ILS LEDA was established in 1998 in the framework of the EDINFODEC Program, managed by UNOPS (United Nations Organisation for Project Services), and sponsored by UNDP (United Nations Development Program), the Italian Cooperation to Development, ILO (International Labour Office), and Eurada (European Association of Development Agencies).
The launch Conference was held in Genoa in October 1998, thanks to the support of the Liguria Regional Administration.
At that time several international cooperation programs (financed by Italy) had supported the establishment of the following Local Economic Development Agencies:
The aims of ILS LEDA were:
Giancarlo Canzanelli was named first ILS LEDA coordinator, and the group of experts engaged for the technical support to the creation of the LEDAs kept providing their services in the framework of ILS LEDA.