The Nordic Environment and Climate Ministers met on April 27, 2016, where they confirmed their commitment to a strong implementation of the Paris Agreement and launched a series of new initiatives to support the follow-up to COP21. The ministers also issued a statement advocating Nordic support for a solid global environmental governance through UNEA-2 and UNEP.
At their meeting in Oslo on 19 April, the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation stated the following: “The global refugee crisis has limited freedom of movement in the Nordic Region. This has a major economic and social impact and is something which the Nordic countries must work together to limit.” At the same time, the ministers agreed a substantial increase in their investment to help facilitate the integration of refugees and migrants in the Nordic Region.
The debate on 19 April in the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, offers a unique opportunity for lawmakers in the Nordic Region to listen to each other’s views on border controls, on what’s needed if we are to regain full freedom of movement in the region, and on the damage that border controls have caused so far. The Danish Conservative People’s Party will propose a dialogue with Swedish politicians regarding bidirectional border controls between Sweden and Denmark.
In 2015 the Nordic Council of Ministers initiated a funding programme focusing on Russian-language media outlets in the Baltic countries. The programme proved to be successful, and at its meeting on 12 April, the Nordic Committee for Co-operation granted a further DKK 2.2 million for the programme in 2016.
One week after the tragic events in Brussels, representatives of Nordic cities have gathered in Malmö in an effort to prevent similar atrocities from happening in the Nordic Region. Nordic Safe Cities – a network of Nordic cities – is a direct response from the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation to the terrorism that has afflicted Europe in recent years.
Are we heading towards a Nordic Region where we’re closing each other out and distancing ourselves from the outside world? The Nordic Council will meet for a Session at the Norwegian parliament building, the Storting, in Oslo on 19 April to discuss the impact of border controls on Nordic co-operation.
When the Nordic ministers for gender equality travel to New York on Monday to take part in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), they will be accompanied by five experts in sexism and hate speech online. “Women’s liberation will never be a reality unless we guarantee the right to express yourself without fear of harassment,” says Emma Holten, feminist och activist.
There has been increasing interest in the future of the Nordic model during numerous international events over the last years. The Nordic Council of Ministers presented the latest thinking on the topic at a high-level event in Washington D.C. at Johns Hopkins University on February 18. The issue of the Nordics as role models in current political discussions in the USA was addressed at the event also.
Cities, migrants and tourism – Future growth engines for the Nordic countries. On 16 February, Nordregio and the Nordic Council of Ministers have invited a special guest, Alasdair Ross, The Economist, to give new insights on the strengths and weaknesses of the Nordic regions in relation to the rest of Europe and beyond. Mr Ross is editor of global trends and events section in The Economist special edition The World in 2016.
Tighter border controls between Denmark and Sweden have now been imposed. For the first time since 1954, Nordic citizens crossing the Öresund strait must present ID. “This will inevitably result in a setback to the co-operation that's promoting growth and development in the Öresund region,” says Henrik Dam Kristensen, President of the Nordic Council.
On 9 December, the International Energy Agency and Nordic Energy Research present the Nordic countries’ remarkable achievements in decarbonising their energy systems and decoupling emissions from economic growth. A key message from the Nordic Council of Ministers at COP21 is that low-carbon growth is possible and that the Nordic countries have been pioneers on green development.
The Nordic Ministers for Employment and Labour has presented the EU Commission with a joint declaration stating that it is of vital importance to change the rules governing unemployment benefits so that the differences in the levels of wages and living conditions across EU/EEA countries are reflected. - The EU-regulation needs to be perceived as fair and just by the population in our countries, and not as undermining the Nordic welfare systems, says Jørn Neergaard Larsen, Minister for Employment in Denmark.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg sent off the Nordic COP21 pavilion to a flying start by announcing a 500 million USD partnership with the World Bank to boost climate action in developing countries. The next two weeks will bring a total of more than 50 events and numerous other activities at the pavilion under the heading “New Nordic Climate Solutions”.
COP21 in Paris will be a defining moment for the development of life and human activity on our planet. The Nordic Council of Ministers hosts a common Nordic pavilion at the COP negotiation venue under the heading “New Nordic Climate Solutions”. The aim is to contribute to the climate dialogue – from a Nordic perspective, but with a global outlook. This issue of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” zooms in on the Nordic participation at COP21.