The Norwegian presidency programme for the Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS) focuses on the development of the Nordic bioeconomy and Nordic positions of strength with regard to antibiotic resistance. These priorities are based on a new strategy for the sector, which will support the contributions of the Nordic countries to the UN’s sustainable development goals up to 2030.
Photo: Vidar Alfarnes
Norway’s presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2017 addresses three main themes: The Nordic Region in Transition, the Nordic Region in Europe, and the Nordic Region in the World. Common to all three themes is the recognition that the Nordic Region is changing. As Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister for Nordic Co-operation Frank Bakke-Jensen wrote in their joint introduction to Norway’s presidency programme:
“The Nordic Region is changing – the climate is changing, demographics are changing, and there is a need for economic and environmental restructuring. The world is evolving more quickly, for better or worse, and times are more changeable and more dynamic than ever before.”
This is why Norway is seeking to promote Nordic competitiveness, the green transition, the transition to a low-emission society, integration, and co-operation on health. All of these are key areas for addressing the challenges faced by not only the Nordic Region, but the world as a whole.
MR-FJLS is making a significant contribution to the Norwegian presidency programme. This includes a number of projects relating to the blue and green bioeconomy and a special communications project relating to antibiotic resistance.
The projects get underway in 2017 and will run for the next three years. Norwegian Minister for Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale is in no doubt that Norway has a lot to offer in this field, not just within the region, but internationally:
“Norway is in a unique situation. The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from animals and in food is very low in comparison with other countries, and we’re at the bottom of the list of countries using antibiotics in the production of livestock. The other Nordic countries are also some of the best performers. This is a Nordic position of strength that we must capitalise on.”
The minister also sees great potential in developing the Nordic bioeconomy. The Norwegian government recently published a strategy for the Norwegian bioeconomy. Norway also plays an active role in the Nordic Bioeconomy Panel, which is drafting a Nordic bioeconomy strategy.
The Norwegian presidency programme for MR-FJLS is based on the sector’s new strategy “Co-operation Programme 2017-2020”. The strategy is based on two overall objectives for the sector: The development of the Nordic bioeconomy, and sustainable food sectors.
Below are the seven areas that the sector will prioritise up to 2020:
The strategy will support the Nordic countries’ contributions to the UN’s sustainable development goals up to 2030, while also promoting the continued development of Nordic fishing, aquaculture, agriculture, food, and forestry industries.
Jon Georg Dale was involved in the adoption of the Nordic strategy at a ministerial meeting in 2016 and is looking forward to implementing the strategy during Norway’s presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2017:
“Norway’s presidency programme is our recognition that the MR-FJLS strategy is not a mere rhetorical exercise, but a guide rope for Nordic co-operation. The co-operation programme paves the way for a more sustainable Nordic Region. We encourage other countries to continue the activities that Norway initiates in order to help fulfil this strategy.”
Norwegian Minister for Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale is the host for MR-FJLS’s ministerial meeting in 2017, which will be held in Ålesund on 27 and 28 June.