Regional Council of North Karelia, FI
North Karelia is located on the eastern border of Finland with densely populated urban areas and sparsely inhabited rural areas. The region’s leading industries include forestry, wood, food, plastics, metal, stone and tourism. Almost 30,000 students study at the multidisciplinary higher education institutions and other educational institutions. Co-operation between these educational institutes and local enterprises creates a productive platform for development and innovations.
Declining and ageing are among the key challenges to the region. Especially in certain districts the population is ageing fast, the birth-rate is low, and young people are tending to move from rural areas to urban city centres. Sparsely inhabited areas are also typical of the region, creating additional challenges for regional development. Even in the short term it is possible in such areas that declining population and ageing might for example endanger services and the whole service structure, as well as the availability of qualified labour.
North Karelia has already identified itself as a laboratory of ageing. Its work on regional ageing and its research competence, good practices and innovations draw national and international attention. North Karelia is ready to discover new knowledge and competences, innovative solutions, and open-minded co-operation which are needed to adopt an active and positive approach to the challenge of declining and ageing.
The Regional Council North Karelia (RCNK) is a public regional authority, owned by the region's 14 municipalities and responsible for economic development, regional planning, co-ordination of the structural funds programmes, the safeguarding of regional interests and the creation of the knowledge infrastructure. The RCNK employs 50 professionals with wide experience e.g. in regional development, strategy formulation, Finnish-Russian cross-border co-operation and project management.
The goal of the RCNK is to promote regional development initiatives, regional balance and development in co-operation with the State and the local government, businesses, universities, research institutes and non-governmental organisations. As a regional development authority, the RCNK is capable of mainstreaming the best practices developed in the DART project for main regional development programmes and also of funding them at a regional level.