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Abstract

Given the changes in the Irish economy since the economic crisis and, more specifically, reforms in the local government sector, this paper reassesses the financial position and fiscal sustainability of local authorities in Ireland. To do this we employ a local government financial performance framework that measures liquidity and solvency, but also operating performance and collection rates, for different sources of revenue income. Using financial data sourced from local council income and expenditure accounts and balance sheets, we report and analyse the financial position and performance during the 2007–17 period. The results indicate an improvement in the financial performance of local councils since the early 2010s. Cross-council differences persist, in particular, between large urban local authorities and smaller rural local authorities, albeit only for the liquidity and operating performance measures. Among the small rural councils, Sligo County Council’s financial position, although improving, remains a serious matter with ongoing consultation with and monitoring by central government. To help improve the measurement of local authority financial performance we recommend inclusion of this framework in the local authority Annual Financial Statement and also in the Performance Indicator Report with a view to making financial reports more accessible and transparent to citizens and taxpayers and, ultimately, to help improve performance and service delivery by the local authorities.

Abstract

Collaboration is an important means of tackling local socio-economic challenges. This paper looks at how the collaborative capacity of Ireland’s community development leaders can be improved. The most recent efforts to establish a more coordinated and coherent approach to community development saw the introduction of a new local committee structure, known as local community development committees (LCDCs). LCDCs were expected to enhance collaboration between public, private and third sector socio-economic partners. However, effective intersectoral collaboration is often difficult to attain. A programme of capacity building can play a key part in supporting collaborative working between local leaders. Based on the findings from a place-based leadership development workshop, this paper discusses the barriers to collaboration facing community development leaders and how these might be overcome. Surfacing and working through tensions to enable clarity, through enhanced mutual understanding and strong relationships across community development committees, is vitally important. To this end, a practical and evidence-based approach to improving collaboration between local leaders is argued for.

Abstract

This paper sets out to better understand the roles of various actors and actions in the ‘making’ of Galway city. From the formation of the state, with a population of just over 14,000, the city has enjoyed population growth rates above EU and Irish averages over the past three decades. This paper maps a series of growth phases resulting from sometimes deliberate and other times non-deliberate policy decisions. The theoretical lens adopted is that of evolutionary economic geography. This is an attempt to counteract the tendency in broader social science research to underplay geographical aspects, such as places, space and scales. Economic geography – and evolutionary economic geography in particular – better identifies the complexity and nuance of place development. Theorists such as Boschma (2017) and Martin & Sunley (2015) consider development as a path-dependent process. Development is situated and place-based. This requires a more historically attuned perspective and a recognition that the role played by institutions, government and policy is vital. The paper concludes with a broad reflection on the role of spatial development policy and the potential future development of the city.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: Agriculture has historically been an important sector in Kosovo’s economy however the biggest challenges are migration, land fragmentation, and access to market and finance. Support from the Government of Kosovo for the agriculture and rural development sector is based on the ARDP 2007-13 and includes direct support measures that strongly correspond to Pillar I measures under CAP and rural development support measures similar to CAP Pillar II. The objective of this paper is to assess three measures (101,103,302) under the national plan of agriculture and rural development of Kosovo.

Materials and methods: Measure 101, “Investments in Physical Assets in Agricultural Holdings” fruit sector, grape sector. Measure 103, “Investments in physical assets concerning the processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products”. Measure 302, “Farm Diversification and Business Development”.

Results: Results showed support is increased which directly affected new job creation however this should continue with increasing the budget as these measures affect the rural economy directly by creating jobs contributing to sustainable agriculture and reducing migration.

Conclusions: The most important measure in terms of budget allocation and number of projects implemented was Measure 101. The largest number of beneficiaries from measure 101 originated from the Prizren and Prishtine Region.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: This paper presents bioeconomy as a solution to sustainable development challenges in Africa. It identifies the current state of bioeconomy and its production determinants in African countries and regions, and the potential that bioeconomy has in these jurisdictions. This paper also highlights possible policy inputs for a sustainable bioeconomy on the continent.

Materials and methods: In addition to a systematic literature review, statistical databases and published indices, the paper also builds on the classical theory of productive forces to achieve its objectives.

Results: The bioeconomy potentials of African countries are poor when compared with those of countries with dedicated bioeconomy policies or strategies. Most of the bioeconomy related activities in Africa were centred on biofuel production as a substitute to fossil fuels.

Conclusions: African countries must formulate cohesive bioeconomy policies, make necessary targeted investments in research and innovation, and improve general governance to take advantage of opportunities in emerging sectors of bioeconomy to ensure sustainable livelihoods on the continent.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: This paper presents the development of human capital on the labour market of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship in 2004-2017.

Materials and methods: The study uses methods of literature review and comparative analysis based on data provided by Statistics Poland.

