Nordregio contributes to Swedish green transition plans that unlock almost 3 billion SEK in EU funding
Last week the European Commission approved plans for three Swedish regions to restructure key industries and support a just green transition. The plans were co-drafted by Nordregio, and their approval unlocks SEK 2.9 billion in funding from the EU Just Transition Mechanism. “We have worked intensively on these plans and the Commission’s approval is welcome news,” explained Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs, Anna-Caren Sätherberg, in a press statement. “Sweden should be a world leader in the climate transition, and we will use new technology to create jobs throughout the country. The Just Transition Mechanism is an important piece of the puzzle in achieving this.” Nordregio supports with detailed analysis and research The process for this approval goes back to 2020 when Nordregio was hired by the EU Commission at the request of Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. Together with consulting firm Trinomics, Nordregio was tasked with supporting Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Gotland in the preparation of the so-called Territorial Just Transition Plans. For Nordregio’s researchers that involved detailed analysis of socio-economic impacts through stakeholder interviews, quantitative analyses, and in-depth research to identify the major social impacts of climate transitions in the regions. “Sweden has now designed a remarkable planning instrument to ensure that no one in these regions is left behind in the transition to a low carbon society” said Carlos Tapia, Nordregio Senior Research Fellow and leader of the project. He also noted that the drafting of the Territorial Just Transition Plans in Sweden was a learning process for all the stakeholders involved and was documented in an article published by Nordregio researchers. Recognition of Nordregio’s contribution When announcing the approval, the European Commission praised the project and said that the Swedish Territorial Just Transition Plans could be considered a benchmark for the rest of the EU.…
New article: The economic and social impact of Covid-19
John Moodie and Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellows at Nordregio, published a new article on the economic and social impact of Covid-19. The article published in the ESPON magazine “TerritoriAll” provides an overview of policy responses to the pandemic. As part of the ESPON COVID-19 project, 14 case study regions in Europe were selected to provide an in-depth analysis of the regional- and local-level policy response to the pandemic. The main aim of the case study analysis was to assess whether the crisis presented a window of opportunity for regional and local institutions and actors to promote proactive spatial planning and territorial policies in relation to the just (social), green and smart transitions. Proactive policies were defined as ‘measures that try to make best use of the particular socioeconomic circumstances to further a specific regional policy and planning goal’. According to the researchers, Covid-19 has been a catalyst for the development of innovative social policies across EU regions. “The crisis has accelerated the digitalization of key public services, including new social policies targeted at societies’ most vulnerable groups, such as the delivery of healthcare for the elderly, access to online mental health support, and digital training and education for young people. The continuation and evolution of these new policy measures will be essential to help overcome the socio-economic challenges presented by the cost of living and energy crises currently engulfing Europe,” says Dr. Moodie. Read the article here (page 28).
Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities
Nordregio Senior Researchers, Nora Sanchez Gassen and John Moodie, will present the key overall policy findings and recommendations from the ESPON Covid-19 project in a digital workshop “Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities”. The workshop brings together the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), associations of local and regional governments, and other networks together, in an interactive process designed to: ✓ Discuss and share information on regional policy responses to the crisis; ✓ Learn about innovative good practice policies that emerged during the pandemic; ✓ Assess project recommendations (policy, governance, territorial and financial) that can help regions recover from the crisis and build resilience in the future. The ESPON Covid-19 project aims to analyze the geographical patterns and territorial impacts of the pandemic across the EU and examine the regional and local level policy response to the crisis. It also investigates whether the crisis presented a window of opportunity for local actors to promote specific regional policy and planning goals/strategies in relation to the just transition, green transition and smart transition. Join the workshop on Wednesday 11th May at 14:00. Find more information about it and register here.
SHERPA project working towards sustainable multi-actor platforms
Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) arranged a workshop to kick-start the second phase of SHERPA MAPs by introducing new Facilitators and Monitors to the SHERPA tools. The session aimed at ensuring that both experienced and new Facilitators and Monitors have the same information and feel prepared to facilitate and monitor multi-actor platforms (MAPs) – rural interfaces that provide a forum for co-learning and co-creation of knowledge with European, national and regional actors. “Our societies are facing extremely complex problems that are connected to global and interlinked processes, such as climate change, poverty and inequalities. These problems cannot be solved by scientists or politicians alone. It demands different fields of expertise – including citizens and experience-based knowledge – to interact and collaborate for new ideas and innovations “, says Elin Slätmo, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. According to the researcher, if the multi-actor group is open to combining different types of knowledge and experiences, research shows that applying this method to rural areas can help deal with issues of lack of trust between local actors and central governments. Furthermore, it can help create common visions for sustainable regional development with a commitment to implementing and strengthening rural areas’ resilience and economic competitiveness. “There are, however, no recipes for success – adaptation and constant learning and development is crucial for processes, outputs and outcomes to be sustainable “, adds Slätmo. SHERPA is a four-year project with 17 partners, funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by Ecorys in Brussels. The project aims to formulate recommendations to redefine European development policies and research agenda for rural areas. There will be established 40 MAPs for actors from science, society and policy to interact. Nordregio’s role is to develop the theoretical framework for the science-society-policy interface in…
Nordregio – part of the Rural Revitalisation Thematic Group
Senior Research Fellow Elin Slätmo will participate in the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) thematic group on Rural Revitalisation as a representative from Nordregio. This thematic group is one of the means through which the European Commission implements the Vision for rural areas by 2040. The Vision identifies the challenges and concerns that rural areas face and highlights some of the most promising opportunities available to these territories. The initiative aims to revitalise rural areas so that by 2040 the areas in question are stronger, more connected, resilient, and prosperous. Nordregio contributed to the development of the Vision via the 20 multi-actor platforms (MAPs) as part of the H2020-project SHERPA. “As a member of the newly established ENRD thematic group for Rural Revitalisation, I will bring insights from Nordic rural research to Europe. I foresee synergies with the work Nordregio is doing for regional policy and planning in the Nordic countries,” says Elin Slätmo. The Thematic Group on Rural Revitalisation aims to identify and understand the key enabling conditions to drive rural revitalisation across Europe, explore the needs, and develop ideas and recommendations to help shape the future. Read more about the ENRD thematic group here.
Citizen engagement in policy formulation – New article from Nordregio researchers
Policy impact assessments are not enough to increase citizen awareness and support for EU Regional Policy – argues a new article written by Nordregio researchers. The article “From impact assessments towards proactive citizen engagement in EU cohesion policy” examines the benefits and types of legitimacy citizen engagement can confer upon regional policymaking processes. “Only proactive citizen engagement in policy formulation can increase citizen awareness and support for EU regional policies. Proactive citizen engagement is not only essential for enhancing the quality and legitimacy of regional policies. It can also potentially contribute towards building and strengthening citizens’ EU identities,” says Dr John Moodie, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The article provides EU policymakers with practical recommendations on how to increase citizen involvement within existing EU regional policymaking infrastructures. The recommendations are designed to enhance citizen engagement with the EU project during a period in which the threat posed to the EU by national populism and Euroscepticism continues to loom large. Read the article here.