The Nordic prime ministers launched their outreach initiative Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges on Tuesday morning at the research centre run by the Institute of Marine Research in the tiny Norwegian fishing community of Austevoll.
The venue was chosen because the centre studies the effects of climate change on the marine environment. One of the guest speakers to welcome the new initiative was Katherine Richardson, a member of the independent group of scientists set up by the UN to follow up on Agenda 2030.
“The initiative is important because it provides the Nordic Region with a unique opportunity to present renewable climate and energy solutions to the world market. The Paris Agreement generated huge demand for the type of solutions at which the Nordic Region excels,” she pointed out.
The Nordic Gender Effect personified
Fadumo Dayib, Acting Country Manager of UN Women in Somalia, was also on hand in Austevoll. She told the prime ministers about coming to Finland aged 18 with just five years of schooling. In her new country, she was able to lay the foundations for a life as a well educated and politically active person capable of earning her own living.
Last year, Dayib became the first woman ever to stand as a candidate for the presidency in Somalia.
“You have in front of you somebody who personifies the Nordic Gender Effect,” she said, referring to one of the initiative’s three main themes.The Nordic countries could be a Silicon Valley for the food of the future. We have the expertise and innovation skills needed to come up with sustainable food solutions. If the Nordic Region doesn’t do it, who will?
Silicon Valley for the food of the future
Apart from the Nordic Gender Effect, the other two main themes are Nordic Green and Nordic Food and Welfare.
Gunhild Stordalen, founder and President of the EAT Foundation, called upon the prime ministers to set up a Nordic research centre for food, health and the environment.
“The Nordic countries could be a Silicon Valley for the food of the future. We have the expertise and innovation skills needed to come up with sustainable food solutions. If the Nordic Region doesn’t do it, who will?” she asked.
The Swedish PM, Stefan Löfven, and his Norwegian counterpart, Erna Solberg agreed that a Nordic research centre for sustainable food was an excellent idea.
“First of all because food should be produced in a sustainable manner, and secondly because it should be simple for ordinary people to use good and natural food,” Solberg pointed out.
Three years of knowledge sharing
Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges is a three-year initiative – 2017–2019 – with six flagship projects
designed to share Nordic experience, solutions and views in relevant international contexts.
The main source of funding is the budget for official Nordic co-operation. So far, DKK 74 million has been earmarked for the initiative but the amount may rise.