Québec and the Nordic countries share common challenges – major joint symposium on sustainable Northern development

21.01.15 | News
The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Government of Québec, Canada are holding a major joint symposium on 25 - 27 February 2015 in Québec City entitled “International Symposium on Northern Development”, whose primary focus will be sustainable development.

Despite the geographical distance between Québec and the Nordic countries, both regions share the challenges posed by having land and sea territories in northerly and Arctic locations. This in turn results in shared challenges relating to development in these harsh and vulnerable areas, as well as to climate change and an increased demand for economic development, all of which have an impact on these regions’ current and future communities.

There is a broad consensus that economic growth and social development must be approached on the basis of sustainability. The challenges shared by Québec and the Nordic countries, together with the common desire to approach these challenges on the basis of sustainability, will provide the framework for the symposium.

Four topics for the conference

Day one of the symposium consists of a series of workshops. Days two and three comprise high-level plenary sessions. The primary themes of the plenary session are:

1. The North, a living environment                 

2. The North, a physical territory                     

3. The North, a place for economic development

4. The North, a place for knowledge, training and research

The symposium marks the start of a new and exciting collaboration with the Nordic region’s neighbour across the Atlantic. With around 25 speakers from Nordic institutions, universities, industry, NGOs and the Nordic Council, the symposium will be a platform for profiling Nordic strengths and values within sustainable growth, innovation, climate change, renewable energy, the environment, education, and openness. Québec is also contributing a number of speakers to profile Plan Nord – Québec’s development strategy for its northern regions – and the region’s strengths when it comes to sustainable development. The symposium, which will bring together political and administrative decision-makers, universities, businesses, NGOs and residents of both Québec and the Nordic countries, will serve as a springboard for the exchange of experiences with regard to sustainability.    Social networking opportunities in conjunction with the symposium will include the opening reception on 25 February, with opening speeches from Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Québec, and Dagfinn Høybråten, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Speakers at the symposium will include: Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland; Vincent Rigby, Chair of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials; Bjarke Ingels, Architect, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group); Minik Rosing, Professor, University of Copenhagen.

Practical information:

Location:     Québec City Convention Center, Québec City, Canada, 25 - 27 February 2015

Twitter:  Follow the symposium on Twitter (NB: in French): PlanNord