This declaration underpins the vision that the Nordic-Baltic region will become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by developing and using advanced digital technologies and data in an ambitious, innovative, secure, and ethical manner to tackle large societal challenges, such as the green transition and pandemics. It will also promote excellent public welfare, regional mobility, sustainable growth, and the responsible use of digital technologies to strengthen the multilateral trust that exists between the countries in the region. The countries in the region will cooperate on agreed European standards, infra-structure, data-sharing and interoperability, as well as connectivity in alignment with relevant European Union initiatives and legislation. In doing so, the Nordic-Baltic countries will lead the way on digital transformation globally, showing that new digital technologies and data can be used and shared in a fair, open, and democratic way. We, the ministers in charge of digital development from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, the Åland Islands, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, support the following policy goals to address concrete societal issues and make the region the most digitally integrated in the world for the wellbeing of people in our countries: 1. Increasing mobility and integration in the Nordic and Baltic region by building a common area for cross-border digital services, 2. Promoting green economic growth and sustainable development in the NordicBaltic region through data-driven innovation and a fair data economy for efficient sharing and re-use of data, 3. Promoting Nordic-Baltic leadership in the EU/EEA and globally in a sustainable and inclusive digital transformation of our societies.
1. Increasing mobility and integration in the Nordic-Baltic region by building a common area for cross-border digital services
That an effective public sector offering user-centric digital services for citizens and businesses operating across Nordic-Baltic borders is essential to becoming the most integrated region in the world.
- Continue to cooperate closely in order to improve cross-border digital service infrastructures or integrate the relevant national infrastructures, with the aim to support the free movement of people, goods, services, capital, and data in our region.
- Remove technical and legal barriers to digital integration and, where necessary, develop alternative approaches within the framework of relevant EU legislation and policies.
- Facilitate cooperation between national infrastructures for cross-border use of electronic authentication (eID) in accordance with the eIDAS Regulation.
- Promote the secure exchange, re-use, and free movement of data to support digital innovation in the provision of cross-border digital services, ensuring high levels of information security, personal data protection, and compliance with relevant European data regulation.
2. Promoting green economic growth and sustainable development in the Nordic-Baltic region through data-driven innovation and a fair data economy for efficient sharing and re-use of data
That although data consumption and processing increase energy demands, high quality data and advanced digital technologies are important drivers for the green transition and provision of public services, and that sustainable digital innovation gives the Nordic-Baltic region a strong economic competitive edge.
- Promote carbon neutrality and the green transition of society and the economy through better use of data and new technologies.
- Explore methods and standards to better assess, present, and reduce the carbon footprint of digital services in society.
- Encourage the development of new testing facilities on 5G and monitor the development of 5G application.
- Strengthen access to public data, for instance to enable the use of AI and the development of language technologies, to provide better services for citizens and businesses in the Nordic-Baltic countries and promote digital innovation and trade in the region.
- Promote good procurement practices and partnerships, including wider use of electronic and innovative procurement, to provide innovative solutions which can improve the quality and capacity of public services and promote cross-border cooperation.
3. Promoting Nordic-Baltic leadership in the EU/EEA and globally in a sustainable and inclusive digital transformation of our societies
That the Nordic-Baltic countries should ensure that new digital technologies are used in a socially inclusive, human-centric, and ethical manner, while promoting Nordic-Baltic innovation as a strong brand, both in Europe and globally.
- Promote ethical and transparent guidelines, standards, and principles for AI and new digital technologies, including blockchain, to support the responsible devel opment, adoption, and use of these.
- Contribute to international standards for infrastructure, hardware, programs, and data to safeguard interoperability, integrity, security, trust, usability, and mobility within AI.
- Collaborate on 5G policy coordination, regulation, and innovative application.
- Promote digital inclusion, empowerment, and equality in our societies by tackling gender gaps, skills gaps, ability gaps, age bias, and biased data, and by building digital trust through high awareness of cybersecurity and information security in our societies.
- Contribute to the work on regulating the platform economy within the European framework to ensure responsible and trustworthy content and ease of business.
- Encourage natural-language user and speech interfaces to support education and culture as positive platforms to preserve and enhance social co-hesion and knowledge of the uniqueness of the Nordic-Baltic region.
- Strengthen our region’s voice within the EU/EEA area.
Delivering on the Declaration
To achieve the goals and objectives in this declaration and contribute to Vision 2030, the Nordic-Baltic ministers in charge of digital development, MR-DIGITAL, ask the Secretary General for the Nordic Council of Ministers to develop a cross-sectoral roadmap with targeted actions and a concept for monitoring and reviewing the progress and achievements. To ensure long-term and sustainable results with high value for citizens, businesses, and public administrations, the work towards fulfilling the goals of this declaration should include agile approaches and involve close dialogue with public authorities, governments, and other public and private stakeholders across the region.
October 8, 2020