Sunday, October 01, 2023

Development of local potential - a basis for the modern development of Norwegian municipalities

From June 19 to 24, 18 representatives of Bulgarian municipalities, including the mayors of Gorna Malina, Zlatitsa, Mezdra, Tutrakan and Chavdar, were on a study visit to Norway under the project "Growth through activation of local potential - GALOP".

They visited the partner municipalities of Tinset and Røros, met with the local leaders and learned about their experience in using the specific features of the territories, developing models of partnerships for the implementation of specific ideas that give impetus and a new horizon to the regions.

The state has a leading role in this process. The investment promotion policy is based on a regional division: peripheral (usually rural and remote) areas with poorly represented or absent industry, and central areas around large cities with a multi-sector economy and opportunities for subsequent and upgrading technological development.

For the peripheral areas with mono-sector economic development - mainly agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries, which do not always recognize the development potential of the local community, a special program - "Innovation Norway" is being developed. Local authorities take an active part in its preparation.

The program is managed by a secretariat - the Agency for Development and Investment - with local units established or outsourced to the relevant regional authorities.

The purpose of the program is to select local authorities and communities, businesses and local producers that have the potential to introduce new approaches and investments. Innovators are sought, a suitable environment for introducing innovations, because preliminary studies show that not all communities can generate or take on new ventures.

The program offers comprehensive support, including financial and expert, thematic consultations and support for creating partnerships.

A unique feature of the program is the active follow-up and tracking of the beneficiaries. Representatives of the regional units participate in the project management teams and plan with the management of the partners the necessary next steps and projects. Beneficiaries are worked with for years, in a series of projects

The state promotes investment in the central regions by offering additional incentives in the knowledge economy, techno-parks and industrial zones.

В Tinset has over 30 nationalities, incl. successfully integrated refugees and one Bulgarian. The municipality is betting on the development of tourism, as 30% of local revenues are generated from tourist tax. In order to preserve the authentic appearance of the buildings, a local ordinance for the urban environment was adopted, which sets specific requirements for the appearance of the buildings, incl. advocates preservation of peat roofs.

The municipality attracts tourists with developed attractions. An equestrian center has been built in an authentic old building, which offers not only walks, but also "horse camps", sleigh rides and other activities.

An attractive mountain hotel offers tourists accommodation in huts, but also spa services. They are also attracted by the opportunity to visit Santa's house, walk along the designated and maintained hiking trails, go canoeing and kayaking or rent a bicycle. The area is home to the largest company for cycling tours, which are organized along predetermined routes approved by the municipality and the land owners.

The area also offers the opportunity to visit an opera performance in an unusual place - in the mountain property of a local farmer. Opera di Setra has been offering outdoor productions for over 10 years.

In the municipality, tourists can enjoy the local ecological cheese production.

Ryoros developed as a mining municipality until 1997. After the cessation of copper ore mining, the area used its greatest potential - cultural heritage. Eight neighboring municipalities unite and create a tourism company that manages, promotes and develops the cultural heritage of Rør. Part of it is the mining museum created in the last closed mine. Since 1980, the region has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The tourist company also relies on support from the National Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, established in 2002 and operating with an annual budget of over 100 million kroner. Areas declared cultural heritage are protected by local ordinance. It refers to the agricultural areas around the center, the mining landscape and the wooden houses. The ordinance prohibits, for example, the replacement of doors and windows manufactured before 1960. They must be restored, and owners are entitled to financial assistance from the state.