With this year’s theme, we want to raise awareness of the fact that nature and nature management play a pivotal role in solving the biodiversity and climate crisis. They are therefore an important ally in the fight against climate change. In addition, we want to emphasise the fact that nature-based solutions not only support the environment and biodiversity, but we can also plan such solutions in a way that they generate social, cultural and economic value.
Sauli Rouhinen, chair of the adjudication committee for the Nordic Council Environment Prize, says:
“The loss of biodiversity and its harmful effects on human health and well-being are becoming increasingly clear. It’s obvious that there’s a growing need for solutions that have nature at their core. With this year’s theme, we want shine a spotlight on good examples and initiatives from around the Nordic Region. In this way, we can share good practice and inspire even more people to think in terms of nature-based solutions.
Each year, the Nordic Council Environment Prize is awarded to a person, organisation, or initiative in the Nordic Region that has made an extraordinary contribution to the environment. The theme for the prize varies from year to year. The winner of the prize receives DKK 300,000.
Read more about this year’s theme below.
Nature is a fundamental prerequisite for all human activity. Our forests, open landscapes, parks, gardens and other ecosystems are all interlinked with global warming, energy supply, water supply, food production, urban planning and health.
Although debates about the environment have often seen protecting, preserving and enhancing nature as challenges with a social or economic downside, this does not have to be the case. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, has raised awareness of the importance of biodiversity for human well-being and welfare.
Nature-based solutions has been chosen as the theme for the 2022 Nordic Council Environment Prize. The point is to draw attention to the fact that nature and how we manage it can help provide versatile solutions to biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, facilitate effective climate adaptation measures in urban environments, and enhance human health and well-being.
Although the purpose of individual nature-based solutions of course varies between countries, regions and projects, the content of these solutions is always dependent on or inspired by nature. Such solutions include initiatives that mimic nature’s form, structures or processes in the manufacture ofclimate-smart and recyclable materials. “Rewilding” is another example, whereby flora and fauna no longer found in a particular area are reintroduced, and nature is allowed to take care of itself so that natural processes shape our land and seas, repair damaged ecosystems and restore depleted landscapes. In cities, nature-based solutions can help regulate heat, reduce noise, purify wastewater, absorb rainwater and protect residential areas from the effects of cloudbursts. Green and sustainable urban environments can also enhance well-being, while contact with different habitats can strengthen our immune systems, protect against disease, lower blood pressure and improve mental health.
All of this means that nature-based solutions not only support the environment and biodiversity, but we can also plan such solutions in a way that they generate social, cultural and economic value.
Nature-based solutions support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 about life below water and 15 about life on land. They also help promote progress towards (3) good health and well-being, (6) clean water and sanitation, (9) industry, innovation and infrastructure, (11) sustainable cities and communities and (13) climate action. The development of nature-based solutions is one of the priorities stipulated in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision for a green Nordic Region.
Anyone can nominate a candidate
The Nordic Council Environment Prize is the only one of the Nordic Council’s five prizes for which anyone can put forward a candidate.
The deadline for nominating a candidate is Tuesday 10 May.
Who can be nominated?
The prize is awarded to a Nordic individual, enterprise or organisation that has managed to integrate consideration for nature and the environment into its business or work in an exemplary way, or that has made an extraordinary positive contribution to nature and the environment in some other way. The winning entity must have a Nordic perspective and operate in the Nordic Region and/or in relation to parties outside of the Nordic Region.
The Nordic Council Environment Prize was first awarded in 1995 with the aim of raising awareness of work on the environment in the Nordic Region.