Closely connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the Nordic- Arctic co-operation programme supports international research projects and other collaborative efforts to promote sustainable development in the Arctic
People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnerships
“The fact that the Nordic Council of Ministers has had an Arctic Cooperation Programme since 1996 shows how forward-thinking the Nordic countries were at the time, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall,” says Tómas Orri Ragnarsson, Senior Advisor of International Cooperation at the Office of the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme 2018-2021 is focused on four overall themes: People, Planet, Prosperity and Partnerships. Designed to pursue the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the programme supports international research projects and other collaborative efforts to stimulate sustainable development in the Arctic.
These two major global agendas guide all activities within the programme. Projects on education, gender equality and the health and social welfare of the population fall under PEOPLE, the PLANET theme addresses the environmental aspects of the development, such as biodiversity and sustainable utilisation of natural resources, while PROSPERITY entails initiatives to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth. PARTNERSHIP is furthermore a crucial element of all projects supported by the programme.
“The changes in the Arctic climate are largely caused by activities elsewhere, but they will have a profound impact worldwide,” says Ragnarsson. “Therefore, Nordic cooperation sees strong local, regional and global partnerships as vital to sustainable development in the Arctic region.”
Opportunities for local growth
In recent years, the focus of the Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme has been increasingly placed on the inhabitants of the Arctic. A key objective is to empower the local and indigenous Arctic communities to sustain their lifestyle and culture – now and in the future.
To support this important objective, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Arctic Economic Council commissioned a comprehensive study of the opportunities for people, businesses and investment in the region. The Arctic Business Analysis highlights four elements with great potential for sustainable growth: Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Creative and Cultural Industries; Public-Private Partnerships and Business Cooperation; and Bioeconomy. These areas will be given increased priority in Nordic Arctic Cooperation in the coming years.