In Finland, regional development falls under the responsibility of the state and the municipalities. The general goals for regional development are presented, among other things, in the Act on Regional Development and in the Government’s decree on development goals. Regional development authorities at the regional level are mainly regional councils and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY).
Regional development work requires that extensive cooperation and networking with both the state sector administration conducting the regional development work, other central cities, regional developers at the regional level, neighbouring municipalities, the region’s educational institutions, business community and authorities, as well as sectors within the city’s own organisation. Under the leadership of the city and VASEK, a regional viability strategy has already been prepared.
The city’s representatives actively participate in various national urban policy networks. The most important is the Urban Policy Committee appointed by the government and its secretariat, which is headed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The main tasks of the committee are to advance the implementation of the urban policy decisions of the Government Programme and the Government’s decision on regional development. In addition, the ministries’ urban policy measures are coordinated and forms of cooperation between the state and the urban regions are developed.
The City of Vaasa also participates in the Association of Finnish Municipalities’ Urban Policy Working Group and secretariat. The working group’s tasks include highlighting specific issues concerning the largest cities. The working group also functions as a forum for exchanging experiences.
Ecosystem agreement for innovation networks 2021-2027
The City of Vaasa has signed an ecosystem agreement for innovation networks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the years 2021-2027. The ecosystem agreements are part of the Finnish government’s efforts to create the most efficient experimental and innovation environment in the world.
Ecosystem agreements between the state and cities have been signed with Finnish university cities and university centres.
The main idea of ecosystem agreements is to develop innovative cities striving to become pioneers, which, based on their own strengths, utilise the opportunities offered by digitalisation, new technologies and carbon neutrality, thus accelerating economic renewal and a sustainable urban environment.
The ecosystem agreement strengthens the development of an attractive innovation cluster and ecosystem in the region, as well as the connection of actors to international research, development and innovation networks (RDI).