Kick-off for det internasjonale prosjektet P-IRIS

Fylkesordføraren held tale under opninga av det internasjonale prosjektet P-IRIS, der Sogn og Fjordane fylkeskommune leiar eit Interreg Europe prosjekt om nettverksbygging og innovasjon i distriktsområdar. Samarbeidspartnerar frå Finland, Spania, Italia, Kroatia og Slovenia deltek i prosjektet.

Opning P-IRIS

Dear attendants, welcome to Sogndal and kick-off to this exciting project “Policies to improve rural areas' innovation systems by professionalising networking activities and use of innovation tools” A warm welcome to our partners from: Sodebur, Burgos, Spain, Poliedra - Politecnico di Milano Lombardy, Italy, Heart of Slovenia, Slovenia, PINS, Primorje Gorski kotar, Croatia and Central Ostrobothnia, Finland and our stakeholders from national level and Sogn og Fjordane

It is a pleasure to see people from various nationalities here in our village, knowing that you will start your exciting journey towards more knowledge and better developing networks in rural areas here today.

Sogn og Fjordane is a rural county where the inhabitants live spread out between fjords, mountains og coastal environments. We have a beautiful nature with substantial resources, a nature which also creates several challenges. I suppose many of these challenges is well known for others living in rural areas, from influencing in decision-making-processes, to practical challenges concerning logistics.

This picture shows the community-center Hardbakke in Solund commune, which is the westernmost community in Sogn og Fjordane and Norway in general. This archipelago has approximately 800 inhabitants living on 18 islands, and is only accessible by sea. Nevertheless this community produces substantial values through aquaculture and fishing, and has their own yard – Solund verft. 


Sogn og Fjordane County Municipality is the regional governing administration and the municipality is governed by politicians elected by popular vote. As the county mayor, I am also the chairman of the county council and has the highest political position. Sogn og Fjordane County municipality has more than 1400 employees and is one of the largest employers in the county. We have regional responsibilities in areas such as education, transport, dental care, culture and regional development.

The county council, consisting of 31 representatives, is the supreme political body, making decisions concerning the county.

The county council has created three main committees. In certain matters they have decision making authority, in other they prepare matters for the county council. The three committees are the committee for transport, the committee for education and the committee for planning, development and culture.

Cooperating with several business-partners, government agencies, researchers and employer-organizations, Sogn og Fjordane has created a “wealth-creation-plan”. We have worked together to figure out how we wish to develop and structure our community in the years to come. There is no doubt that working together like this gives us a more complete picture of our challenges, and more importantly, it gives us a much better understanding on how we solve problems and create better solutions. The goal is to create workplace-growth and make our community appealing for young people, to ensure a continuous increase in population.

In professionalizing networking one will hopefully see positive synergies and make it easier to influence processes also happening in central areas. From a political point-of-view one of the key-points is how it influences the ability to achieve results. In others words; how can we see actual results of the money being invested?

This picture shows the magnificent Nærøyfjorden seen from a mountain called Breiskrednosi. Nærøyfjorden is on the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Area, and is a classic example on the well-known Norwegian fjords. Their scenery and cultural heritage have spellbound visitors down the ages.

Our goal si regional development – a  bright future for young creative and well educated youth. Our role is to lead the Sogn og Fjordane development-partnership.

We need to work smart together, and we need to learn from good practices in other rural regions of Europe.