Ávarp iðnaðarráðherra á ráðstefnu
um nýsköpunarstarf á landsbyggðarsvæðum Norðurlanda
Háskólanum á Akureyri
föstudaginn 22. október kl. 13:05
Mr. Chairman, - ladies and gentlemen.
It gives me a great pleasure to be here with you today and to have the opportunity to address this conference on: Economic Development and Innovation in the Nordic Periphery.
Regional Policy is an important part of the Portfolio of my Ministry. It is important primarily because we belief that all citizens of this country should have the same possibilities to enjoy a good and prosperous life, - including: - equal opportunities to obtain good education - proper employment; - good quality health care; - and over-all social well being.
This is by no means an easy task - and the fact is - that for many years we have, - with a few exceptions, had a net out-migration from the rural areas to Reykjavik and the near-by communities. The negative consequences of this are that it becomes still more difficult than before to provide the desired services to those that remain behind. The task to reverse this development is not easy but all the efforts are much more than worth the while. They, however, require a holistic governmental approach.
Regional Policy is therefore a crosss-sectorial policy that calls for a broader political vision than in many other fields. It also calls for a close co-operation with other ministries and governmental institutions.
The implementation of the present 4-year Regional Policy is indeed based on such a co-operation between the ministries - where regional priorities are jointly defined - but the responsibility for carrying out the tasks remains with the other ministry in question.
The present policy is for the period 2002 to 2005, - and has a strong focus on Economic Development.
- Education; - knowledge-creation; and - innovation are among the key elements.
In spite of the fact that we still have more than a year remaining of the present policy period - work has already started on preparations for the next Regional Policy for 2006 to 2009. I am mentioning this because I feel that many of the topics that are on this conference program could be an input in the up-coming policy work.
Ladies and gentlemen.
We are today formally opening this new building that is called - The Research and Innovation Building. The building and the activities that will be here - symbolize in many ways - a particular priority that we need to strengthen still further in our regional development – this is indeed research and innovation. Innovation facilitation should have some priority here - with the objective of strengthening the Economical Development in the rural areas of Iceland.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I wish you all a most fruitful working conference here today and hope that the organizers will inform me about your conclusions.