a reference for the Local Action Groups in rural development in Catalonia, giving them is the necessary support; for the media, to encompass all of the information related to rural areas in the media; and for other bodies and institutions, to exercise the role of representative of the Leader groups to the rest of national and international networks.
Associació d’Iniciatives Rurals de Catalunya