This paper is part of a study that the ILO Programme “Universitas” has realised with the aim of analysing the trends in the conceptual frameworks and the experiences in theme of local economic development.
It illustrates the fundamental pillars, that sustain the LED experiences, the advantages mainly for poor areas, the contribution to the human development and the decent work strategies, the main constrains and the learned lessons about the gaps to be overcome.
Economic and technological structural changes, globalisation, and structural adjustment policies did not assure suitable conditions for the consolidation of national systems of small and medium enterprises. Single enterprise has difficulty to access to the factors of production and to scale economies. Organised territorial systems compensate it, constituting “milieu’s”, able to generate and maintain competitive advantages and differential value. Development is the result of a complex combination of macro, micro and meso policies, where the local meso-dimension is the right cross, which links the other ones. Territory and its potential endogenous resources is the main “resource” for development, not solely a mere space. Local economic development, is an appropriate process for creating suitable conditions for sustainable employment, small and medium enterprise creation and growth; for promoting human development, and decent work.
The paper is concluded by a chapter that provides preliminary recommendations for policy makers for fostering local economic development policies and instruments.
The other papers of the study are:
Paper 2: Best practices on the issue of local economic development.
Paper 3: Bibliography and web sites.
Paper 4: How to establish Local Economic development Agencies: Case studies.
A preliminary draft was prepared, and a workshop was organised on the base of the different comments from the collaborator’s network. The workshop gave the final inputs to this paper.