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From Aurora Borealis to Carpathians. Searching the Road to Regional and Rural Development

By Andra Aldea-Partanen and Jouni Ponnikas

Abstract

This paper aims at analysing the current regional and rural development tools available for Romania and Finland, as well as common encountered problems and differences in the local realities. The theoretical framework covers contemporary concepts typical for regional development and for rural development, such as learning regions, knowledge creation, social networks, innovation, bottom-up versus top-down approaches, and social, cultural and economical sustainable development. References to the specific problems encountered in remote areas or related to the communities with limited access to various resources are made and the existing policy trends are compared. Rural reality embraces very particular characteristics both in Romania and Finland. However, the history trends have been different and the actual situation of countries’ economy indicates a potential of learning in case of Romania and available solutions to similar problems in case of Finland. Still, transferring models and solutions is not an easy task and the particular challenges encountered in Nordic knowledge transfer projects are mentioned as a starting point helping to formulate assumptions related to the impediment to be expected in such a transfer case. Project Cycle Management in its newest version is brought in the discussion in an attempt to asses in what extent its recommendation could be useful and applied in the case of rural development programmes. The potential quality increase and the high technicality of the used terms are some of the analysed features of project Cycle Management. The concrete examples used in the paper are based on the interviews carried on by the authors in different and common research and evaluation projects in Finland and Romania. The paper brings into discussion the lacks existent in rural and regional development policy in an EU country and a accession one, as they appear using the initially proposed theoretical framework. Recommendations to be followed in the coming year are suggested in this paper evaluating comparatively some of the existent problems affecting local development

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