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Regional Development

Regional development is a comprehensive term.

In literature, it is often described as a general effort to reduce regional disparities by supporting (employment- and wealth-generating) economic activities in regions. A (more or less) intensively subsidised investment in the reduction of disparities doesn't always produce the expected impact. ZSI supports and co-develops initiatives that take into account the regional features and demands.

For example, ‘obsolescence’ should be seen more as given fact in some (peripheral) regions than as a ‘problem’. The idea is to adapt policies (in an economic, labour, social, health, etc. context) in a way that considers such a fact.

The reconcilement of topics between different stakeholders on regional and local levels plays an important role for the appropriate development of the regional economic potential, and finally, the strengthening of social cohesion. Among suitable examples are the Territorial Employment Pacts (TEPs) in Austria.

All Austrian TEP's are organised on a provincial level. In some provinces, TEP-structures are also created on a sub-regional level. Existing local structures, such as e.g. Regional Management Associations, serve as co-operation partners. Actors of both the regional and local levels co-ordinate their strategies and implement measures. Furthermore, all Austrian TEP's consider the integration of districts and municipalities into the partnerships what is important, in order to better tailor their measures to local needs. Local actors are integrated in steering committees or working groups of TEP's. Though all TEP's are working together with the local level, the intensity of co-operation varies within Austria.

Another suitable example is the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance. It supports area based partnerships in their mission, by gathering knowledge and providing advice on the most effective mechanisms for organisations to work together, adapt policies to local needs, and set up appropriate initiatives.

ZSI also tried to identify synergy potentials (q.v. SYN.AT) between the EU funding instruments ESF, European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which are used on regional level. A cooperative, coordinated, and coherent use of the funding instruments should be a basic requirement for dealing with regional challenges.

Ansprechperson: Magª. Berenike Ecker, M.E.S.

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