Capacity-Building and Institutional Cooperation between Latvian and Norwegian Public Institutions, Local and Regional Authorities

Key facts

Programme Operator:
Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Programme ID:
In implementation
Programme Donors:
Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)
Date of approval:
Total amount:
EEA Grants fund:
Norway Grants fund:
€ 4,992,000

Currently available funding

Programme Summary

Why is the programme needed? There is a need to increase the capacity of public institutions’ involvement in regional development and strengthen the cooperation between national, regional and local authorities in Latvia and similar authorities in Norway. 1.    Low public services availability and quality is a major problem at local, regional and national level. Due to the economic crisis, the Latvian local governments’ general budget is decreasing every year, while the local governments’ competencies are extending. The budget of local governments has a direct impact on the availability and quality of local governments’ services to the population and entrepreneurs. As a result of the administrative reform, each administrative territory has undergone an optimisation of local governments’ functions by adjusting the procedures, sequence and scope to local circumstances. When analysing the local governments’ expenditure, due to the lack of a set of good practices, it is not possible to determine the efficiency of their operations. Transferring good practice to improve the provision and the quality of local governments' services will facilitate the efficient use and planning of local governments' financial resources. This, in turn, will bolster fiscal and administrative capacity, thus reducing economic disparities and fostering sustainable development. 2.    Existing regional differences in Latvia indicate that the economic development potential is not fully used. Presently, as the Latvian regions have experienced economic downturn, it is important to activate the existing regional resources of economic growth to promote entrepreneurship. The programme measures in the field of entrepreneurial promotion will stimulate the development of a knowledge- and innovation- based economic basis, and it will facilitate  attracting investors to Latvian regions. 3.    At the beginning of its existence, the regional policy of Latvia was developed in line with the traditional regional policy principles, assigned a top-down approach and directed towards the elimination of unfavourable disparities, providing support in a form which does not facilitate the ability of the territories themselves to promote their own development. •    In order to ensure the sustainability of the development planning process and the programme’s continuity, it is necessary to build the capacity of local government employees for further independent development planning, ensuring the coordination and linking of planning documents at all planning levels – national, regional and local. •    To ensure a targeted distribution of available resources and reaching the set outcomes, a multiannual budget planning system which would be closely integrated with the respective territorial development strategy and action plan must be developed and implemented. •    In order to improve  the existing system, under which the SPTN Nature Protection Plans and individual policies are drawn in isolation from the local territorial planning, it is necessary to create a unitary municipal development planning document – spatial plan, which in its binding part prescribes the provisions of management and restrictions of use within the administrative territory of a local government.What will the programme achieve? Within the framework of the programme, it is planned to support four pre-defined projects which aim at developing the strategic planning and service‐provision capacities of national, regional and local government institutions in Latvia. The programme is specifically focused on developing a system for analysis, evaluation and improvement of service‐delivery in local governments, as well as on promoting an evidence‐based and operational territorial planning practice at all government levels. The aim of the programme will be achieved learning from the best‐practice examples of relevant Norwegian public institutions.How will it be achieved? In order to ensure the reaching of the Programme result, the following four pre-defined projects will be implemented in the framework of the \programme: I Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments implements the pre-defined project Smart governance and performance improvement of Latvian municipalities. The Norwegian partner is the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS). The project will be implemented in local governments of Latvia where eight municipalities are chosen as pilots for testing the benchmarking system, followed by other local governments that will use the system on voluntary basis. The main activities of the project are: 1) development of a model system for analysis of local government performance, including study of Polish and Norwegian experience; 2) establishment of a cooperation network for local governments; 3) Training for employees of local governments; 4) establishment of a system/database for analysis, evaluation and improvement of local governments’ performance; 5) strengthening local governments’ network. II Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia implements the pre-defined project Increasing territorial development planning capacities of planning regions and local governments of Latvia and elaboration of development planning documents. The Norwegian partners are the Ministry of Local Governments and Regional Development of Norway, Oppland County, Østfold County and Aust Agder County. The main activities of the project are: 1) strengthening the capacities of planning regions for elaboration of regional development planning documents; 2) improvement of territorial development planning capacities of local governments; 3) establishment of a linkage between the development planning and budget planning at local level; 4) elaboration of national long-term thematic spatial plan for the Baltic Sea coastal area. III Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia implements the pre-defined project Implementation of regional policy actions in Latvia and elaboration of regional development measures. The Norwegian partners are the Ministry of Local Governments and Regional Development of Norway, Oppland County and the Aust Agder County. The main activities of the project are: 1) development of regional entrepreneurship and innovation systems; 2) increasing the role of local governments in promoting entrepreneurship; 3) development of support measures for remote and sparsely populated areas for attracting qualified workforce and entrepreneurs. IV Nature Conservation Agency implements the pre-defined project Integration of specially protected nature territories of Latvia in spatial plans. Oppland County Authority is the Norwegian donor partner. The main activity of the project is the  simplification of the local planning system.How will bilateral relations be strengthened? All the projects will be carried out in cooperation between a Latvian institution and at least one Norwegian partner. Bilateral relations will be strengthened through cooperation on development and implementation of projects, and through building institutional relationships between the cooperating partners that will foster mutual understanding of the public sectors areas involved and lay the ground for building institutional relations and creating networks in the longer term. KS is a partner in the programme and contributes by exchanging experience from Norway. Besides the Norwegian partner in the pre-defined projects, Latvian and Norwegian local governments will cooperate on developing and implementing projects to enhance the capacities of local governments. There will also be support for networking, exchange, sharing and transfer of knowledge, technology, experience and best practices between project promoters and entities in Norway.What are the partnership opportunities? Five Norwegian partners: the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, Ministry of Local Governments and Regional Development of Norway, Oppland County, Østfold County and the Aust Agder County will be project partners in the pre-defined projects and further partnerships might be established. Numerous study trips and workshops with participants from Norwegian and Latvian institutions are planned under the programme.Who can apply for funding under this programme? There will be no open calls under this programme.