National Rural Policy Programme

Finland’s National Rural Policy Programme is an operational programme devised by the national Rural Policy Council

Role of rural areas in ensuring national success

The National Rural Policy Programme for the years 2014–2020 describes the countryside as an inseparable part of national success and society. According to the vision formulated while drafting the programme, the countryside is a good living environment that promotes entrepreneurship and creativity. The role of civil society and greater participation are also emphasised.

The Rural Policy Council’s predecessor, the Rural Policy Committee, ratified the 2014–2020 National Rural Policy Programme on 14 February 2014. The strategic guiding principle underlying the entire programme is place-based regional development.

Place-based regional development focuses on local resources, operating environments, challenges and opportunities.

Increasing cooperation between policymakers, development and research organisations, government agencies, businesses and citizens is vital for the implementation of rural policy. Networking is also important. Key roles in this respect are played by the Secretariat of the Rural Policy Council, thematic rural policy networks and national research and development projects. The thematic networks each work to promote a specific area of the national policy.

Five themes of the national policy programme

There are five themes in the National Rural Policy Programme: 

  1. Participation and local democracy
  2. Housing and services
  3. Infrastructure and land use
  4. Livelihoods and expertise
  5. Ecosystem services

The programme also identifies two cross-cutting themes: sparsely populated rural areas and issues specific to Swedish-speaking areas. 

In addition, the programme includes an operational strategy for international cooperation in rural policy matters. 

63 tangible actions

The five themes of the national programme are fleshed out with a total of 63 tangible actions. 

The parties responsible for executing each action are identified in the programme. The themes transcend administrative boundaries, and executing the actions requires cooperation on multiple levels.

The progress of the actions is tracked by means of regular assessments. The first mid-term assessment of the national programme was performed in 2016. A more extensive assessment covering the entire programming period is to be completed in 2020.

A PDF version of the 2014–2020 National Rural Policy Programme in Finnish can be printed out from the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (Abstract in english: page 92)