Regional council of North Karelia has completed its new regional strategic programme (POKAT2021) for 2108-2021. The aim of the programme is to introduce the region’s development objectives based on the region’s potential and special characteristics. The programme combines the strategies from all levels starting from EU – level up to the local level.

The programme was prepared interactively in collaboration with many stakeholder groups; municipalities, state authorities, communities and associatons involved in regional development and other similar parties. Also Bio4Eco participated actively in the process in order to take aspects of low carbon economy into the account in the programme and future development of the region. North Karelia aims to be an oil-free region in 2030. 

In North Karelia, forests are the key element of bioeconomy and carbon neutrality and therefore our smart specialisation choices are closely linked to forests. In the new programme the core of smart specialisation is comprised of two essential elements: 

 1. New solutions for the forest bioeconomy and

2. Technologies and materials as enablers of growth.

Concerning bioeconomy, the regional strategic programme defines e.g. the following development needs: 

- to utilise forests in a sustainable way,

- to enhance the biodiversity of forests,

- to restrain climate change and to adjust to possible changes,

- to promote low carbon energy production and energy efficiency and

- to develop business and industrial symbiosis.

In addition, transfer of expertise and research knowledge and their application for the needs of business life, as well as including an entrepreneurial angle to the sector’s development work are the future challenges in forest bioeconomy sector. Development is needed also in creating products and services that contain exceptionally plenty of added value.  

An English version of the prorgamme is currently under work.