Research

Article

Use of the ANP methodology to prioritize rural development strategies under the LEADER approach in protected areas. The case of Lagodekhi, Georgia

Abstract

The prioritization of rural development strategies under the rural territorial development approach according to the European Union’s LEADER methodology, especially in protected natural environments, presents a certain degree of complexity due to its multiple and opposed co-existing objectives and the necessity of the local population’s participation in decision-making. However, LEADER does not clearly propose a prioritization methodology beyond simple scoring methods. The objective of this study is to compare the results of an unsophisticated prioritization with the ANP multicriteria methodology in the case of the municipality of Lagodekhi, Georgia, where there is a specially protected area and where the LEADER approach is being applied for the strategic planning of rural development. The ANP methodology, compared to a less sophisticated method, demonstrably better adapts to the LEADER approach in protected areas because it allows for a clearer and more consistent prioritization of the need for environmental protection and effectively compiles the interactions between the different economic, social, and environmental dimensions of development.

Keywords: ANP, LEADER approach, protected areas, rural territorial development, strategic planning,