Another ambitious cities forum
From what sources will local governments be able to obtain funds? For what purposes? And in which countries is it worth looking for a partner? These are the topics discussed during the first meeting this year as part of the Ambitious Cities Forum.
Let us remind you that the creation of FAM is an initiative of Hajnówka and one of the activities under the “Hajnówka ReNewal – Green Transformation” project. It was established in July last year to exchange experiences and good practices between poviat cities of the Podlasie voivodeship.
The latest meeting concerned the possibility of obtaining external funds in the coming years and was held at the Marshal’s Office of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Local government officials from Augustów, Bielsk Podlaski, Mońki, Grajewo, Sokółka, Wysokie Mazowieckie, Zambrów and, of course, Hajnówka came. UMWP staff and invited guests discussed such programs as Interreg NEXT Poland-Ukraine 2021-20277, Interreg NEXT VI-A Lithuania-Poland 2021-2027 or European Funds for Podlaskie Voivodeship.
It is always additional knowledge for all participants, including us. On the one hand, a reminder of certain things, on the other hand, to provide information on what we can count on in future years. There will be some of these funds, whether from EU funds or cross-border programs, and we will try to take advantage of them as much as possible. Certainly, with the funds from the new financial perspective we will implement further stages of the Norwegian project in our Hajnówka conditions.
Some local government officials were interested in cross-border programs.
The Ambitious Cities Forum meeting is a great way to inspire us to look where we haven't looked before. So far, we haven't had any partner city in Lithuania. For now, the southern part of Podlaskie Voivodeship is not eligible for the Poland-Lithuania program, but by the end of the year it is supposed to be expanded. So it would be a good idea to prepare for that time and reach for the money, which will certainly be spent headlong in Bielsk. Certainly in the case of cross-border programs one cannot think about hard, investment projects. But already those related to tourism or health education are easier to implement.
The above-mentioned program of cooperation with Ukraine focuses on “soft” projects. Funding will be available for environmental, health, tourism, cooperation or border security activities. A total of more than 170 million euros has been earmarked to finance the projects.
It can certainly be inspiring for cities that international contacts always pay off with new ideas. Here we have a special situation, as this potential partner could be cities from Ukraine, which are now in a special period. Given that there are many Ukrainian citizens in the eastern provinces, including Podlaskie, it may be worthwhile to take an interest in the Poland-Ukraine cross-border program. Our countries have become very close recently, and there are real funds in our program for this cooperation to take on a very tangible character.
The authorities of Augustów, for example, are interested in looking for partners in Ukraine. Recruitment to the program will start in May.