On Wednesday 2 November, the Nordic ministers for the environment and climate met in Helsinki. The importance of Nordic co-operation in the field of the climate and environment has increased as a result of the war in our part of the world. The energy crisis comes on top of the crises facing the climate and nature. Nature-based solutions address the climate and nature crises together, while also bringing additional benefits to society. Examples of this are green roofs, the restoration of marshlands and the establishment of wetlands to collect storm water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At their meeting in Helsinki, the Nordic ministers for the environment and climate committed to work together so that nature-based solutions are put at the heart of the new international agreement on nature.
“Climate change and the loss of nature are the two biggest challenges the world is facing. We must look at the climate and nature crises in context if we’re to overcome these existential crises. There’s huge untapped potential in using nature’s own methods to solve our major climate, environmental and societal challenges. We must work together towards this in the Nordic Region, and we must get involved both locally and globally,” says Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Espen Barth Eide.
Stepping up the Nordic Region’s commitment to nature-based solutions
During the meeting, the ministers discussed the Nordic project Nature-based Solutions which, over the course of four years, will give decision-makers in the Nordic Region the knowledge base they need to step up investment in nature-based solutions. A key element in the project is to use and learn from each other’s best practices.
“With this project, we’re putting in place a knowledge base that can help authorities, businesses and civil society in the Nordic Region to scale up robust nature-based solutions. This will in turn contribute to achieving the vision of the Nordic Region as the most sustainable region in the world by 2030,” says Espen Barth Eide.
Of course, the work doesn’t stop here. The ministers will also send a recommendation to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in which they encourage the IPBES to collate and make available scientific knowledge on strengthening marine ecosystems. Such ecosystems are important for carbon sequestration and storage, and the Nordic ministers want to focus on conservation and reconstruction measures.
“We must do our part in the Nordic Region to ensure that the world maintains momentum in efforts to cut climate emissions and that we get a strong and effective international agreement on nature in place that establishes global goals for nature,” said Swedish Minister of Climate and the Environment, Romina Pourmokhtari.
There’s huge untapped potential in using nature’s own methods to solve our major climate, environmental and societal challenges. We must work together towards this in the Nordic Region, and we must get involved both locally and globally.
Security policy situation heightens relevance of the green transition
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has not only changed the security policy situation and international co-operation, but also increased world prices for energy and raw materials and made energy policy a much-debated topic with regard to security policy. The new security policy situation has bolstered Nordic co-operation and made it even more relevant in new areas. In particular, it has led to a strengthening of Nordic co-operation on the climate and environment.
“Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine has made co-operation between the Nordic countries meaningful in a new way. We now rely ever more closely on our Nordic friends both in terms of energy supply and foreign and security policies. The Nordic countries also have an important role to play as global pioneers when building societies that free from foreign fossil energy,” says Finland’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Maria Ohisalo.