Cluster approach was presented in St Petersburg, especially to leaders. The round table “Applying cluster approach to develop interregional and cross-border cooperation” was held within the framework of Strategic Leaders Forum taking place in St. Petersburg on October 22 – 23. The round table was organized by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the Coordination Council for Cross-Border and Regional Cooperation of the North-West Federal District and the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization “Strategic Partnership North-West”.
Igor Kapyrin, Deputy Director of the Department of European Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stressed in his welcoming speech importance of disseminating successful experience gained through the international projects: “Projects consist not only from salaries paid, bridges reconstructed and buildings erected, they also include technological and social innovations that should be thoroughly analyzed and distributed”.
The term “cluster” is applied in most cases to associations of industrial enterprises. In particular, a cluster producing composite materials and an energy cluster were presented at the round table. However, creation of clusters is possible in international projects as well. Elena Kolosova, programme manager of the “Interreg Baltic Sea Region” shared existing experience of using the cluster approach to cross-border cooperation projects.
In Interreg Baltic Sea Region, an additional financial support is available for platforms (clusters) of implemented projects. This support is aimed at sustainability of the results achieved, systematic dissemination of information and use of best practices. Clustering of projects with similar thematic areas creates conditions for more efficient capitalization. Project participants share their experiences; joint discussion and understanding of projects’ “highs and lows” facilitates further cooperation development and next steps planning. It is important to note that representatives of the relevant authorities are involved in these activities, which also contributes to transferability of achieved results. There are 6 clusters (platforms), joining experience of projects implemented within several cross-border cooperation programmes. There is also a possibility to apply for a new platform (cluster) at the moment.
Marina Anikeeva, a representative of the state committee on economic development and investment policy of the Pskov region also told about successful interaction between various programmes of cross-border cooperation. A regional project cluster was established in Pskov, it includes 9 projects implemented in the framework of three programmes of cross-border cooperation.
The interaction between various cross-border cooperation programmes, working groups and regional development strategies lies at the heart of one of the Kolarctic projects. Hannu Heikinnen, Chairman of the Barents Regional Council’s Working Group on Transport and Logistics presented “Barents Region Transport and Logistic” project, his presentation was followed by signing of the partnership agreement between the project partners. The implementation of this Kolarctic project will start on November 1, 2018.