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Regional Contents to Joint Barents Transport Plan
The project partners have previously had one joint meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, in November 2018. At the Kajaani meeting, the time tables and responsibilities of each partner could be discussed and agreed of in a more accurate level. During the project, five separate studies related to transport and logistics will be carried out, as well as an action plan based on the studies.
An Active Kick-off Meeting in Kajaani
During the Kajaani meeting, the representatives from each country presented their plans regarding the responsibilities described in the project plan. Speeches for example on the Russian plans of developing the refuelling network for vehicles utilising natural gas, Norwegian plans of utilising technology regarding traffic solutions and Swedish plans on cutting down transport emissions were heard. It looks like the discussions related to transport emissions are more and more of a joint and current interest and could rise on the concrete agenda of Barents transport cooperation in the near future.
Mr Jussi Huotari, who recently has started as the BRTL project manager at the office of Regional Council of Kainuu, expects the project to produce tools for example for meeting the expectations regarding traffic emissions in the Barents region. The first discussions among the project partners have raised for example developing the refuelling network for vehicles utilising natural gas in the Barents region, also other means to respond to the environmental pressures are expected to rise into discussions during the project.
Jussi Huotari, who was born in Kajaani, has studied International Relations at the University of Lapland and is currently doing research at the Aleksanteri institute/ University of Helsinki, in addition to working for the project. Having lived in the Barents region nearly all his life, Jussi was interested to apply for the project manager position in Kajaani because of the opportunity to see Barents cooperation ”from another side of the table”, so to say, or from a regional actors’ more practical point of view. As a researcher, the dialogue between politics, economy and science is very close to his heart. In Kainuu, Jussi sees both an open attitude and a demand for this kind of dialogue.
Goal to Reach Concrete Level in the Long-Term Cooperation
The Regional Council of Kainuu acts as the Lead Partner in the three-year BRTL project, with the funding from Kolarctic programme. The project shall facilitate the platform where the authorities responsible for coordinating the regional development in the Barents Region can agree upon implementation of the Joint Barents Transport Plan. In the state level, the work group BEATA responsible for developing Barents transport and logistics cooperation, is currently updating the joint transport plan. This job is expected to be ready before the end of May 2019.
Regional authorities of the Barents Region, responsible for regional development and especially transport and logistics questions, participate the BRTL project. The project implementation period is from 1st November 2018 to 31st November 2021 and the total budget is 1 492 426 €.
The Barents region has developed as part of the globalised world, and constant pressure is caused to the traffic and logistics solutions of the region. International, multilateral cooperation is needed for finding new solutions. In this context, the BRTL project has a well-grounded mandate to facilitate the platform for cooperation and networking and to support the dialogue between economic and political life and the research.
Planning director Hannu Heikkinen from the Regional Council of Kainuu has chaired the Barents Regional Working Group on Transport and Logistics (RWGTL) for years. Therefore, the organisation is a natural Lead partner for this kind of project.
- The Barents transport and logistics cooperation is an excellent forum for bringing up the location of Kainuu region between the East and West as well as between North and South, and for taking part in the decisions that concern the Northern traffic connections.
Multiple Efforts to Enhance the Accessibility of Kainuu Region
The accessibility of Kainuu region from outside the region has been defined as one of the key themes in the so called Bridge agreement between Kainuu region and the Finnish government (Ministry of Employment and the Economy) to boost the availability of skilled labour and to support the positive structural change in the region.
At about the same time as the BRTL project, also the project “Developing Air Traffic in Northern Finland 2020” was launched. This is a joint project of the regional councils of Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu in Finland, funded with ERDF and operating in the period of 1st October 2018 to 31st December 2020. The project was planned from the basis of development needs mapped out in the Northern Finland Traffic and Logistics Strategy, Development Project of East and North Finland Air Traffic and the Lapland accessibility coordination project. Airports of Ivalo, Enontekiö, Kittilä, Rovaniemi, Kemi-Tornio, Kuusamo, Oulu and Kajaani are included in the project.
BRTL –project: www.kainuunliitto.fi/en/barents-region-transport-and-logistics-brtl
Barents Cooperation: https://www.barentscooperation.org/en