Photo credits: H. Kailasto

My CBC Story – Hanna Kailasto

Hanna Kailasto
Director of Strategy, Media and Communications Unit
Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Southeast Finland


End of 2021 marked the mid-term milestone of the South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020 Programme implementation, and we can take a first proper look on the big picture in terms of achievements. By the end of the year, 13 out of 71 funded projects have reached the end of their implementation phase. Some of these projects have already submitted the final report, and some are summing up the results and organising the final audits. In general, and looking from the Programme’s administration perspective, the closing actions and proceedings are carried out efficiently and fluently.

The Joint Monitoring Committee had its 13th meeting in December 2021, and as part of the first overview on the Managing Authority’s annual report, it received information on the realization of the Programme’s thematic indicators. Here are some key figures, and results so far:

  • 963 enterprises have taken part in cross-border business events.
  • 402 business organisations have been supported for new opportunities and/or modernization actions.
  • 3473 persons under 24 years and over 45 years have participated in educational events.
  • 146 enterprises have benefited of the Programme’s support to enhance cooperation with research institutions.
  • 32 water and waste management systems has been improved.
    (Source projects reports. November 2021)

These reached values would not be possible without the genuine cross-border cooperation, in many levels. Reflecting the mid-term results, the realization of the Programme’s overall expected final results seem realistic in many themes.


From expert to vantage point over cross-border cooperation

Hanna Kailasto has extensive work experience both in the public and private sectors, and where the strategic approaches are relevant. Last five years her responsibilities have been connected in supervising strategical management and communications unit in the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Southeast Finland (ELY-Centre). The experience and ability she can utilize in her current position has been built over the years as an expert in the Association of Finnish Technical Traders, Wholesale Business Service and the Road Administration of South-East Finland District. During 2012-2014, on-site on her official position in the ELY-Centre Kailasto worked as a specialist and development manager in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, where she was responsible for tasks related to the Northern Growth Zone and the development of a new transport policy in co-operation with the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the regions. 

Close involvement in the preparation of the AVIELY -strategy has built her expertise in strategical work and familiarized her with the activities of the ministries guiding the ELY-Centre. “I have been pleased to continue this work for the past year as chair of the Climate Group of Strategy Managers”, notes Hanna Kailasto, Director of Strategy, Media and Communications Unit from ELY-Centre, with great interest and broad experience on different operations having impacts on climate change. As of 2004, her work has also touched upon the cooperation between Russian Federation and Finland, and the versatile networks and memberships have provided her with excellent opportunities to take part. 

”Getting to know each other is very important basis for good cooperation. It opens up a whole new level of dialog and increases understanding. It is very important to get to know each other’s culture, because through it the effectiveness and efficiency of cooperation can be improved”, highlights Hanna Kailasto acting currently as the member of the CBC 2014-2020 Joint Monitoring Committee and 2021-2027 Programming Committee for the South-East Finland – Russia Programme.  


The ELY-Centre participates actively in cross-border cooperation

SEVIRA (Project website) and Cycling (Project website) projects are good examples of the Finnish-Russian cross-border cooperation, and ELY-Centre as a partner, has been able to support their implementation. In addition, the organisation having a vital role as the regional governmental official in environment, traffic planning and development operations, is partner in some Large Infrastructure Projects funded by the Programme. Cycling event across the Finnish-Russian border was a memorable experience of cross-border cooperation for the participants. The projects also make a great contribution to sustainable development and help to promote information of the climate change. These are objectives that should also be included in the projects of the next programming period. 

ELY-Centre, as an active organisation, considers the overall effectiveness of the Programme very high and highlights its promotion now and in the future by all means. Also, from the Finnish perspective, the long-term relations and cooperation with Russia are important and political challenges should be kept away from the crass root and local activities, which benefits to the wellbeing of people. “The means to increase the dialog and finding consistent tools, such as the initiative of the Advisory Group proposed for the future South-East Finland – Russia programme, are more than welcomed”, comments Hanna Kailasto and considers the stakeholders’ cooperation very important in bringing the projects’ results to life even after they have ended. Versatile and multi-channel communication is the key element and the personal contacts of key personnel with various parties are also very important. “Hopefully, the covid pandemic shall calm down and face-to-face meetings could take place again, so that issues related to the transition period between two programmes could be addressed properly”, wishes Hanna Kailasto, with the rest of us in the Programme administration. 


Pawing way towards 2021-2027 period by learning from the best practices

It is very important to analyze what has been learned from the collaboration, and to consider, what are the key new issues and how they can be addressed. While there exist many similarities in different programmes, benchmarking as a tool to find the best practices can be very beneficial. In this sense, it is good that the collaboration between the programmes is well recognized and implemented already in many ways. This gives a solid ground for the future. 

Hanna Kailasto wishes to send her regards and heartfelt thanks to both Finnish and Russian partners, and the European Commission representatives for their fruitful cooperation. “And also, many thanks to the representatives of the Managing Authority and its Branch Office for the excellent and long-lasting promotion of cross-border cooperation”

Editor: Sari Loisa