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State of the Nordic Region 2024

State of the Nordic Region 2024 takes stock of the latest trends and developments in demography, labour market and economy in the Nordic countries, regions, municipalities, and cities. This year’s report marks the 20th edition of the State of the Nordic Region, a bi-annually published report that provides a Nordic panorama of regional development trends in the Nordic countries based on the latest statistical data, maps and analyses. Watch the video from the online launch event (19 June) to get an overview of the report highlights! The State of the Nordic Region 2024 presents a collection of maps, figures and analysis within three core areas: demography, labour market, and economy, as well as a newly updated Regional Potential Index. DEMOGRAPHY What are the latest demographic trends in the Nordic Region? What kind of impact did the pandemic have on different aspects of demographic development? The demography section compiles insights from population statistics on mortality and birth, population change and migration in the Nordic Region based on the most recent available data.   Ch 1: Population change beyond the pandemic Ch 2: Fertility decline in the Nordic Region Ch 3: The Nordic geography of diversity LABOUR MARKET What kind of labour market trends are the most prevalent in the Nordic Region at the moment? How has the labour market recovered since the pandemic? Do we have the necessary skills and compe­tences to remain competitive in the future? And how is the green transition shaping the labour market? The labour market section tackles the latest developments of the labour market from different perspectives. Ch 4: The Nordic labour market after the pandemic Ch 5: Challenges of labour shortages and skills provision Ch 6: Green transition of the labour market ECONOMY Achieving sustainable, long-term regional development requires that economic, environmental, and social aspects are…

Geographies of discontent in the Nordic Region

This working paper explores the factors driving political discontent and changes in the electoral behaviour across the Nordic Region. It serves as a conceptual overview of the topic by taking stock of the combination of factors that are driving discontent and geographies of discontent in the Western liberal democracies and in the Nordic Region specifically. The 2010s have seen a rise of the age of discontent, including political and anti-government protests, as well as changes in the electoral behaviour. While voter turnout has continued to decline throughout the recent years in the West, there has also been a rise in votes cast for non-traditional and in some cases new parties. This has often been referred to as the most distinct expression of political discontent. The root causes and drivers of the anti-government sentiment are complex. The driving forces include the economic and structural changes that have increased the vulnerability of individuals and territories. The resulting inequalities and socio-cultural divides between people and places give rise to discontent and dissatisfaction, particularly within places that feel left behind. While the key factors driving geographies of discontent elsewhere in the West can also be found in the Nordic Region, further analysis is required to ascertain whether discontent in the region is primarily driven by territorial or interpersonal inequality. The paper is a part of the project “Ensuring inclusive economic growth in the transition to a green economy (EnIGG)”. The project analyses how the Nordic countries can accelerate the green transition towards a climate-neutral economy. The paper is part of a working package that looks into the distributive effects of climate policies and analyses how gaps between richer and poorer population groups and regions have developed since the last economic crisis.

Ten-year Regional Outlook: Future Perspectives for Electric Aviation in the Nordic Region

Electric aviation has gained momentum in the Nordic Region in recent years. Given its unique geographical features and strong commitment to climate-neutral transport, the Nordic Region represents an ideal testing ground for electric aviation. In five to ten years from now, electric aviation has the potential to become reality, so it is crucial to explore which factors may affect its implementation and how regional development may be impacted. Report from the “Electric Aviation and the Effects on the Nordic Region” project presents a ten-year future scenario for electric aviation in the Nordic Region. In this report, we explore future scenarios for five selected Nordic routes and identify the key driving forces behind that transformative shift, as well as the positive and negative impacts of electric aviation. The scenarios were developed through focus group discussions conducted with key stakeholders from each of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The main findings of the study show that electric aviation is generally perceived positively in the various Nordic countries. However, there are also certain contextual differences relating to whether electric aviation is viewed as a pathway to achieving climate targets and removing emissions, stimulating regional development and accessibility of remote areas, or as a new travel option compared to conventional flights. Even though the general attitude towards electric aviation seems to be positive, scepticism and questions regarding the social acceptance of the new technology emerged, as well as the uncertainty around who will be the investors to kick-off the new technology. Furthermore, the future scenarios suggest that a high level of support from local and national governing bodies is required in order to make electric aviation a viable air transport mode in the Nordic region. The insights of this report are intended both to inform decision-makers and to provide…

Who drives green innovation in the Nordic Region? A change agency and systems perspective

In addressing the critical challenge of systemic sustainability, this report explores the need for more than a one-size-fits-all approach in the Nordic Region. It investigates the role of change agency processes and the impact of policies and framework conditions on green transition changes in business sectors. Our two case studies reveal some of the bottlenecks and drivers of innovation and explore them from a systemic perspective and in different geographic scales, both from a place-based and place-less perspective. The methodology adopted in the report is comprehensive, including a deep dive into the evolution of innovation theory and policy, following by an in-depth analysis of green innovation in two sectoral developments, including multi-storey wood construction and the so-called ‘protein shift’. It examines the roles of different stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and communities, in fostering an environment conducive to systemic change. The report relies on the academic and policy evolution of innovation theory and practice, identifying, what is argued to be, an emerging generation of innovation policies focused not only on economic but also on societal and environmental goals, which has generated a heated debate. To add nuance to this debate, our report utilised sector-based case studies relying on expert interviews to shed light on the roles of different agents in producing, not only technological but systems innovation. Against the background of systems innovations theory, this study provides some insights into the relevance of place, and proximity – not just geographic, but cognitive, institutional, organisational and social proximity.   Key findings reveal that systemic green innovations in the Nordic region happen as a result of the sum of multiple actors intentionally and unintentionally driving change in place-based and place-less settings. Several obstacles hinder setting a clear direction to innovation and path creation as these barriers are deeply entrenched in governance complexities, social…