Results: The results of the analysis show that constant development of human capital is taking place in the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, and its level measured by the number of students and graduates of universities, as well as the number of registered patents is comparable to the average in Poland. The high quality of human capital contributed to achieving above-average economic results and household incomes.

Conclusions: Development of human capital and raising professional qualifications at post-graduate studies was particularly important in the period of negative impact on the Polish economy of the financial crises of 2007-2009 and 2010-2012. A combination of higher education and innovative abilities, as well as involvement in R&D contributed to the increased competitiveness of the voivodeship’s economy.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: This paper deals with the issues of occupational activation of economically inactive persons. Its objective is to provide the reader with an outline of labour market problems and the situation of the economically inactive population*. Persons who qualify neither as employed or as unemployed potentially constitute an untapped labour potential. The focus in this paper is on economically inactive persons and the reasons they do not seek employment, in order to better understand, first, the causes behind such a low occupational activity and, second, the possible remedial measures. In view of the urgent need for reintegrating persons outside the labour force with the labour market, it appears of utmost importance to identify the reasons for their situation. The fact that nearly 5.02 million working-age Poles remain economically inactive (accounting for nearly 22.0% of the whole working-age population) indicates how huge their potential may be. Special attention will be paid to groups of potential workers who have barely marked their presence on the labour market. One such group is formed by over 2.35 million individuals who are outside the labour market for reasons unrelated to health or retirement age.

Materials and methods: The analysis is based on the annual and quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS) data provided by Statistics Poland, and data originating from the Local Data Bank. To facilitate a wider discussion, the statistical data presented in the article cover a multi-annual perspective. This information is supplemented with research results obtained by other authors. Use is made of different methods of data analysis, including a descriptive analysis – to determine the underlying figures regarding the number of economically inactive persons; a dynamics analysis – to identify changes that occurred in 2006-2019 in the figures determined in the descriptive analysis; and a comparative analysis – to assess trends regarding economically inactive persons by comparing selected data with those that have been recently recorded in other EU countries.

Results: The scale of economic inactivity in 2016-2019 is assessed on the basis of statistical data presented in tables and figures regarding economically inactive persons by the most common reason for inactivity. The analytical part of this paper features thematic blocks/detailed analyses of the demographic situation, the level and breakdown of economically inactive persons, and changes in their numbers that have taken place in recent years.

Conclusions: The constantly declining working-age population, coupled with the low level of occupational activity in some age groups, should encourage decision-makers to design adequate labour market policies/programmes to support the occupational activity of Poles. Labour supply improvements should be sought mainly through the occupational activation of economically inactive persons and through extending the period of occupational activity.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: Today, each united territorial community (UTC) has tourist potential, but not all can recognise, evaluate and use it. This paper deals with presenting contemporary issues and identifying prospects for green tourism development in united territorial communities.

Materials and methods: This paper includes general scientific and special methods of research, in particular, analysis and synthesis, systematisation and generalization, and the dialectical approach. A dialectical method of cognition is used to specify the features of rural green tourism organisation in the EU Member States.

Results: The internal potential and opportunities for its involvement in the development of green tourism in the UTC were determined. The foreign experience is analysed and the perspectives of use of their practice in the development of green tourism are considered. The complex of tasks of the UTC to ensure the development of rural green tourism in the UTC of Ukraine is highlighted. It is established that green tourism can be an additional factor in filling the revenue part of the UTC’s budget and a factor in strengthening its capacity. A SWOT analysis of the development of green tourism in the UTCs of Ukraine was out. The main directions of development of green tourism were highlighted.

Conclusions: It was determined that green tourism could act as a catalyst for economic restructuring, provide demographic stability and solve the socio-economic problems arising nowadays during the formation and development of UTCs in Ukraine.

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: Human capital is one of the key drivers of rural economic development. The purpose of this paper was to study the main assets of human capital in rural areas and to evaluate this human capital; to identify development trends and devise the recommendations for increasing the impact of human capital in Ukraine’s rural areas on individual incomes and economic growth.

Materials and methods: The research focuses on evaluating the key assets of human capital in the rural areas of Ukraine – educations, health, qualifications, age and the integral evaluation of rural human capital. The data was gathered by random surveys of household living conditions conducted by the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine. Annual surveys cover 10,500 households.

Results: Results demonstrate that there were positive dynamics under the education component, while the health component was constantly in decline. The quantitative scoring of assets allowed preparing an integrated evaluation of human capital in rural areas of Ukraine and observing the dynamics of change in years. This indicator had declined before 2008. A decrease in the level of rural human capital in Ukraine started with the activation of large-scale agri-business in the late 1990s. Since 2009, human capital in rural areas has been increasing. The dynamics of human capital development in the rural areas of post- Euromaidan Ukraine demonstrate the specific nature of its capitalisation. Profit per human capital in rural areas depends not on its rate but on the human capital (holder) employment profile.

Conclusions: Received evaluations could be used for separation of priority state policy actions for balanced development, quantitative renovation and accumulation of human capital in rural areas.