This diploma thesis deals with the LEADER-area Weststeiermark-Lipizzanerheimat. The thesis aims to address selected research questions by illustrating the regional development in the examined area with particular regard to the LEADER-funding program. This happens in the course of geographic description, structural analysis and an investigation of the LEADER-funding program in terms of its effects on the area?s regional development. On this basis, a SWOT analysis was conducted to depict the LEADER-area?s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Due to the geographic description, the different form of center and periphery in the LEADER-region becomes apparent. The structural analysis clearly identifies spatial disparities within the investigated area. These differences concern the development and distribution of population, as well as economy and infrastructure. Based on the analysis, the central region of the LEADER-area can be defined as structurally strong, however, it is affected by a decrease in population. The rurally shaped parts of the examination area can be classified as structurally weak and show a negative population development. The communities in the south-east area both demonstrate a highly positive population development and benefit economically from its convenient location and its vicinity to the state capital Graz.Since 2000, as part of the LEADER-funding program, LEADER+ has been implementing projects in the examination area, which aim at the innovative development of rural areas. Therefore, this thesis examines the development of the local LEADER- action group, as well as its developmental objectives and strategies. The investigation of case studies from the period LEADER 2007-2013 has shown that the LEADER-funding program, respectively, the local action group?s work has had a positive impact on the regional development of the investigated area.