Launch of the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region
The Nordic and Baltic countries are among the most digitalised and innovative in the world. To leverage our competitive advantage, the ambition is for the region to continue its digital integration. Our vision for the Nordic-Baltic region is that it becomes the most integrated region in the world. To achieve this, collaboration on digital solutions is essential. Welcome to the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region! While many successful projects, use cases and trials are already taking place in the Nordic-Baltic region within digital development and integration, access to information is difficult to get and is scattered over several means of dissemination. “We identified a need to showcase more of what is being done when addressing these questions, in a common platform, to enable existing knowledge to be shared and to become more accessible. With these considerations in mind, the Nordic-Baltic Digital Hub was initiated”, says Nordregio researcher Ana de Jesus. The Nordic-Baltic DigiHub is a shared platform that showcases the projects “Digital inclusion in action” and “The Nordic-Baltic 5G monitoring tool” funded by The Nordic Council of Ministers and run by Nordregio. “The hub aims to promote collaboration, digital integration, and sustainable development in the region by sharing knowledge, tools, research, and facilitating exchanges among stakeholders. It focuses on addressing key questions related to emerging digital technologies, environmental impact, societal challenges, and aligning innovation with societal needs”, says Nordregio researcher Nicola Wendt-Lucas. The goal is to support a green, competitive, and socially sustainable digital transformation in the Nordic and Baltic countries, in line with their vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world by 2030.
Exploring the Nordic electric aviation horizon
Nordic countries have ambitious plans and commitments to promote sustainable flight solutions by introducing electric aircraft for short-haul domestic and cross-border flights. How far is it becoming a reality? What infrastructure, policies, interests and concerns are a help or hindrance? Join the discussion about the Nordic electric aviation development, inspired by three newly conducted Nordregio studies in collaboration with Nordic Energy Research and the University of Akureyri. Which Nordic routes will be the first to go electric? Earlier this year, Nordregio published an accessibility study that identified over 200 potential electric aviation routes in the Nordics. This would significantly cut travel time compared to those going by both car or public transportation and yet be a more sustainable mobility solution. However, the feasibility of introducing the necessary infrastructure crucially depends on energy demands and availability. What stands in the way of electric aviation in the Nordics? The Nordic countries are known for their low population density, breathtaking geography with fjords, lakes, and mountains, and a strong focus on sustainable energy. However, each country’s context varies. Take Finland, for example. Electric aviation could improve connections to remote areas and improve regional competitiveness and tourism, yet substantial investments will be needed. Norway could reduce the environmental impact of travels connected to medical care, family and recreation. In Iceland, support for electric aviation is strong, both for environmental reasons and to further regional development. At the same time, an important concern is electrical safety. “It is exciting how soon electric aviation could become a reality in domestic flights in the Nordic countries. For instance, Icelandair has stated that the 30-seat electric airplane, developed by Heart Aerospace, could be used on all domestic routes, and it is estimated that it will be used for passenger transport in 2028,” says Sæunn Gísladóttir, Researcher at the University of Akureyri Research…
Gender Equality in the Blue Economy
Captain Sigríður Ólafsdóttir Twenty years ago several studies in Iceland revealed that women‘s access to decision making on natural resource extraction related to fishery management was inequal disfavoring women. No women were involved in the transformation of the fishery management system by being appointed to committees of officials engaged in the work or implementation. In spite of a long history of marine female experts, their role was not visible or officially decisive. The fishery sector is an occupational world where males have reigned. Across the circumpolar Arctic there is a long tradition for the perception that it is difficult to find decisive women to engage in public committees for the sector, and that very few women are shareholders within the fishery sector, not as quotaholders nor as owners of companies, if they were present it was primarily through pension funds (Sloan et.al 2004, Karlsdóttir, 2004). Gender presence in public bodies related to fisheries and aquaculture in Iceland, 2004 Examples of governmental bodies Total number of female staff Thereof, female Researchers, experts Total number of male staff Thereof, male Researchers, experts Ministry of Fisheries 11 0 10 1 The Marine research.Inst. 42 4 84 5 Icelandic fisheries lab. 34 5 20 2 Directorate of fisheries 20 0 74 1 Ministry of Agriculture 14 0 10 1 Directorate of freshw. fisheries – – 2-5 1 Inst.of freshwater fisheries 5 2 13 7 Processed from various public sources combined with interviews 1 August 2004 (Karlsdóttir, 2004). However, we are now in 2023 – things might have changed. Administrative changes have also happened in the meantime. Examples of governmental bodies Total number of female staff Thereof, female Researchers, experts Total number of male staff Thereof, male Researchers, experts Ministry of food 27 9 29 13 Marine and Freshwater research.Inst.* 63 41 112 45 Directorate…
Why is it so hard to switch to healthier diets?
