Watchdog and important partner

06.10.21 | News
Demonstrasjon utenfor Folketinget
Photographer
Tobias Grut / norden.org
Many Nordic politicians and officials go to work every day to make their contribution to the sustainable transition, but everyone benefits from showing their cards, being challenged and inspired, and receiving professional input. That’s why the Nordic Council of Ministers has established a Nordic civil society network consisting of 40 organisations. The network’s mission is to influence the Nordic Council of Ministers’ work on Our Vision 2030.

It’s important for the Nordic Council of Ministers that the voice of civil society is heard to ensure that the work on Our Vision 2030 is transparent, relevant and effective.

The network started its work in September and the first meeting was also attended by Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation and Equality, and Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

“The Nordic Council of Ministers wishes to strengthen civil society’s voice and participation in Nordic co-operation by way of establishing a Nordic civil society network. It’s important that civil society is heard and actively involved, and that politicians allow this input to influence the decisions adopted in Nordic co-operation,” says Paula Lehtomäki.

It’s important that civil society is heard and actively involved, and that politicians allow this input to influence the decisions adopted in Nordic co-operation

Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers

The Swedish organisation Global Utmaning (Global Challenge) has been tasked with co-ordinating the Nordic civil society network. Global Utmaning is an independent think tank that works on sustainable development from a social, economic, and climate perspective. Members of the civil society network will themselves define how they’d like to co-operate with each other and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

“The civil society network presents a unique opportunity to establish contacts within and between the Nordic countries, and allow civil society to have a clearer role in the transformation of the Nordic Region into the world’s most sustainable and integrated region. As co-ordinator, our ambition is for the civil society network to become an independent association of Nordic organisations that together scrutinise, inspire and challenge the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers. By promoting meaningful exchanges, the network’s members will also establish a hotbed for future initiatives and co-operation that contribute to the Nordic Region’s sustainable transformation,” says Joel Ahlgren, co-ordinator of the civil society network Global Utmaning.

As co-ordinator, our ambition is for the civil society network to become an independent association of Nordic organisations that together scrutinise, inspire and challenge the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Joel Ahlgren, Global Utmaning

Members of the Nordic civil society network

Denmark
  • Lucas Skræddergaard, Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd (DUF)
  • Marte Mathisen, Rådet for sund mad             
  • Rikke Lønne, BL Danmarks Almene Boliger/NBO Housing Nordic
  • Ole Meldgaard, Østersø NGO Netværk, Danmark
  • Andreas Nielsen, LGBT+ Danmark
  • Troels Dam Christensen, 92-gruppen – Forum for Bæredygtig Udvikling
Finland
  • Aija Kaski, Håll Skärgården Ren – Pidä Saaristo Siistinä rf
  • Christell Åström, Maa- ja kotitalousnaisten Keskus
  • Maria Helsing-Johansson, Finlands social och hälsa rf (SOSTE)                     
  • Riitta Kangas, Finlands biblioteksförening
Greenland
  • Pernille Thorup, Sustainable Now
Iceland
  • Jónas Guðmundsson, Almannaheill – The Association of Icelandic Nonprofit Organizations
  • Sigurdur Hannesson, The Federation of Icelandic Industries (Samtök iðnaðarins)      
  • Tinna Hallgrímsdóttir, Ungir umhverfissinnar (UU) – The Icelandic Youth Environmentalist Association
  • Tinna Isebarn, Landssamband ungmennafélaga (LUF)
Norway
  • Ingvild Østli, Unge funksjonshemmede
  • Honoratte Muhanzi, Velferdsalliansen EAPN Norway
  • Joakim Gulliksen, Norges Naturvernforbund
  • Lillian Bredal Eriksen, Forum for utvikling og miljø (ForUM)
  • Vibeke Koehler, Bærekraftige liv     
Sweden
  • Annika Nyström, Internationella Kvinnoförbundet (IKF)
  • Elisabeth Rytterström, Svenskt Friluftsliv/Network of Outdoor Organisations in the Nordic countries (NON)                           
  • Hanna Stenström, Sveriges Kvinnolobby
  • Iman Djelloul, Sveriges ungdomsorganisationer (LSU)
  • Joel Ahlgren, Global Utmaning think tank
  • Mattias Axell, Föreningen för Digitala Fri- och Rättigheter (:DFRI)
Åland
  • Björn Kalm, Ålands Näringsliv r.f.                     
  • Dan Sundqvist, Finlands Röda Kors Ålands distrikt        
Nordic Region
  • Carin Hallerström, NFU Nordic Financial Unions
  • Christer Holmlund, Nordiska Lärarorganisationers samråd (NLS)
  • Hannes Björn Hafsteinsson, Norræna félagið/Föreningen Norden Island
  • Inese Podgaiska, Association of Nordic Engineers (ANE)
  • Josefin Carlring, Norden – Swedish association for Nordic co-operation             
  • Kristin Madsen, Förbundet Nordisk Vuxenupplysning (FNV)
  • Lena Höglund, Pohjola-Nordens Ungdomsförbund
  • Magnus Gissler, Nordens Fackliga Samorganisation (NFS)
  • Mikkel Odgaard, Nordisk Journalistcenter   
  • Peter Göranson, NORDTEK   
  • Ragnhild Elisabeth Waagaard, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Tonje Margrete Winsnes Johansen, Sámiráđđi – Samerådet – Saami Council

Broad composition

The composition of the civil society network reflects the Nordic Council of Ministers’ emphasis on covering as many areas as possible.

“Co-operation is a sign of strength. A Nordic civil society network through the Nordic Council of Ministers has long been a desire of Nordic engineering organisations. We see the network as an important platform for sharing knowledge, influencing political decisions and developing new ideas. Engineers play an essential role in the Nordic approach to achieving the global sustainable development goals and within the ambitious “Our Vision 2030”. “We know that the best solutions are created together in a Nordic partnership,” says Inese Podgaiska, Secretary General, Association of Nordic Engineers.

The organisations span all parts of the society with green, competitive and socially sustainable areas as the recurring themes. 

Our experience is that the best and most stable solutions are created when we collaborate across interests and organisations

Andreas Nielsen, chief political advisor, LGBT+ Danmark

“In the Nordic Region, we have a tradition of constructive co-operation between civil society and governments. That’s why we at LGBT+ Denmark are very excited that the Nordic Council of Ministers is strengthening this tradition at the Nordic level. Our experience is that the best and most stable solutions are created when we work together across interests and organisations. We are pleased to have been consulted and are proud to represent the Nordic LGBT+ population in the network, as well as in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers,” says Andreas Nielsen, Chief Political Adviser, LGBT+ Denmark.