Regional development and regional councils

Regional councils are the main bodies promoting the interests of their regions and they also act as statutory joint municipal authorities. Working in cooperation with central government authorities, central cities, other municipalities and universities in their regions and other parties involved in regional development, they are responsible for the regional development strategy and overall regional development.

Both regional development and regional land use planning are statutory tasks of the regional councils. There are 18 + 1 regions in Finland (18 regions in Mainland Finland and the Province of Åland).

Regional planning

The regional plan lays out the envisaged long-term development of the region (20 - 30 years). The regional plan is implemented by means of the regional strategic programme and the regional land use plan.

A regional strategic programme is based on the region’s long-term strategic policies. It specifies the objectives related to regional development and their implementation. The regional strategic programme will take into account the priorities of the regional development decision. The regional strategic programme will include or be accompanied by a smart specialisation strategy for the re-gion.

The regional strategic programmes are prepared for four years and they cover the term of the municipal councils. Regional councils organise the preparation of the programmes in cooperation with other bodies. In Lapland, the section concerning the Sámi culture is prepared by the Sámi Parliament. The programme will be approved by the county council. The regional programme can be reviewed if necessary.

The current regional strategic programmes cover the period of 2022–2025. More information on the regional strategic programmes is available on the websites of each region.

The regional land use plan will create long-term (10-20 years) land use prerequisites and guidelines for achieving the county’s target state. The regional land use plan is linked to the regional strategic programme because the development measures defined in the regional strategic programme may require land use planning. On the other hand, the regional land use plan can be implemented with the measures of the regional strategic programme.

Further information:

tapani.mattila(at), mikko.harkonen(at), petra.stenfors(at)