REGINA aims to reduce the vulnerability and increase the preparedness of small communities in remote areas of the Nordic Arctic and Scotland facing development – or closing-down – of large-scale, resource-based industries. The project is part of the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 and will run until September 2018.
The REGINA project represents an innovative model for developing Local Smart Specialisation Strategies (LS3) for small, remote communities in the Northern Periphery and Arctic area with large-scale, resource-based industrial development. The LS3s will support local authorities in their efforts to maximize the benefits and minimize the vulnerabilities caused by industrial development.
The REGINA project group consists of a transnational mix of research institutions, stakeholder groups and five small, remote municipalities. Together they will build knowledge and create LS3s based on the 6-step LS3 model, including three specific planning tools: a Demographic Foresight Model (DFM), a Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) and a Local Benefits Analysis Toolbox (LBAT).
The 6-step LS3 model is centered on three common territorial challenges in the Northern Periphery and Arctic area. When created, each LS3 will also build upon existing territorial assets of each community (environmental, economic, human, social etc.), to secure the most economically beneficial, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible future development.
Eventually, the LS3s will be tested and implemented by each of the five municipalities in the project group, but REGINA will also create guidance and support tools for other municipalities facing similar types of development challenges.
- REGINA will respond to the key challenge of ensuring that sustainable and resilient local community development is prioritised when planning the development of large-scale industrial developments in Europe’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Region.
- REGINA will work towards improving the preparedness for large-scale investments in small communities and reduce these communities’ vulnerabilities towards the decline or closing-down of large-scale projects.
- REGINA will enhance the likelihood of successful outcomes by using transnational cooperation and learning to mobilize local communities in promoting local economic growth and welfare.
Three common territorial challenges tackled by REGINA:
- Demographic Changes: Where an ageing population naturally reduces the reproductive capacity of an area, this is exasperated further by the long-established and selective out-migration of a disproportionate number of young, well-educated persons, especially women. Modern, high-technology resource extraction and processing activities may then face challenges recruiting a local work force and often resort to regular “fly-in fly-out” solutions, which leak economic benefits out of the local area.
- Potential land use conflicts and their social impacts: with a key challenge being the ability to ensure a continuous focus on landscape preservation throughout the duration of large-scale industrial projects. This includes the wide-ranging social, cultural and economic activities in which local individuals and communities depend on an undisturbed, natural landscape. It also includes the recovery and restoration of the landscape and its cultural aspects after industrial activities cease.
- Managing green growth potential, including the local retention of benefits: whereby two key conditions are emphasized. First, where the potentials associated with the diverse relationships between economy and ecology are addressed in the planning process. Second, the need to limit export leakage of direct profits, supply chain revenues as well as indirect economic benefits associated with local spending. A special focus will be put on strategies to strengthen the local supply chain linkages of resource based industries.