They say that great things are done by a series of small things brought together. Nor was it a little thing that, through FINCH project, partners from South West Oltenia region (Romania) benefited from the diversity of approaches and experiences of other regions in Italy, Finland, Poland, Greece and Germany, from an inspiring community sharing good practices, networking, exchanging expertise, knowledge and continuous learning.
Within this smooth process, cooperation was channelled towards gradually addressing specific socio-economic, environmental and cultural challenges regarding the protection, capitalization, management and sustainable exploitation of the cultural heritage in SW Oltenia region, to achieve the goal of the project, to inspire each other and grow together.
Thanks to SW Oltenia Regional Action Plan (RAP) developed in the framework of FINCH project, we gained a clearer view on how the lessons learnt from the cooperation can be implemented in order to improve the policy instrument tackled within our region, namely the Regional Development Plan (RDP) SW Oltenia 2021-2027, Priority 6 Development of tourism, capitalization of natural, cultural & historical heritage, Field of intervention 6.1 Conservation, protection and capitalization of the natural and cultural heritage of the region.
The RDP represents the strategic basis for substantiating future investments in the region and is a benchmark for both the national authorities, as a base for financing programs, and the county & local authorities, potential public or private investors willing to substantiate their development strategies and plans.
In the process of updating the RDP, both specific analysis, consultations with regional partners and stakeholders, reconsideration of measures and priorities, integration of the lessons learnt from the cooperation in different projects, including FINCH project, were taken into account, resulting in a new and enhanced Development Plan of the region for the 2021-2027 programming period.
The second action of the SW Oltenia RAP, focusing on the Strategy for sustainable development of cultural heritage tourism in the South-West Oltenia region, as a supporting tool for the RDP, brought valuable insights into the cultural heritage tourism capitalization, based on the lessons learnt during study tours within FINCH project.
Thus, thanks to a participatory process of identification and documentation of good practices in the field of protection, management and sustainable capitalization of cultural heritage, there were several lessons transferred about financial instruments and/ or public-private partnerships that can be used for sustainable capitalize on cultural heritage in our region.
During regional stakeholder’s meetings, potential transfers of experiences related to territorial needs and policy gaps to be covered were addressed, so that several financing solutions were identified, through various financial instruments such as micro-grants, crowdfunding, or revolving loans, based on the lesson learnt from Saxony Anhalt region - Germany, in order to stimulate the participation of NGOs and private actors, mainly young and innovative entrepreneurs, in public-private partnerships.
Another innovative measure was also foreseen in the final version of the RDP and it is related to boosting up local digitalisation of the cultural heritage in SW Oltenia Region, following the example of the mobile application “Citynomadi” developed for the tourist project "Water Trail" in Finland.
Accordingly, the policy change expected at the level of the SW Oltenia RDP 2021-2027 concentrates on the capitalization of the tourist potential of the region, based on the identification of new financing solutions and the digitalisation of the cultural heritage. At the same time, the goal is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between public and private actors in the field of sustainable cultural heritage protection, capitalization, management and exploitation, to offer solutions to their needs in terms of innovative methods of assuring the required operational funding and to promote dynamic & innovative regional actions, events and projects in the cultural field.
The RDP for SW Oltenia region 2021-2027 was published on RDA SW Oltenia’s website for public consultation, endorsed by the Regional Planning Committee on July 1st, 2022 and awaits the final approval of the SW Oltenia Regional Development Board by the end of this month.
The document is available (in Romanian language) at this link: https://www.adroltenia.ro/planul-de-dezvoltare-regionala-2021-2027/