International and inter-regional cooperation
International and cross-border cooperation
Priority tasks of the Government of the Republic of Karelia in the sphere of international relations are involvement of additional resources for improvement of social and economic development of the republic, perfection of the border and customs infrastructure, promotion of transit corridor projects, support of image and investment prospects of the republic.
Despite of the world financial and economic crisis, Government of the Republic of Karelia has managed to keep positive dynamics of development of the international and cross-border cooperation. Participation of the republic in Russian-Norwegian and Barents cooperation has become more active.
In 2009 in territory of the republic realization of 134 international noncommercial projects with total amount of external financing of €5 million was conducted. There has been provided successful completion of the 9 last projects of the program of cross-border cooperation Neighbourliness - Euroregion Karelia with the annual volume of external financing of €652 thousand. All projects are economically focused (logistics, new technologies, preparation of organization of new enterprises, development of tourism). Within the scope of the investment part of the Barents-Link Forum project there has been built and opened a Business Center in Kostomuksha - a new platform for international cooperation in the line of the concept of the border industrial complex.
At active participation of the Government of Karelia there has been completed preparation of Karelia new regional program of cross-border cooperation between Russia and European Union which for the first time provides co-financing of projects from the federal budget. The general budget of the Program makes over €46 million, its basic priorities are economic development, effective and safe borders, ecological safety, public health services, culture and education, support of local self-government and civil society. Special attention will be paid to infrastructural projects. There has been formed a working group of the government to initiate and implement projects of this category.
Within the scope of the Russian-Finnish cross-border cooperation in territory of the republic in 2009 there have been implemented 29 projects 29, as well as 25 projects together with other regions of the Northwest Federal District. There have increased the number of projects, as well as the volume of involved external financing which has reached €2,4 million. Together with the Finnish partners there have been developed and adopted The Basic Directions of Implementation of the Complex Program of Activities on Cooperation between Russia and Finland in Cross-Border Regions for the Period from 2008 to 2011 in the Republic of Karelia. A Memorandum of Bilaterial Cooperation for 2009 was realized within the scope of bilateral cooperation between Karelia and the province of Oulu. There have been held such large international actions as The Friendship Caravan and Russia and Finland in the Multipolar World 1809-2009 conference in Petrozavodsk.
The Government of the Republic of Karelia has taken active part in sessions of the Regional Council and Committee of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region, in the session of the Council of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region at the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Assistance was rendered in preparation and conducting of the session of the Committee of senior officials of the Council of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region in Petrozavodsk within the scope of Russia's presidency in the Barents Council. In 2009 in interests of the republic it has been implemented 22 Barents projects amounting to €323,000.
Continuation of work of the Swedish-Karelian information business center financed by the Government of the province of Västerbotten (Sweden) was provided. Mobile exhibitions of Swedish technologies in the sphere of forestry and construction were held. Last year in territory of Karelia there have been implemented 6 projects with the province of Västerbotten amounting to €404,000. 12 projects amounting to €363,000 were implemented with the province of Troms (Norway).
Government of the republic participated in sessions of the Coordination Council for Cross-Border and Inter-Regional Cooperation at the Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the NWFD, in the Congress of Compatriots Abroad and in the annual conference Cross-Border Cooperation: Russia, EU and Norway. Within the framework of Russia's Chairmanship of the Helsinki Commission protecting the marine environment of the Baltic Sea (HELCOM) international workshops of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan have been prepared and held in Petrozavodsk.
Last year several dozens of delegations of the high-ranking diplomats and other representatives of the foreign states have visited the republic.
In 2009 enforcement authorities, local self-government and large organizations of the Republic of Karelia were developing various international cooperation activities.
Ministry of Construction of the Republic of Karelia and Savo-Karjala Road Administration (Finland) supported cooperation in the road sphere. In 2009 dedusting of the main manastery road from the skete of Resurrection to the central manor of the monastery on Valaam was completed. Works on the construction of cold-laid asphalt concrete road surface on a site of Solomennoye-Yalguba-Suisar motorway were held. Together with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (USA) there has been developed the Program of Cooperation, exchange of experience on various issues of organization and technologies of construction and maintenance of motorways was carried out.
