What’s happening in my country

Latvia

This page contains specific information about the planning and implementation of smart villages in Latvia. The information aims to orient people on policy planning, key contacts and resources on smart villages. However, it neither aims to be fully comprehensive, nor necessarily reflects the official government or European Commission position.

Explore how smart villages are being implemented in Latvia.

You can also visit the page of the Smart Rural 21 selected village: Alsunga

Key CAP contact(s) :

Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia
Key contact(s) :
Inese Pastare-Irbe (Deputy Director of the Rural Development Support Department)
Email : inese.pastare-irbe@zm.gov.lv
Website : http://www.zm.gov.lv

Support for Smart Villages under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

  • The preparation of the CAP Strategic Plan in Latvia is ongoing. The meetings of thematic groups, conferences and discussions in regions started from March 2019 to set out future priorities and confirm actions. Thematic working groups are taking place in the following areas: cooperation; organic farming; generation renewal; rural areas; investments; forestry; food quality and animal welfare; direct payments; eco-schemes and agri-environment.
  • During the current programming period (2014-2020), the LEADER approach is supported by 5% of the EAFRD. It is expected that this share will be increased in the next programming period (2021-2027). It is being discussed that in the future, the multi-funding approach will be continued involving EMFF.
  • Smart Villages has been discussed in the framework of the thematic group on the rural areas. There won’t be a specific policy targeting Smart Village development. This is likely that in the future the CLLD/LEADER approach implemented through LAGs will support Smart Villages.

Further information on CAP & smart villages :

FLAG Partnership for Rural and the Sea towards Smart Villages ( 28/06/2023 ) - Ieva Vitola-Deusa FLAG Partnership for Rural and the Sea (Latvia) (Language : English)

Key NRN contact(s) :

Latvian Rural Network
Key contact(s) :
Zanda Dimanta-Svilpe (Project Manager)
Email : zanda.dimanta@llkc.lv
Website : http://www.laukutikls.lv/

Activities of the National Rural Network (NRN) on smart villages

  • The Latvian Rural Network supports initiatives on rural youth and lively entrepreneurship that are considered to be key for successful rural development. For a more effective implementation of the Annual Work Plan, they work with 26 regional representatives throughout Latvia.
  • The NRN provides regular support to Alsunga smart village (from the year 2018) and Skaistkalne-Kurmene (from the year 2020) including knowledge, thematic activities, mentoring, consultations, researches etc. In 2021, it is planned to expand the Smart Village initiative by starting work with other villages in Latvia.
  • The NRN was involved in the Thematic Group of the ENRD.
  • The NRN is developing a Smart Village Network in Latvia by individual approach to develop and implement smart strategies, identifying and working with rural communities, organising workshops, thematic discussions and other activities. National discussions and seminars will also be held.

Key contact(s) :

Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Key contact(s) :
Jevgēnija Butņicka (Head of Regional Policy Planning Division)
Email : jevgenija.butnicka@varam.gov.lv
Krista Krūmiņa (Senior official, Department of Regional Policy Regional Policy Planning Division)
Email : krista.krumina@varam.gov.lv
Website : http://www.varam.gov.lv/eng

Support provided through other national/ regional policies & initiatives

  • The Regional Policy Guidelines 2021-2017, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers Decree No 587 on 26 November 2019, set out support measures for balanced and sustainable development of regions and municipalities of Latvia. These guidelines also provide solutions for supporting the development of smart territories and smart solutions, as well as smart local governments to improve the efficiency of services. Furthermore, the guidelines support increasing public participation through community planning and participatory budgeting.
  • There is no legal framework for planning at a community / village level. However, according to the statement in Regional Policy Guidelines 2021-2027, regarding the need for increasing public participation, the Guidelines for the Village Development Plan preparation are currently being developed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, which should help to define main tasks and stages of village/ community planning. These guidelines, as well as proposals for introducing participatory budgeting, have been discussed in  regional workshops on the participation of local communities in the promotion of territorial development in November – December 2019.
  • An administrative territorial reform has been taking place in Latvia. It was planned that after the reform there would be 42 administrative territories in Latvia instead of the current 119 administrative territories. After the reform, the importance of the development of smart territories / villages within larger administrative units is expected to increase further.

