Finland’s latest Minister for Nordic Co-operation is a new face on both the Finnish and Nordic political scenes. Anne Berner is, however, well known in Finnish business, and comes to Parliament and the government directly from her post as CEO of the family-run company Vallila Interior. Although not previously active in politics, she has played a role in civic society, e.g. fundraising for a new children’s hospital in Helsinki.
The Nordic Council of Ministers is launching a new initiative to put even greater energy into the fight against human trafficking. Designed to enhance both preventative and reactive measures, the initiative will involve better co-ordination of Nordic resources and closer partnerships with bodies outside the Region.
How can Baltic co-operation be strengthened? How should existing barriers to co-operation and mobility within the region be reduced? On 15 and 16 June, experts, politicians and officials from EU countries will gather for the European Union’s sixth annual conference on Baltic co-operation, EUSBSR. As one of the EU’s most active partners in the region, the Nordic Council of Ministers will be taking part in the conference.
On 1–2 June, the heads of state from the countries that made up the Former Republic of Yugoslavia attended Summit100 in Slovenia, to discuss business co-operation in South-east Europe. Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, was the keynote speaker at a debate involving the Balkan presidents. His speech about the importance of trust resonated with the panel.
In a world that appears increasingly troubling, the autonomy of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland is worth studying from the perspective of conflict resolution. A new report by the Nordic Council in collaboration with the Åland Island’s Peace Institute presents a comparative study of developments in the autonomous regions’ legal, economic, and security policies.
Just over 1 in 6 adults in the Region have weak literacy and numeracy skills, while 25% of adults aged between 16 and 65 have poor skills when it comes to problem solving using information technology, or have not performed tasks using a computer. Nevertheless, the Nordic countries are still among the best in terms of adults’ basic skills.
The best working example of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ objective to boost the internationalisation of higher education in the Nordic region, Nordic Master, took another step forwards on 19 May with the launch of its latest programme, Cold Climate Engineering, at DTU in Copenhagen. The launch was marked by a speech by the Danish Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Carsten Hansen.
The new issue of the web magazine "Green Growth the Nordic Way" from the Nordic Council of Ministers zooms in on the latest results from three major initiatives on the reuse of textiles, plastic recycling and food waste. The projects point towards a big potential in these areas for both environmental benefits and job growth in the Nordic region.
Just through the textiles they buy, every year, each Nordic citizen is responsible for carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to a drive from the far north of Norway to Denmark. The Nordic Ministers for the Environment are joining forces against pollution from the fashion and textile industry by way of a new action plan for textiles.
”Sustainability is when you save for the future generations.” It’s as simple as that if you ask the next generation, at least in the form of class 7C at the Krogårdskole school in Denmark. 7C has just won the first Great Nordic Climate Duel, a learning-based ‘duel’ about saving energy and learning about climate challenges. The competition is open to school students aged 12–14 from all over the Nordic Region and is part of the Nordic prime ministers' “The Nordic Region – leading in green growth” initiative to promote the Region’s green growth potential.
In this special edition of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” you can read interviews with a number of the pioneers who set out to create the new Nordic kitchen. You can also read the thoughts of a number of Nordic food activists on the future of New Nordic Food, as well as an outline of six workshops marking the closing of the yearlong programmes of the Nordic Council of Ministers on New Nordic Food.
The Nordic Council is calling for a more effective policy for preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals, especially of children, and for the EU to draw up criteria for identifying hormone-disrupting substances (known as endocrine disrupting compounds). The use of chemicals on the “Candidate list of substances of very high concern for authorisation” (under EU REACH legislation) must stop as soon as possible.
Trying to build networks between European countries subscribing to essential values as democracy is more important than ever, says Hans Wallmark, Swedish member of the Nordic Council Presidium. Wallmark met representatives from the Baltic Assembly, the Visegrád countries, as well as MPs from Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine in Vilnius on Friday to discuss achievements, challenges and future prospects of the EU’s Eastern Partnership.
“Much would be gained by a greater focus on men’s roles and responsibilities in promoting gender equality. When men and women work together, it speeds up progress towards sustainable and gender-equal societies,” the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality (MR-JÄM) announced at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.
New networks have been established and new projects have been launched. For two years the Nordic Council of Ministers has promoted the bioeconomy agenda in the Baltic Sea region as appointed Horisontal leader by the European Commission under the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. At a conference in Warsaw on March 4-5 a new three year plan for this effort was planned and discussed
A meeting of Ministers for Nordic Co-operation in Greenland today and decided to put all activities at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ information offices in Northwest Russia on hold indefinitely. In practice the decision affects the offices in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, as well as the contact centres in Murmansk, Petrozavodsk and Arkhangelsk.