In 2009 active cooperation in the sphere of tourism, in directions of development of the system of vocational training and regulation of tourist activity, scientific and personnel maintenance of the branch, development of new Karelian tourist products and their advertising and information promotion, formation of a uniform information tourist space and creation of a network of information tourist centers in towns and rural settlements of the republic was carried out. The Russian-Norwegian Partnership in System of Continuous Education project directed on support of development of tourist branch in Louhi region was realized.
Ministry of Labour and Employment of the Republic of Karelia together with the Finnish partners cunducted training of unemployed citizens, including in the sphere of tourism and national crafts, promoted summer employment for young people, carried out exchange of operational experience concerning small business development. Training was organized for 1200 people to study operational experience of farms in Finland. Experience of cooperation between labour markets and formations in Germany, Polish experience of working with unemployeds was studied.
Republican controls and establishments of culture actively participate in international cooperation. The Living Kalevala exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts of the republic to the 160 anniversary of publication of the complete edition of the epos was organized. At the National Theatre, together with the Union of Theatre Workers of Finland, there has been held the Modern Theatre of Finland international festival in which participated theatres of Kotka, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Helsinki and towns of Karelia. At active support of the Government of the province of Oulu The Friendship Caravan was introduced in northern regions of Karelia. Troupe of the Musical Theatre of Karelia presented the Romeo and Juliet ballet at the International Ballet Festival held in Savonlinna (Finland). National Theatre of Karelia went on tour to Warkaus and Joensuu with the performance of Liperiada. Cooperation in this sphere with Germany proceeded. Within the framework of the anniversary activities devoted to the 20th anniversary of sister-city relations between Petrozavodsk and Tübingen, residents of Berlin and Tübingen enjoyed performances and the concert of the Onego Russian Folk Music Instruments Orchestra. With assistance of the Consulate General of Poland in St.-Petersburg, in Petrozavodsk there has been held the Ist Frederic Chopin International Competition of young pianists.
Cooperation in the field of education and science developed successfully. Republican institutions of education carried out the Safe School Karelian-Finnish project. Together with University of Oulu expert seminars and conference were held in 12 pilot schools of the republic concerning complex researches and projecting models. Approbation of developed variative models of the safe organization of the educational process and their expert support has begun. Cooperation with UNICEF in realization of the Karelia for Child project concerning development of the model of childhood protection in Karelia proceeded.
Significant work in the field of international cooperation is conducted by Petrozavodsk State University. On results of 2009 PetrSU was included in the list of the best twenty classical universities of the National Rating of Russian Universities among 300 classical institutions of higher education and has won the first place on the Internationalization/International Cooperation criterion. It is a result of long-term successful international cooperation in the sphere of education, research activity and industrial cooperation. PetrSU participates in many international programs, in Bologna process, in export of educational services. Since 2002 the PetrSU-Metso Automation Systems Center renders services in the sphere of information technologies and development of automated control systems for enterprises and technological processes. The basic customers of Center's services are large Russian and foreign industrial enterprises, companied developing software, trade enterprises. The number of the personnel of the Center has reached 68 people and keeps growing. At the support of Nokia in PetrSU in 2008-2009 there has been established the Center of Mobile & Wireless Technologies and Applications.
In 2009 institutes of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences participated in implementation of 34 international projects with scientists from 12 countries. Subjects of joint researches include studying of social and economic processes and their monitoring in Karelia, strategic planning, silvics and forestry, mineral resources and geology, regional marketing and development of business-consultation, electronic resources, development of natural areas of protection, preservation of biodiversity and ecology, archeology and folklore.
In 2009 cooperation with partners from Finland, Sweden and Norway in the field of an agriculture, public health services and social protection, social work with children, national cultures, sports and youth policy, in sphere of struggle against criminality and executions of punishments fruitfully developed.
Petrozavodsk hosted the session of the State Border Commission chaired by the Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation V.Putin.
Together with the Border Department of the Russian Federal Security Service Office for the Republic of Karelia session of the Advisory Council concerning frontier issues was organized and conducted.