Key organisations & contacts

Key contact(s) :

Anita Selicka (Executive Director)
Email : anita.selicka@laukuforums.lv
  • The Latvian Rural Forum (LRF) was established in 2004. The LRF unites more than 79 Latvian rural non-governmental organisations (incl. 35 Local Action Groups).
  • Strategic objectives of LRF are to:
    – promote sustainable development of Latvian rural territories;
    – support professional the implementation and monitoring of the LEADER program, including work with Latvian LAGs that in the most cases initiate a basis for the development of Smart Villages;
    – strengthen civil society in rural territories, promoting local initiatives and cooperation.
Key activities :
  • Foster a sustainable development of Latvian rural (local) areas;
  • strengthen civil society in rural Latvia supporting implementation of local initiatives and collaborations;
  • represent interests of the population of rural Latvia at national and international level;
  • collaborate with the state and local government institutions, NGOs, enterprises and other institutions;
  • maintain Latvian Rural Communities Parliament movement;
  • broaden supply of life-long learning opportunities in rural regions;
  • promote research on sustainable development of territories;
  • LRF is organising wide range of events in rural areas for networking, sharing experiences related to Smart Villages development (e.g. weekly online LAG meetings, seasonal national LAG, Managing Authority, Paying Agency and other stakeholder 2-day seminars, community weeks, twice a month thematic workshops or seminars for different rural stakeholders etc.);
  • LRF works in European level and is member of ELARD, PREPARE and Forum Synergies.



Further key resources

Support for Smart Villages
Zane Seredina - Latvian Rural Forum ( 28/06/2023 )
A presentation during the the first LEADER Stakeholder Platform meeting was given the Latvian Rural Forum, detailing their activities and accomplishments..
Language : English

Smart Villages Taskforce Latvia
Zanda Dimanta-Svilpe ( 11/05/2023 )
At the 1st European Smart Villages Pilot Observatory meeting on May 11th Zanda Dimanta-Svilpe presented the taskforce activities in Latvia.    
Language : English

Latvian Taskforce Action Plan
( 10/02/2023 )
The Smart Village approach is a new and an undiscovered concept for the communities in Latvia. The Taskforce aims to bring together representatives of various sectors and interests from various regions, thus promoting a holistic view and understanding of the concept of smart villages to create a support system for the smart village approach that goes wider than CAP Strategic Plan 2023–2027 and building policy co-responsibility. A short study will be carried out to prioritise the needs of rural communities.
Language : English

AI (Artificial Intelligence) – Alsunga training presentation
Kristaps Vitolins ( 10/2021 )
A presentation on the topic of AI (Artificial Intelligence), which is part of a series of training sessions for young people, providing information on various smart solu-tions and the fundamentals of programming.
Language : Latvian

Internet of Things – Alsunga training presentation
Kristaps Vitolins ( 10/2021 )
A presentation on the topic of IoT (Internet of Things), which is part of a series of training sessions for young people, providing information on various smart solutions and the fundamentals of programming.
Language : Latvian

Alsunga activities in 2022
Latvian Rural Network ( 2022 )
A video produced about Alsunga activities in 2022.
Language : English, Latvian

Alsunga activities in 2021
Latvian Rural Network ( 2021 )
Find out what Alsunga and its residents have been up to in 2021 – a wide range of activities, from a joint training for the development of a smartphone app to the annual Youth Days in the summer.
Language : English, Latvian

Videos on Smart Villages in Latvia
TUESI.LV ( 2022 )
TUESI.LV (YOUARE.LV) – an online platform dedicated to telling inspirational stories of young Latvians through short videos – produced 20 videos on Smart Villages around Latvia during the summer of 2022.
Language : English

Programming a small ‘weather station’ with youth
Daiga Kalniņa ( 18/10/2022 )
A short video on Smart Rural 21 selected village Alsunga’s (Latvia) experience with youth engagement. The video was screened in the workshop “How to keep young people busy, engaged and interested smartly?” at the Smart Rural 21 project’s Final Conference of 17-18 October 2022 in Sopot, Poland.  
Language : English

Alsunga’s Smart Village journey
Daiga Kalniņa ( 17/10/2022 )
A presentation on Alsunga’s smart journey, including how the village got engaged with the ‘Smart Village’ concept, and the ‘smart’ actions carried out and plans for the future. The presentation was given at the Smart Rural 21 project’s Final Conference of 17-18 October 2022 in Sopot, Poland.
Language : English

