Arendal Week 2021

Photo: Hanna Arrestad, Arendalsuka
The Democracy Festival in Arendal will once again be this year’s largest venue for those with an interest in politics and society matters. The Nordic Council of Ministers will be present to discuss Nordic challenges and solutions for how we can create the world’s most sustainable and integrated region. Welcome to the Nordic tent at Langbrygga in Arendal, Norway! Or follow the events via live stream from wherever you are in the Nordic Region.

Viruset stengte grensene. Hvor går Norden nå?

Start 17. august kl. 10.00:

Ett år hjemme. Barn og unges psykiske helse under og etter pandemien

Start 18. august kl. 10.00:

Fire risikoer for det nordiske arbeidsmarkedet

Start 18. august kl. 12.00:

Felles nordisk kriseberedskap: Er Norden klar for neste pandemi?

Start 18. august kl. 15.00:

Kolliderer nordisk studentmobilitet i stengte grenser?

Start 19. august kl. 10.00:

In five debates we will address a number of meaningful topics for the population of the Nordic Region.

We will of course discuss the pandemic that has erected borders throughout the Nordic Region. Whatever happened to the borderless Nordic Region when the pandemic hit? Can we still remain the world’s most integrated region, in spite of saying ‘no’ to our Nordic neighbours for a year and a half? Businesses and politicians will offer their answers.

And speaking of mobility, what happened to students when the crisis hit? Students felt forgotten. Info Norden and the Nordic Region in Focus will follow up on the status of international students’ experiences of the Nordic countries when the borders closed.

On Thursday, we will discuss future health preparedness in the Nordic Region. Among others, we will be joined by Ingvild Kjerkol, the Norwegian Labour Party’s health policy spokesperson, to discuss what emergency preparedness should look like. Finland’s former Minister of Defence and Secretary General of the Nordic Council, Jan Erik Enestam, will share his preliminary findings on the future of Nordic preparedness.

We will also discuss what your future Nordic labour market will look like. We will also discuss that. Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norway’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Conservative Party (Høyre), will be on hand to discuss political solutions for the future of the Nordic labour market, together with Dag Terje Andersen of the Norwegian Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet), and the labour market parties.

In addition to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ own debates, Nordic Innovation, Nordforsk and Nordic Energy Research will arrange panel discussions in the Nordic tent. On top of that, Nofima will talk about the future food trends, and UiO:Nordic will discuss gender equality as a Nordic brand.

Our debates at Arendal Week 2021

17. august kl. 10.00: Viruset stengte grensene. Vil Norden fortsatt bli verdens mest integrerte region?

I 2019 vedtok de nordiske statsministrene at Norden skal bli verdens mest bæredyktige og integrerte region i 2030. Island, Sverige, Danmark, Norge, Finland og de selvstyrte områdene Åland, Færøyene og Grønland var enige om målet.

Så kom 2020, og landene gikk i lockdown. Hovedstad etter hovedstad, land etter land, ble rammet av en pandemi som ikke så grenser, bare muligheter.  

Hvordan kommer man tilbake etter det? Skal Norden fortsatt være en felles region, hvor finnes det samarbeid i dag? Er koronapandemien en hump i veien for samarbeidet, eller har sykdommen satt kjepper i hjulene for verdens mest integrerte region? 

Vi spør de som hele tiden jobber over grensene - hvilket nordisk samarbeid ser de for seg videre?

18 August at 10:00: A whole year at home. Mental health of children and adolescents during and after the pandemic

How has the mental health of children and adolescents been affected over the course of the pandemic, as well as by it? Will we see a lonely generation come out of it? Or have youngsters just found it boring? 

How has the mental health of children and adolescents been affected over the course of the pandemic, as well as by it? Will we see a lonely generation come out of it? Or have youngsters just found it boring?  

During the pandemic, decision-makers in the Nordic countries have been repeating their mantra about the need to shield children and young people. However, in practice this has varied in the different countries: Denmark introduced home schooling for a whole year, while Sweden kept schools open throughout. Norway has chosen to take the middle road. Leisure time has also been affected by a ban on exercise sessions and gatherings. We keep hearing how Nordic politicians will attempt to target those who need additional support. 

And they tell us that it is crucial. What has it really been like to be young during the pandemic? That is a story that our young people should tell themselves.

18 August at 12:00: Four risks for the Nordic labour market”

The COVID-19 crisis has once again demonstrated the well-known adaptability of the Nordic model. The parties have worked together and saved jobs, incomes and GDP. Nevertheless, Nordic labour market researchers warn that more and more people are ending up permanently excluded from the labour market. 

What challenges must be addressed in our future labour market? We know a good deal about the risk factors.

That is why we invite all labour market parties and politicians to propose how they want to further develop and strengthen the Nordic labour market model.

Over the past four years, researchers working on the Future of Work project at Fafo, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, have examined the future of the labour market in the Nordic Region. How sound is the Nordic labour market model? Will we be able to create enough jobs in the future, and how will we ensure that we have the right skills to fill these jobs? Also, how do we deal with increased differences between those with higher and lower incomes?

The pandemic has exacerbated challenges and accelerated the digitalisation of workplaces, as well as the emergence of new forms of work. What could the consequences of it be?

18 August at 12:00: Joint Nordic emergency preparedness: Is the Nordic Region ready for the next pandemic?

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, neither Norway, the Nordic Region, nor the world were ready. There was no Nordic vaccine production. Masks and visors had to be ordered from China. At a Norwegian hospital, the staff discovered that the infection control equipment they had purchased was fake. Italy sent emergency kits to Norwegian hospitals. At the same time, Denmark procured vaccines from Israel, far beyond Nordic borders. How effective was Nordic co-operation in the area of healthcare during the pandemic? What will happen the next time the Nordic Region faces a crisis? 

The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council want to strengthen Nordic co-operation on emergency preparedness. But what should this co-operation entail in the area of healthcare? 

And—are Norway and the Nordic Region at all willing to stand together in the face of the next health crisis? These and more questions will be put to the panel.

19 August at 10:00: Does Nordic student mobility clash with closed borders?

The Nordic Region should be the world’s most integrated region and has a common education and labour market. The Nordic Council of Ministers is working to counter border barriers that hamper mobility and growth. How were foreign students in the Nordic Region affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? What incentives are needed to provide security for students who want to make a step into the Nordic Region and the future?

ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad) and Info Norden, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ information service, are joining forces this year to draw attention to how student mobility in the Nordic Region has been affected by the pandemic.