Zemgale Planning region, also known as ZPR, since year 2006 is working under the supervision of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry of Republic of Latvia as regional public authority, public equivalent body with main function to carry out regional development planning and development, coordination in regional level different fields like transport, education, social services, environment protection, and entrepreneurship support.
The decision-making authority of Planning Region is Zemgale Planning Region Development Council consisting of 22 municipalities. Executive body of the institution is Zemgale Planning Region's Administration.
Zemgale Planning region has developed and implemented projects funded by the EU and other sources and has extensive experience in the project management. Over the past five years, it has acted as a lead partner and as a cooperation partner in more than 40 projects. The implementation of these projects has attracted amount nearly 10 million EUR in the region.
ZPR cooperates with numerous partners from institutions all around EU as well as with four other Planning regions in Latvia. Thus, ZPR has accumulated experience of coordinating many partners cross border, administration has established a knowhow and practical experience of managing large scale projects with an infrastructure component thus being able to also provide consultations to partner organizations on public procurement, financial and reporting issues.
ZPRs main function is to elaborate and implement regional development plans to ensure sustainable growth of the territory. Therefore, implementation of projects sufficiently contribute in reaching objectives of regional development plans, which are created in collaboration with local municipalities and stakeholders. ZPR also fulfills informative and coordinating role of all 22 region municipalities, which is implemented through regional thematic coordination groups such as in education, entrepreneurship, tourism, energy and others.
As mentioned ZPR has extensive experience in project management as lead partner as well as project cooperation partner. Most important ongoing or recently implemented projects are:
- European Structural fund:
- "Open Your Heart in Zemgale" - lead partner; involves 26 partners (municipalities, state institutions, NGO`s); main aim is to develop community-based services; total budget 6 778 348 EUR
- INTERREG Latvia - Lithuania:
- “Creating of business support system and the availability In Zemgale, Kurzeme and Northern Lithuania” - lead partner; seven partners; total budget 729 604.06 EUR
- “International cultural route “Balts’ road”” - six partners; total budget 763 402.38 EUR
- “Four seasons exciting journey in manor parks” - five partners; total budget 629 246.79 EUR
- “Improvement of efficiency and availability of local public security services in cross border regions of Latvia and Lithuania” - total budget 543 262.45 EUR
- “Improvement of Quality and Accessibility of Social Services in Mid-Baltic Region” - lead partner; eight partners; total budget 791 256.20 EUR
- “Enhancement of Green Infrastructure in the Landscape of Lowland Rivers” - lead partner, eight partners; total budget 583 300.34 EUR
- INTERREG Europe:
- “Regional policies for innovation driven competitiveness and growth of rural SMEs” - nine partners; total budget 1 574 322 EUR
- “Green public procurement for resource-efficient regional growth” - nine partners; total budget 1 704 322 EUR
- “Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneurial Mindset in Young People through the Dynamisation of Competences, Teaching Methodologies and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” - ten partners; total budget 2 044 484 EUR
- “Protecting European Biodiversity from Invasive Alien Species” - seven partners; total budget 1 384 618 EUR
- “Electro MObility as driver to support POLicy Instruments for sustainable mobility” - nine partners; total budget 1 792 053 EUR
- INTERREG Baltic Sea Region:
- “Sohjoa - Baltic Sea Region transitioning into eco-friendly autonomous last mile public transportation” - 12 partners; total budget 3 768 388.64 EUR
Zemgale is located in the central part of Latvia, to the South from Riga. Region is located along the border of Lithuania and is also bordered by the Latgale, Vidzeme, Kurzeme and Riga planning regions. It is located in the central part of the Zemgale plain.
The Zemgale area includes 10 742 sq km, which is 16.6% of the total territory of Latvia. The cities occupy 645 sq km, or 6% of the total territory of the Zemgale region. The high soil fertility and relatively unpolluted agricultural and natural areas are significant advantages of Zemgale, which defines the potential for agricultural development and specialisation. Forests cover about 40% of the territory in Zemgale. Taking into consideration the existing forest resources it is a great possibility to develop woodworking successfully. There are considerable peat, clay, dolomite, rock gypsum, limestone, gravel and sand extraction places in Zemgale, in total of 156 mineral extraction places within the territory. Zemgale is crossed by two major Latvian rivers - Daugava and Lielupe. The stocks of the water resources are sufficient both for economic activities and human consumption. Ground water is mainly used for water supply.
Zemgale is crossed by five national importance roads and important international transport corridors and their intersection, the main highway and railway lines, long-distance natural gas and petroleum pipelines and fiber optic cables.
Special Values of Zemgale:
- There are located two cities of national importance in the region - Jelgava and Jekabpils, which have been developing as education, health, culture, sports and science centers and is the region's development and Latvian impellent;
- The second highest density of the population is in Zemgale, as well as the lowest demographic load among the regions of Latvia;
- There is the third largest university in Latvia - Latvia Agricultural University, 12 other universities branches, one college, one branch Office College and eight vocational training institutions which provide wide opportunities for development of human resources in the region;
- Zemgale has intellectual and scientific potential, especially in agriculture and forestry sectors, which promote high-quality professional training and research development;
- Zemgale has long industrial production and handicraft traditions, advanced processing and manufacturing industry - wood, metal industry, chemical industry, mining, textile industry, which employs 18% of all workers in the region;
- A business supportive infrastructure has been developed in the region - business incubators and business parks, industrial and logistics parks, research institutes and technology transfer centers.
A long-term development vision provides that Zemgale should be a region with a favourable living environment, a region with the developed knowledge-intensive economy, production units and services with high added value, and a region with a cultural environment and landscape typical of Zemgale, where the balance between the individual and environment is maintained.