Recognition Label ‘Smart Village’
Latvian Rural Forum ( 2021 )
The Recognition Label is part of a LEADER project and is intended to identify and support good practice of ‘smart’, capitalising on the efforts of citizens and the solutions already in place to build a more active and inclusive community, innovative solutions to existing challenges. The activity is implemented within the project ‘Smart Villages LEADER Network’ (No. 19-00-A019.333-000005), funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, within the sub-measure ‘Interterritorial and Transnational Cooperation’ of the Latvian Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
Language : Latvian

Alsunga – a European-level Smart Village
( 25/10/2022 )
A comprehensive newspaper article about Alsunga, the Latvian Smart Rural 21 selected village, and its participation in the project’s final conference, 17-18 October 2022 in Sopot (Poland), together with other Latvian communities was published in the Kurzemnieks regional newspaper.
Language : Latvian

Smart Villages: Revitalising Rural Services
( 09/07/2018 )
A video with Latvian subtitles produced by the ENRD Contact Point summarising what a ‘smart village’ represents from different perspectives.
Language : English, Latvian

Smart Villages LEADER Network and KOPA (Kopienu Pārdomāta Attīstība – Smart Development of Communities)
Katrina Idu - Latvian Rural Forum , LAG Zied Zeme , LAG Pierīgas partnerība , LAG Jūras zeme ( 10/06/2019 – 31/12/2021 )
LEADER CLLD transnational co-operation projects, where Latvian Rural Forum in close cooperation with LAGs will implement informative campaign, develop criteria for Smart Villages in Latvia and other informative activities, as well as work in 24 rural villages to develop and implement smart strategies, identifying and working with community leaders, organising creative workshops and other activities.
Language : Latvian

Ensuring quality education through digitalization
Kristaps Vitolins - Municipality of Alsunga ( 23/02/2021 )
A presentation provided at the 2nd Smart Village Academy of the Smart Rural 21 project during the “Promoting your village to attract tourists/ visitors, newcomers, businesses, investment…” working group. Alsunga is working with young people on an augmented reality digital education project.  
Language : English

Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Alsunga (Latvia)
Municipality of Alsunga ( 12/2020 )
The Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Alsunga has been developed in the context of the ‘Preparatory Action for Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century’ project funded by the European Commission.
Language : English

Smart Village Strategy of Alsunga (Latvia)
Municipality of Alsunga ( 12/2020 )
The Smart Village Strategy of Alsunga has been developed in the context of the ‘Preparatory Action for Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century’ project funded by the European Commission.
Language : English

Map of active communities in Latvia
Latvian Rural Forum
A map collecting active communities in each village. It is the biggest active village database in Latvia that allows to identify the activity and thematic focus of civic activities in different regions.
Language : Latvian

Promotional film about Alsunga Smart Village
Latvian Rural Network ( 2020 )
During 2020 the NRN has been working to create video about Alsunga smart village with an aim to attract tourists (related to the goal of the thematic work of this Smart Village) and to show how smart Alsunga is.
Language : English, Latvian

Smart Villages subpage
Latvian Rural Network ( 2018 )
The NRN has a dedicated webpage for Smart Villages where news are regularly shared.
Language : Latvian

Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030
( 2010 – 2030 )
Language : English

Project Coast4us
( 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2020 )
This is an Interreg Central Baltic Programme 2014–2020 project that aims to develop an innovative, comprehensive and local needs-based planning approach to the development of marine and coastal areas in Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Estonia. The Latvian partner – Riga Technical University has created a system of indicators, including those applied by the Geographic Information System and Information Technology (GIS) for the evaluation of the territorial development and sustainability (methodology) that will help identifying and developing new methods of planning approaches to the development of Smart Villages in marine and coastal areas of Latvia. All players – villagers, municipalities, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and the University – are involved in the process.
Language : Latvian

Regional Policy Guidelines 2021-2027
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development ( 26/11/2019 )
These guidelines set out support measures for balanced and sustainable development of regions and municipalities of Latvia. They also provide solutions for supporting the development of smart territories and smart solutions, as well as smart local governments to improve the efficiency of services. Moreover, they support increasing public participation through community planning and participatory budgeting.
Language : Latvian

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