The Nordic Region is our home, our world. The sea connects us, forests and lakes provide us with shelter and sustenance, fresh winds blow in over lush meadows, islands and skerries. We have mountains and fjords, glaciers and volcanoes, black sand and deep valleys. All over the Nordic Region, in towns and in the country, we seek to live in harmony with nature and create sustainable societies.
But we must do more. Climate change, pollution and threats to biodiversity call for our attention, our energy. The Nordic model also faces growing challenges as democracy, integration and inclusion come under pressure.
We in the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland – are determined to lead the way and find good solutions for the future. We listen to our young people and we agree with them that the time has come for concrete climate action.
The good news is that it is possible. We can change our lifestyles, production methods and patterns of consumption, balance out the use and protection of natural resources on land and at sea, and achieve sustainable development for the future. We can safeguard democracy, inclusion, integration and mobility. This sends a clear signal to the rest of the world that real and positive development is possible and that we are turning words into action.
The solutions exist – they are right in front of us. Sustainable energy production and climate neutrality, green transport and investments, the bioeconomy and the circular economy. There is no single solution, but many, and in many areas all at once. The green economy is based on innovation, creates jobs and ensures competitiveness.
In the Nordic Region, we have shown time after time that we are stronger together. Gender equality and welfare are preconditions that ensure work and dynamic economies. Culture and language underpin our values and the development of a joint Nordic identity. Education, innovation and research are the foundation for the future. Mobility and integration ensure that we can study, travel, work and start businesses in each others’ countries. Our peaceful, democratic and inclusive societies, where everybody participates and has rights and responsibilities, are strong societies that can cope with even the biggest of challenges.
The time has come to use the Nordic Region's strengths in the interests of the climate and society, and to make that our highest priority. Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement show the way, but we need to work even more ambitiously and faster. By generating and sharing knowledge, we find new and innovative Nordic solutions. We achieve results by engaging people, organisations and companies – ourselves.
Our vision is that the Nordic Region will become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The co-operation in the Nordic Council of Ministers must serve this purpose.
We start today.
To achieve our vision, we will prioritise:
- A green Nordic Region – together, we will promote a green transition of our societies and work towards carbon neutrality and a sustainable circular and bio-based economy.
- A competitive Nordic Region – together, we will promote green growth in the Nordic Region based on knowledge, innovation, mobility and digital integration.
- A socially sustainable Nordic Region – together, we will promote an inclusive, equal and interconnected region with shared values and strengthened cultural exchange and welfare.
We will work on these three strategic priorities in the period up to 2024.
Work done within the frameworks of the Nordic Council of Ministers must contribute to these priorities and to achieving the vision and its objectives. All of the ministerial councils and Nordic institutions must make a concrete contribution and ensure that together we achieve the vision.
A clear vision and strategic priorities for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ work for the years to come will also entail clearer and simpler management. To make a long-term difference and be consistent, the strategic priorities need to be set for four years and guide the Nordic Council of Ministers’ budget and activities. In this way, a significant proportion of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ budget will directly support the implementation of the vision and the strategic priorities. At the same time, there is a need to retain flexibility in order to respond to sudden political challenges.
Clear goals for our work are important and just as important is following up on the results. To succeed, it is necessary that all parts of the Nordic Council of Ministers' activities formulate clear goals linked to the vision. To ensure this, the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation (MR-SAM) will implement an inclusive process with all of the ministerial councils to identify the key goals that will form the basis for intersectoral action plans for the strategic priorities. In these action plans, it will also state which sectors will take responsibility for the respective strategic priorities.
The vision and strategic priorities will form the basis for more information about and profiling of Nordic co-operation – both at home and globally.
The Nordic Prime Ministers have the overall responsibility for Nordic co-operation. The ongoing coordination of the intergovernmental co-operation is delegated to the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation. The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation have an overall responsibility for following up on the implementation of the vision and the strategic priorities.
The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation will report to the Nordic heads of government about how the work to achieve the vision and the strategic priorities is progressing. The first report will be in autumn 2022 and will form the basis for setting new or revised strategic priorities for the next period.
In the Nordic Region, we have shown time after time that we are stronger together.