Organiser

The host of the 4th Polish Standing Conference on the International Cooperation of Local Self-Governments was the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship.

The candidacy of the Świętokrzyskie region as an organiser of the 4th Conference edition, submitted to its initiator in Poznań in 2013 during the 2nd Session of the Conference, was approved in October 2014 by the International Affairs Unit to the Joint Government and Local Self-Government Commission.

The Polish Standing Conference on the International Cooperation of Local Self-Governments, initiated by the Wielkopolska region in 2012, is the only of its kind event in Poland organized each year in a different region of Poland. It is a platform of vertical cooperation of all levels of local self-governments in Poland as well as a forum of cooperation of local self-governments with the government.

The 4th edition of the Conference focused on two main themes: the success of the Polish self-government in the context of the role of local self-governments in the field of international cooperation in connection with the Year of Self-Government announced by the President of the Republic of Poland, and the possibilities of the development of Polish-Nordic cooperation in the context of a dynamically changing geopolitical situation in the world.

The Conference entitled “Poland - Nordic countries. Self-government dimension of international cooperation” was inspired by the Polish-Nordic relations as well as the connections of the Świętokrzyskie region with the Nordic issues. Additional premises in favour of raising this subject were as follows:

  • Polish presidency in the Council of the Baltic Sea States (1/07/2015- 30/06/2016)
  • summarizing the impact of the second programming period of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, which came to an end in 2014, on Polish local self-governments and Polish-Nordic relations
  • summarizing the activity of local self-government units in the field of the Polish Development Assistance in connection with the European Year for Development celebrated in 2015 as well as comparing the Polish Development Assistance with the activity of the Nordic countries in the area of development cooperation.

Long-standing relations of the Świętokrzyskie region with partners from the Nordic countries are another factor which had an influence on the choice of the theme of the Kielce edition of the Polish Standing Conference on the International Cooperation of Local Self-Governments.

The relations of the Świętokrzyskie region with partners from Denmark were established before the creation of regional self-government in the 1990s, relations with Finland were initiated in 2004 - an official agreement on interregional cooperation with the Region of Central Finland was concluded in 2008, and with Sweden in 2006. Long-standing cooperation between Świętokrzyskie and Finland resulted in the opening of Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Finland in Kielce in 2014. Since then, the post of Honorary Consul of Finland has been held by Mr Tadeusz Pęczek. Swedish partners have been implementing international projects successfully with entities from the Świętokrzyskie region. Moreover, foreign relations of the Świętokrzyskie regional self-government are perfectly complemented by the Department of North European Countries  at the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce. The Department of North European Countries is chaired by Professor Ryszard M. Czarny, a former Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Sweden, Norway and Iceland. The Department of North European Countries is the only research centre of social science in Poland dedicated to the Nordic countries and the Far North. The research scientists of the Department of North European Countries are members of the Committee on the Social Sciences and the History of Polish Polar Research, Polar Research Committee, PAS. The scientific papers of the Department of North European Countries are published under the series Scandinavium. In the University Library of the Jan Kochanowski University, there is also the Nordic Library, which houses the largest international collection of books in Central Europe devoted to the Nordic countries with special emphasis on Scandinavia and applied social sciences.

The 4th Polish Standing Conference on the International Cooperation of Local Self-Governments in Kielce was co-organized and co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the call for proposals 'Support of local government and civic dimension of Polish foreign policy 2015.'