We need to eat healthier and more sustainably – we know that. But why is it so hard to change behaviour? This was the topic when nearly 150 professionals gathered for a Nordic workshop to discuss and brainstorm ideas for effective measures to facilitate change, focusing on possible policies that can be implemented to improve food choices and dietary habits. The interest in the workshop “Behaviour change for sustainable food consumption” was huge and nearly 150 people from all over the Nordics gathered both physically and online to learn and discuss behaviour change in diets. For one afternoon, the participants could dive into the theme in the company of several speakers: Michael Minter (CONCITO’s Food Program), Therese Lindahl (Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics), Pierre Chandon (European Institute for Business Administration), Minna Kaljonen (Finnish Environment Institute), Alexander Dubois (Formas) and Rasmus Lillelund Lovring and Jeppe Deleuran Kristensen (Aarhus municipality). Less meat and more plant-based meal options We are facing several sustainability challenges. Four out of nine planetary boundaries are already crossed: biodiversity, biochemical flows, land use and climate change. In the future, we must feed more people on less land. The single most important transformation is shifting diets. This was highlighted by Michael Minter from the think tank CONCITO. The key elements in the food transition are eating less meat and dairy, eating more vegetables and fruits and introducing new plant-based products. The key drivers in the shift are research, education, opinion-building, retail, the food industry and agriculture. When shifting to more sustainable and healthy diets, we must also focus on a just transition. Minna Kaljonen from the Finnish Environment Institute highlighted that the broad societal changes needed will have significant social, economic and cultural effects. Some changes might seem unfair to the farmers and the consumers. “The societal discussion space…
Which electric aviation routes would be most beneficial in the Nordics?
Nordregio launched the accessibility study that identifies over 200 routes in the Nordics in which electric aviation would shorten the travel time by at least 1,5 times, compared to the same route by car or public transport! A Norwegian fisherman Bjørn has just returned to Tromsø after his winter fishing in Andenes. It was supposed to take around 7 hours by car to bring the Atlantic cod home, but since the winter conditions were not the best, it took him much longer than expected. If there were an electric plane route connecting Andenes and Tromsø, the travel time and distance would shorten significantly (from nearly 500km to around 100km), and the environmental impact of such a trip would be reduced. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. The geographical characteristics of some of these areas, such as large bodies of water, vast forest areas, long coastal lines, mountain ranges and fjords mean that they would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplanes compared to other modes of transport, such as car, bus or train. About the project This accessibility study is a part of the project “Electric Aviation and the Effect on Nordic Regions”, which aims to investigate how regions and local areas in the Nordic area will be affected by the implementation of electric aviation. The study analyses effects on the local communities, labour market, environment and climate, and the need for developing infrastructure and policies.
New Secretary General Karen Ellemann visits Nordregio
“Just going up the stairs, gives a great impression – I love to see maps, how you visualise all the research projects that you do,“ says Karen Ellemann, new Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, on her first visit to Nordregio. Karen Ellemann started her new prime position on the 2 of January 2023. She has previously been Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Nordic Co-operation in her native Denmark, and also a member of the Nordic Council. During her first 100 days as Secr. General, she aims to visit and familiarise herself with all Nordic institutions across the Nordic countries. “It is my first priority, to get to know the Nordic family, to listen, and get smarter. And strengthen the cooperation between us all,” Ellemann adds. Nordregio’s research spans a variety of topics within regional development, including timely issues such as green transition, rural service provision, competence mobility, and social inclusion. Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, presented the institute and its role in the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development, coordinating and conducting research for three thematic groups of policymakers within urban, rural and regional development. Senior Research Fellows Carlos Tapia, Nora Sánchez Gassen and Anna Lundgren then presented our current portfolio of green transition projects, all aiming for inclusion. See more information about the projects here: https://nordregio.org/research-topics/green-transition/# As final remarks, Karen Ellemann highlighted her ambition for the coming years: to create a stronger and more solution-oriented Nordic collaboration and succeed in communicating the results and impact of this work. “We need to focus on output, improve our Nordic storytelling, and remove the most harmful obstacles against the common Nordic labour market,” she concluded.
- 2023 January
- Nordic Region