Topics to be addressed when this year’s Nordic Council Session opens on 1 November include the Nordic Region's role in UN global sustainable development goals, as well as integration and security and defence issues. The Session will be attended by a number of ministers, including the Nordic prime ministers and various foreign ministers.
The closing conference of the NordBio programme "Minding the future - Bioeconomy in a changing Nordic reality" was held in Reykjavík on 5-6 October. Major results from the Nordbio programme include numerous new products, innovations, and entrepreneurs entering the field of bioeconomy. Equally important, strategic progress has been made that will enable the Nordic collaboration to make a greater impact on European and global policy, improve our position in the competition for European research funding, and help us gain ground in global markets.
The Nordic prime ministers are seeking to boost co-operation both within the region and internationally. The Nordic prime ministers met the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten, and the President of the Nordic Council Henrik Dam Kristensen during an informal meeting in Åland on Wednesday.
If the EU fails to bring in a ban on the use of endocrine-disrupting phthalates by the end of 2017, the Nordic region should introduce one of its own. This is just one of the tangible recommendations made by the Nordic Council to governments in the region in order to promote a toxic-free everyday environment.
The Nordic countries are aiming to secure a clearer joint position in an international context. As the EU focuses on developing structures for its co-operation in the wake of the Brexit vote, efforts to strengthen Nordic co-operation in the rest of the world are also underway. The conditions for additional joint Nordic international initiatives, such as deeper co-operation with the G20, were discussed in conjunction with the Nordic Council’s autumn meeting in Stockholm.
What can the Nordic countries do to improve security in the Baltic Sea region? Would security be better if all the Nordic countries were members of NATO? These are just two of the questions that will feature at a defence and security conference hosted by the Nordic Council in Helsingør on 10 October.
Socially-engaged young people from across the Nordic Region will come together in Helsinki from 26 to 28 September to take part in a conference titled ‘Bridges’. Over these three days, these young people will set the agenda for key future issues including participation and support, creativity, and health.
Journalists can now apply for accreditation for the 68th Session of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen from 1 to 3 November 2016. The annual Session is attended by politicians, prime ministers, opposition leaders, and government ministers from across the Nordic Region and is the biggest Nordic political forum.
In this issue of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” you can read about the most central results and lessons learned from the Nordic Prime Ministers’ Green Growth initiative. The results show that Nordic partnerships not only create a larger market for green solutions. They also allow the Nordic Region to lead the way politically in the EU/EEA, to improve joint infrastructures, and to provide a critical mass for future developments.
The application process for a new public co-operation programme between the Nordic Region and Russia will open on 3 October. The programme forms part of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ latest efforts with regard to co-operation with Russia, as adopted by the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation at the start of the year. On Tuesday, a budget of DKK 6 million for 2016 was set aside for a co-operation programme which aims to increase stability, security, and development in the region.
“We take exception to the way in which the press and journalists are currently being treated in Turkey. We support free and independent press, which is necessary for an open and modern democracy,” says Jorodd Asphjell, Chairman of the Committee for Knowledge and Culture in the Nordic Region, from Trondheim where the committee has just held its summer meeting.
The Nordic Region’s relationship with the EU was a key topic of discussion at a meeting of the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation in Copenhagen on 1 July. Much of the Nordic countries’ legislation is affected by EU legislation. From early 2016, increasing focus has been placed on how EU legislation is implemented in the Nordic countries.
Commenting on the outcome of the UK referendum, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten says that well-integrated and effective Nordic co-operation will be even more meaningful in this new situation. The majority of the British electorate voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on Thursday – a decision that will have consequences for Nordic co-operation.
The Nordic governments should make adult education and further training mandatory for all employees in the Nordic Region and co-operate with labour-market partners to put training programmes into place. This is a proposal by former Danish minister and EU Commissioner Poul Nielson as part of a strategic review of the Nordic labour market.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is hosting a major international conference in Georgia, June 8-10, focusing amongst other things on improving air quality for a better environment and human health. The Nordic Ministers for the Environment have issued a statement of support for the work ahead and for the Batumi Action for Cleaner Air.
In this issue of “Green Growth the Nordic Way”, you can read about the new edition of the Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives done by Nordic Energy Research in cooperation with the International Energy Agency. It outlines paths towards a carbon free Nordic economy by 2050, a realistic goal according to the IEA. In another analytic endeavor, former Nokia executive director Jorma Ollila has been commissioned with exploring parts of this task. In 2017 he will publish a report analyzing the Nordic energy cooperation, already the most integrated in the world, but no doubt with room for improvement.
The Nordic Committee for Children and Young People has just published the book “Do rights! Nordic perspectives on child and youth participation.” What can be achieved when children’s rights are taken seriously? The question was discussed by a panel when contributors to the book on children’s rights and influence gathered for the launch.