Rural development networks
Rural development falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE). The MAF administers the EU-cofinanced Rural Development Programme, while the MEE is mainly responsible for national rural policy.
Rural development networks are horizontal networks connecting different administrative branches and geographical regions across the country. Collaboration is also close between the administration and operators at the grass-roots level. The Finnish Rural Network was established to speed up the implementation of EU-funded rural development programmes. The Rural Network comprises the key operators involved in the Rural Development Programmes for Mainland Finland and the Åland Islands. The Network’s activities are directed by a steering group appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Each EU Member State has a rural network. Collaboration between these networks is coordinated by the European Network for Rural Development.
Responsibility for Finland’s national rural policy is shared by the MAF and the MEE. The Rural Policy Committee is a collaboration body appointed by the Government. It operates under the MEE and has approximately 30 members. The Rural Policy Committee involves a wide network of operators from the national, regional and local levels.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is actively involved in monitoring and developing the various areas of international rural policy at the EU level and in international organisations, such as WTO, FAO and OECD.