In many countries the so-called “institutional framework” is reasonable if one considers the stratification of national, regional and local administrations that characterise them, with a highly decentralised structure. Not only that: this “institutional framework” has been enriched by experience with local co-operation stemming from regional, community and national development policies promoted in various forms (Territorial Pacts, Territorial Integrated Projects, LEADER, etc.) In particular, these experiences have given rise to different forms of place-based project partnerships, including many in the field of agriculture and rural development. They have encouraged new forms of governance, certainly closer to the territories themselves and more participatory, which persist today and have also developed a capacity to operate in fields other than agriculture. But at the same time they have made the governance of public policies in the different territories even more articulated and complex. In this report, therefore, we shall try to examine: • the concept of governance in the field of rural development policies; • the use of governance as a way to understand problems of policy performance, especially as regards horizontal and vertical coordination between actors; • the importance within governance of Leader approaches and new form of partnerships; • the novelties in governance to be found when comparing Agenda 2000 and the new 2007-2013 programming period; • finally, the role of governance in understanding the delivery of Rural Development Policy.