Are the public and private sectors joining hands to respond to local extinction, and are diversity and creativity everything?

Promotion of public-private cooperation regional win-win agreement project
Expanding participation from local governments to the private sector
9 cases selected, each supported with 50 billion won, full-scale operation in July

A project to overcome the crisis of local population extinction, led by the private sector and supported by the public, is scheduled to begin operation within the year. The government expected that this project would lead to the revitalization of the local economy by discovering self-sustaining local businesses and encouraging regular visits by the population.

Focus on regional coexistence, job creation, and inter-regional connection

On the 17th, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced that it would promote a public-private cooperation regional win-win agreement project as a response to the crisis of regional extinction. The explanation is that the regional development investment agreement system, which has been in effect since 2019, will be utilized more flexibly to implement various projects desired by the region, such as regional coexistence, job creation, and inter-regional connection.

The existing regional development investment agreement system was implemented in the form of local governments across the country planning projects for balanced development and receiving administrative and financial support from central ministries in accordance with the Special Act on Local Autonomy Decentralization and Balanced Regional Development. However, it has been pointed out that the subject of business planning is limited to local governments and lacks creativity. This project is characterized by maximizing diversity and creativity by expanding the scope of participating entities to the private sector.

Specifically, we will build a population influx model that combines the expertise of the private sector, such as transforming unique resources, empty buildings, and abandoned facilities in the region into hobby and experience spaces. The expectation is that through this, we will be able to discover and foster excellent venture companies and strengthen local industries. In addition, we will actively support employment and start-ups by linking universities and companies in the region, and accelerate the attraction of companies with technological capabilities and management know-how. In addition, we will also review support for customized complex packages by type by activating linked projects that combine diversity among local governments.

At least one project is expected to be selected for each non-metropolitan local government. There are a total of 1 candidate sites, with Jeonnam (85 cities and counties), Gyeongbuk (16 cities and counties), and Gangwon (16 cities and counties) accounting for a relatively high proportion, and among metropolitan cities, Busan and Daegu are two. included. The government plans to select the final nine projects among these candidate sites and provide support of 12 billion won each. The financial resource sharing ratio between the central and local governments is 2:9.

On the 17th, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport held an information session for metropolitan local governments at the Sejong Government Complex, announced the above, and collected opinions from each region. In accordance with the contest guidelines that will be finalized and distributed within this month, applications from basic local governments will be accepted starting in April, and will undergo a final review by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport after screening by metropolitan local governments. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced that it plans to complete the selection of target local governments by July and begin full-scale projects.

Special financial and administrative support, including local extinction response fund

The government’s support to overcome crises such as population decline in local areas is based on the Special Act on Balanced National Development and the Special Act on Support for Areas with Declining Population. These laws were enacted with the purpose of responding to local extinction by designating areas with population decline every five years and supporting various financial and administrative special provisions, including local extinction response funds. In 5, 2022 billion won in local extinction response funds were provided to 89 areas with population declines, and 5,343 billion won was provided to 18 areas of interest. In 281, the scale of support was expanded to 2023 billion won for areas with population decline and 7,125 billion won for areas of interest. Funds delivered to local governments are used to create local jobs, attract young people, and improve living infrastructure.

Gyeongsangbuk-do and Yesan-gun, South Chungcheong Province are considered the local governments that most effectively responded to population decline and disappearance of local regions last year. These local governments, which received the grand prize at the best practice discovery competition hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, were recognized for their capabilities by leading population influx and job creation through projects that take advantage of local characteristics. In particular, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province attracted approximately 32 trillion won in corporate investment and created local jobs for about 1 people through the ‘K-U City Project’, which combines education and jobs through win-win cooperation between local governments, universities, and companies to ensure the stable settlement of the youth population in the region. achieved remarkable results.


Emergence of need for policies for ‘real small cities’

Experts noted that government support and special provisions to prevent local extinction were concentrated on mid-sized cities. It is pointed out that just as vulnerable groups are exposed to greater risks in an economic crisis, small cities are bound to be relatively more vulnerable in the midst of a population cliff crisis. There is a need to prepare a self-sustaining response strategy at the local government level, but even this is not easy in the reality of small cities with limited local assets and human resources.

Taking Gyeongsangbuk-do, which was selected as an excellent example of local extinction response last year, as an example, 14 cities and counties, excluding Pohang, Gumi, Gyeongju, and Gyeongsan, have a population size of less than 10 people. There are a total of 1 towns, villages, and dongs with less than 225 people, and approximately 90% of all towns, towns, and villages in Gyeongsangbuk-do are in a situation where it is difficult to maintain a sustainable population. In most of these towns, villages, and districts, there are restrictions on the supply of living services, and even the provision of public services is being reduced due to a lack of local government resources.

The minimum sustainable population for the administrative district was suggested to be 2. Kim Jun-woo, a professor at Daegu University (architectural engineering), explained, “It is possible to provide most living services, including private services, only when there is a population of at least 2, and it is also possible to operate a secondary hospital based on public support,” adding, “Local extinction is possible.” “In order to protect vulnerable small cities, we must strengthen local sustainability and competitiveness through networks between administrative districts, such as building administrative districts capable of self-sustaining more than 2 people and fostering specialized villages with historical and cultural assets,” he said.

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