Democracy, security and climate - keywords in the international strategy of the Nordic Council

21.03.23 | News
Helge Orten
Eyþór Árnason/
The Nordic Council must be a global proponent of democracy, human rights, and the green transition. This is what has been agreed for the Nordic Council’s international strategy, which was adopted during the theme session in Reykjavik.

“We’re facing major challenges. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has upturned the security situation in Europe. At the same time, we’re facing an acute climate crisis. International co-operation has never been more important. At the moment, the Nordic Region is more united than ever and citizens want even closer Nordic co-operation. The Nordic Region’s top priorities must be to defend democracy, peace and human rights, and to strengthen our partnership with like-minded countries,” says Helge Orten, Vice President of the Nordic Council. 

There are three priority areas in the international strategy: security in the Nordic Region and surrounding area; the rules-based world order and the Nordic welfare model; and sustainable development in the Nordic Region and globally. In addition, there is an emphasis on the importance of the Nordic countries working together even more closely to face future challenges together. The strategy was approved at the Nordic Council’s theme session in Reykjavik on 15 March.

The climate clock is ticking

“Escalating climate change is exacerbating the challenges we face. The Nordics have the resources to lead the way and become the most sustainable region in the world. We must engage in international dialogue to speed up the green transition,” Orten continues. 

The international strategy stresses the green transition as a prerequisite for world safety and security. Worsening climate change and the loss of biodiversity are affecting the availability of food, water, energy, and other natural resources. The Nordic Council must be proactive in its international collaboration to ensure that the green transition is not only implemented, but implemented faster.  

The welfare model reinforces our resilience

“Maintaining the Nordic welfare model is perhaps the best way to meet the demand for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. Our resilience in various crisis situations hinges on our welfare model. A key component of our international co-operation is sharing our experiences of the Nordic welfare model,” says former president of the Nordic Council Erkki Tuomioja.  

The strategy highlights the Nordic welfare model as an important contributor to global society. To this end, the Nordic Council deems that the Nordic countries have a lot of knowledge to share with the rest of the world.  

Equality should go without saying

A key emphasis of the strategy is people whose rights are under threat due to their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability.

“Equality is a cornerstone of our Nordic societies, as are democracy and justice. These values are under immense pressure and the Nordics can make a difference by always being a clear voice that stands up for these values,” says Orten.