Nordic co-operation in the Arctic is more important than ever

26.01.24 | News
Nordiskt samarbete er viktigare enn någonsin. Här är generalsekreterare Karen Ellemann på Svalbard.

Nordiska Ministerrådet

Nordiska Ministerrådet

Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Sustainable development in the Arctic and the people of the North top the agenda as researchers, policy makers and business leaders gather for the annual Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway, from 29 January to 1 February. Dialogue about the Arctic has never been more important.

Climate change and the security situation mean that global eyes are increasingly turning to the Nordic Region. Closer cross-border co-operation is needed for the benefit of the societies and peoples of the North. 

The Nordic Region is an integral part of the Arctic, and co-operation under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Arctic Council seeks to achieve the same overarching goals: sustainable development, biodiversity, sustainable ocean management, civil resilience and contingency planning. 

We need resilient societies capable of coping with a range of challenges, from crises and natural disasters to climate change and attacks on civil liberties and democracy.

Karen Ellemann, Secretary General, Nordic Council of Ministers

A climate of co-operation in the Arctic is in the Nordic Region’s interests, and despite challenging times, the partnership is still very much one of dialogue. 

“For over 50 years, the Nordic Council of Ministers has been the guarantor of human encounters through the many initiatives we have taken. We invest in networks, knowledge and social engagement, investments that prerequisites for the people of the Nordic Region to live in prosperous, strong democracies. We cannot and must not take this for granted. That’s why support for Nordic co-operation is both necessary and strong,” the Secretary General adds.

Closer energy co-operation

In a world where security and energy policy are more interwoven than ever, the importance of Nordic co-operation on energy is increasing. As the Nordic institution for energy co-operation and research, Nordic Energy Research seeks to promote this closer co-operation.

“Both the Arctic and the rest of the Nordic Region are well positioned to improve energy security and access to energy that is both sustainable and fairly priced, which is in line with the vision of the Nordic Region as the most sustainable and integrated region in the world,” explains Klaus Skytte, Director of Nordic Energy Research.

“But it's a trilemma because energy security, energy prices and sustainability are all pulling in different directions,” he adds.

Research project to amplify young people's voices

The Arctic is warming almost four times faster than the rest of the globe, which has a major impact on societies far away. It is already having major consequences on Arctic ecosystems, biodiversity, communities and indigenous peoples.

The change affects young people in the region in particular, their lives and prospects. 

The Young Voices from the Arctic project by the Nordregio research institute stresses the need for stronger young voices and calls for more research on how to involve young people in work addressing the effects of climate change and the thawing of the permafrost.

“In Greenland, young people are balancing tradition and modernity, facing the challenges of climate change with a mixture of hope and despair. They are proud of their culture and have gone from being ashamed of it to expressing it openly, which strengthens their commitment to their identity and heritage,” says Leneisja Jungsberg, Nordregio Senior Researcher.

Financing for companies with green solutions

“There are many innovative green solutions coming out of the Nordic Region, including the Arctic,” says Anne Mette Guerrero, NEFCO Investment Advisor.

The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) seeks to accelerate the green transition by financing Nordic green solutions with the potential to be scaled up for global markets. 

Small and medium-sized enterprises play an important role in the transition to a greener planet.

“Our goal is to finance more Nordic companies and contribute to their growth, competitiveness and the green transition, especially in sectors where the Nordic countries have key expertise and innovative solutions.