We, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS), meeting in Trondheim on 28 July 2012, note that the primary industries and the processing industries play a key role in green growth.
The goal is greater sustainability and competitive production in the sectors covered by MR-FJLS – food, feedstuff, building and construction, bioenergy and new innovative products from the land, sea and water. This will be the most important contribution these sectors make to growth and welfare. In order to achieve this, MR-FJLS will focus on initiatives that lead to greater green growth:
- More efficient, sustainable and ecosystem-based use of renewable, land-based, marine and aquatic natural resources, including greater concentration on growth processing and breeding to cope with climate change and enhance product quality
- More efficient use of left-over raw materials and waste and less wastage in the value chain and by consumers
- Growth, profitable companies and new businesses based on services and products from the primary industries such as carbon capture, recycling/recirculation of plant nutrient salts, welfare and recreational services, etc.
- Higher growth based on better food quality, healthy food and regional and local specialities, including the New Nordic Food project
- Food quality, healthy foods and diet from a nutritional, health and economic growth perspective
- Work to improve framework conditions, including public-sector regulations and measures, in order to promote higher levels of biological production in the Nordic Region on a sustainable basis
- Research, innovation, education and training initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers, including potentially the establishment of one or more test centres for green solutions in the sectors covered by MR-FJLS
- Closer co-operation between the Nordic Council of Ministers and other Nordic initiatives in the area, such as NordForsk, Nordic Innovation and regional co-operation, e.g. NORA
- Co-ordination with the European Commission's focus on bioeconomy
- Co-operation with neighbours in the east and west.
Sustainable development, food safety, a bio-based society and green growth are among the most pressing global challenges to which the Nordic countries have to relate. MR-FJLS feels that sustainable use of resources by the primary industries and food sector is required to support the Nordic Council of Ministers in its work on green growth.
The Nordic prime ministers presented the report "The Nordic Region – leading the way in green growth" in November 2011, and the high level UN Conference on Sustainable Development RIO+20 drew to an end in June 2012. The main themes in Rio were green economic growth, sustainable management of Earth's biological resources, safe drinking water and global food safety in a rapidly changing world.
The areas covered by MR-FJLS are key for green growth and will be given a higher priority in the future. Helped by its institutions and other Nordic bodies such as NordGen, Nordic Forest Research Co-operation Committee (SNS), AG Fisk and the Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ), MR-FJLS will contribute to the development of a more bio-based economy in the Nordic Region.
Global population growth and higher standards of living in many countries will lead to the need for higher production in keeping with the biological conditions and comparative advantages. Higher levels of production must, however, be sustainable in the long-term and be within the environment’s tolerance limits.
The Nordic countries have an abundant supply of natural resources in the sea, lakes and on land, which may provide the basis for future growth. Sustainable and forward-looking social development and a green economy are unthinkable without the production of food and other bio-based products from the sea, lakes, agriculture and wilderness areas.
The MR-FJLS sectors are closely integrated with each other and with a number of value chains in society. The challenges associated with climate trends, the need for a greater investment in global food safety, the need for more sustainable management of natural resources etc. transcend sectors, and MR-FJLS works actively with other sectors, especially in research and innovation, in order to achieve the goals that have been set.
A strategy for green growth must transcend sectors and adopt a global perspective. All of the value chains, including the processing industry for aquatic and land-based natural resources must be included.
A strategy for green growth must also encourage innovation in the primary industries and in industries that result in sustainable products, healthy and non-perishable food, less food waste and better use of resources.
In the food sector, emphasis must be placed on food quality, proper diets and sufficient access to food for a growing global population. In forestry, emphasis must be placed on the sustainable production of products that will replace less climate-friendly solutions and, in all the MR-FJLS sectors, considerable emphasis must be placed on the production of energy resources that will help reduce the use of fossil fuels.