Finland’s government-appointed Rural Policy Committee (YTR) is made up of experts on rural issues and representatives from various administrative sectors. Collaboration between different administrative sectors is a vital element of rural development work. Such cooperation helps to ensure that actions are optimally coordinated and steered towards shared objectives. The Rural Policy Committee works to harmonise the broad and narrow dimensions of Finland’s rural policy.
The committee has about 30 appointed members and deputies from different ministries, administrative agencies and expert organisations. Its work is prepared by a Secretariat consisting of approximately 60 representatives of the committee’s member organisations.
The committee’s work is overseen by a Ministerial Group on Rural Policy brought together by the minister responsible for rural policy. A Parliamentary Rural Network, made up of elected members of parliament, also meets to discuss current issues related to rural policy.
The Rural Policy Committee sets up specific thematic and working groups to address issues where long-term collaboration is needed. Such themes include rural living, food, tourism, entrepreneurship, Local Action Groups, well-being, culture, sparsely populated rural areas, civil society, utilization of natural products, and the Swedish-speaking countryside.
The committee also allocates funding for national rural research and development projects from the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to examine key issues related to rural policy. Such funding typically amounts to some 2.5 million euros a year, shared among 50–70 projects.