Sustainable development in rural areas is currently a major political focal point. Public – private partnerships for rural development have been established, with the aim of utilizing local nature resources and qualities for commercial purposes, in an eco logically sustainable manner. The main purpose of this project is to investigate conditions for partnerships to plan and implement sustainable development in terms of a balance between nature protection and rural development in mountain regions.Our main assumption is that the system capacity of partnerships for sustainable development will depend both on the actor constellation and the institutional setting of the cooperative process. Thus, our theoretical point of departure is an actor-centred institut ionalism. The focus is how different private – public partnership established and manage to achieve sustainable and rural development in mountain areas. The success of these initiatives - or their problem solving capacity- will be measured in their abilit y to effectively develop legitimised strategies, and achieve legitimised economical and ecologically sustainable development. The input is the different partnerships and their problem solving capacity. Their achieved results are divided between policy out put and policy outcome. Policy output is development of strategies and plans, and decisions on allocation of resources for these purposes. Policy outcome is about actual results. The reseach proposal includes a formalised cooperation with Umeå Univerist y, a core institution in the Swedish "Mountain MISTRA research programme". The aim for this cooperation is to compare different kinds of management and their problem solving capacity in mountain regions in Norway and Sweden - both partnerships and the pub lic management system.
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