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Nordic-Baltic Ministerial Declaration on rural and coastal development

07.11.06 | Deklaration
Declaration adopted by the Nordic and Baltic Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in 2006, aimed at recommendations for rural and coastal development.

The Nordic and Baltic Ministers responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry, focusing on issues of outmost importance for rural and coastal development, adopted the following declaration at a meeting in Jevnaker 7-8 November 2006:

Product Development and Innovation

The Nordic and the Baltic countries shall be among the leading, innovative, dynamic and knowledgeable economies in the world within areas in which the Baltic Sea region has advantages.

The long term prosperity of business is dependent on economic policy that ensures competitiveness, stable and predictable framework conditions and sustainable utilisation of natural resources as well as increased focus on innovation and new developments. The public sector should be a flexible partner and not an obstacle to the development of new business opportunities. There is a need for broad-based involvement in economic policy, in research and development, distribution and marketing, partnerships and access to capital as well as to secure sustainable utilisation of natural resources and protection of the environment.

The Nordic and Baltic Ministers recognise the potential impact of global warming on rural and coastal areas and the natural conditions for rural development. There is a need for further research to fully understand these consequences as well as to identify potential adaptive measures and to implement measures to reduce emissions and increase the capture of CO2.

The Nordic and Baltic Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry want to:

  1. Continue and develop Nordic-Baltic research cooperation within the Nordic Council of Ministers in the areas of responsibility related to coastal, forest and rural district development. Create synergy between these fields as well as with the other Nordic R&D-fora such as Nordforsk, Nordregio and NiCe, and also enhance co-operation between research and business in order to give added value for the Nordic-Baltic cooperation.
  2. Promote sustainable and economically viable fishery and aquaculture, agriculture and forestry sectors and alternative businesses in the countryside that produce quality products, services and common goods that society demands.
  3. Promote a diverse agriculture with a varied farming structure which makes it possible to maintain and expand the role of agriculture in the management of natural resources and in creating an attractive countryside for inhabitants and tourists.
  4. Encourage to increase the use of wooden products for a more sustainable development of society and to create improved growth conditions for the forest districts.
  5. Recognize the importance of initiatives that develop and promote the values and potentials that the Nordic and the Baltic cuisines, foodstuffs and food cultures afford. The programmes "New Nordic Food" and "Baltic Sea Culinary Route" are innovative examples of this.

Human Resources

The availability of sufficient human resources is the prerequisite for the development of new and sustainable initiatives that are crucial to maintain vigorous local communities. Support to individual efforts as well as to non governmental organisations is of particular importance in this respect. Good and sustainable developments in the coastal, forest and rural districts depend on local communities ensuring good recruitment, creating interesting challenges for the youth taking into account the efforts of both men and women.

The primary industries are taking various initiatives where the aim is to give valuable benefits to people in rural areas. NGOs play a valuable social role in this matter.

The Nordic and Baltic Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry want to:

  1. Underline the positive values in active local communities and provide room for the implementation of local initiatives.
  2. Gather and disseminate Nordic and Baltic success stories in order to encourage a positive development of local communities.
  3. Work towards an enhanced dialogue and co-operation with the NGOs in local communities.
  4. Encourage initiatives that contribute towards sufficient increase of recruitment, development of competence and entrepreneurship within the primary industries in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
  5. Promote mapping of local needs, resources, social and human capital in order to implement a more effective rural development policy and attract appropriate investments.
  6. Strengthen the roles and importance of women and youth in the development of local communities.
  7. Encourage dedicated people and initiatives in order to mobilise available human resources.

A Healthy Society

The Nordic Plan of Action on better health and quality of life through diet and physical activity underlines the importance of organising initiatives that create a healthy society at the local level, both concerning food and physical activity.

Local communities play a vital role in the promotion of healthy lifestyles and can also contribute towards promoting well-being and happiness for the individual in both working life and leisure time.

The Nordic and Baltic Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry want to:

  1. Stimulate local production and supply of healthy and safe food from fishery and agriculture sectors and work towards increased diversity of food.
  2. Increase consumer awareness of origins of food and quality parameters, and enhance positive food experiences and understanding of nutrition.
  3. Underscore the importance of agricultural and forest areas - besides the production of goods - as a valuable source of outdoor and physical activity, and providers of pleasure and well-being.
  4. Point out the importance of the forests and the positive significance of them in counteracting climate changes.
  5. Motivate enhanced efforts and increased co-operation in local communities with the active participation of e.g. authorities, primary industries, businesses, health centres, NGOs in order to promote healthy lifestyles and well-being.
  6. Provide for the development of coastal and rural communities with good living environment in various stages of life such as in childhood and youth, and also recognise older people as a valuable resource in a healthy and vibrant local community.