Between hand-outs and stand-outs: Opportunities for policy support for just green transitions 

This policy brief addresses the challenges and opportunities of the green transition in Nordic rural areas, emphasizing the need for more fair approaches. It underscores the significance of involving local communities in renewable energy projects. The urgency of climate change, economic shifts, and recent energy crises has highlighted the need for the green transition, with a particular focus on Nordic rural areas playing a key role in developing renewable energy. However, there’s concern that this transition might increase existing differences between urban and rural areas. Evidence suggests that people in rural regions feel they might be neglected, which could put fair green transitions and the achievement of climate goals at risk. The policy brief from the Just Green Transition in Rural Areas project emphasises the need to involve local communities in green projects to encourage a sense of ownership and fairness. It calls for early community involvement, clear communication, inclusive compensation strategies, recognition of non-monetary benefits, and using the flexibility of rural municipalities to their advantage. As Nordic rural areas face multiple changes, collaboration across different sectors is vital to ensure fairness and effectiveness in green initiatives, potentially making rural areas pioneers rather than followers in the transition. The policy brief is based on the case study report “Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway.”

Embracing the just green transition on the Nordic labour market

The green transition aims to reduce CO2 emissions and align with UN Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. It affects various sectors, labor markets, and society – and it is important to leave no one behind to ensure a just green transition. This reports shares best practice examples from around the Nordic countries to show how a just green transition can be tackled. Exchange of best practices and strong social dialogue can help achieve a sustainable Nordic region by 2030. This report provides background and insights for the “Green Transition on the Nordic Labor Market” dialogue, covering green transition impacts, just transition strategies, and Nordic best practices. The exchange of best practices among the Nordic countries and strengthening of social dialogue could be an enabler to achieving a just Nordic green transition based on economic growth, social justice and a steady path towards carbon neutrality. It could also be an important step towards achieving the Nordic vision of being the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. This report sets out to provide some background and inspiration for the discussions during the “Green Transition on the Nordic Labour market: A Nordic Tripartite Dialogue”. It provides basic knowledge about the green transition and how it impacts the Nordic countries. It also discusses how a just green transition can be tackled and shares best practice examples from around the Nordic countries. In the first section, some basic knowledge about the green transition and how it impacts the Nordic countries will be provided. The second section will discuss how a just green transition can be tackled and best practice examples from around the Nordic countries will be shared. The report will end with some short final remarks.

Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway

Nordic rural areas risk alienation due to top-down green transition measures that often overlook their unique needs and challenges. This report suggests early local engagement, transparent communication, and regional ownership of energy projects can foster trust, ensure equitable benefits, and better integrate projects with local aspirations. The accelerating impacts of climate change, the need to adapt to changing economic and political realities, and the recent energy crisis have made the green transition something that most Nordic citizens acknowledge. However, especially rural areas and their communities are at risk of being reduced to passive instruments of national green transition measures featuring heavy land-use. These conditions make it very difficult to create a sense of justness in green transitions, leading to growing sense of alienation and resentment and putting the national climate goals in danger. From this starting point, the case studies of the research project “Just Green Transition on Rural Areas: Local Benefits from Value Creation” set out to examine what kind of benefits would generate value from green transition measures in the direct impact zone of new energy projects. The case studies took place in three Nordic countries and six locations: in Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Central Finland of Finland, involving wind power and land use planning; in Nord-Fron and Nord-Odal in Norway, involving both wind power and strategic sustainability work; and in Skive and Bornholm of Denmark, involving a hybrid mix of renewable energy sources in the context of industrial park development.  The results highlight the importance of local involvement and trust in green energy transitions in Nordic rural areas. Neglecting local needs can cause resistance to renewable projects. Early engagement, transparent communication, and ensuring local benefits are vital. While monetary benefits attract attention, relying solely on them can create community divisions. A blend of community engagement, environmental benefits,…

Overview of Electricity and Energy Capacity for the Establishment of Electric Aviation Routes in the Nordic Region

This report explores which routes in the Nordic Region will be suitable for establishing electric aviation according to two factors: energy demands of airports and regional power adequacy. The report is part of the Nordregio project Electric aviation and the effects on the Nordic Regions and substantially builds on the project’s Accessibility study. The Accessibility study identified 203 airports in the Nordic Region as feasible for accommodating electric aviation, on the basis of savings in transport time, connecting rural areas with urban or other rural areas, and overcoming cross-water distances or other geographical obstacles. It is impossible to clarify the energy capacity and infrastructure adequacy of all 203 airports within the scope of this report. Consequently, a regional perspective on the power adequacy is applied for the report assessments. This will assist in the selection of reasonable case studies, which will be explored in the next stages of this project, for the first generation of electric aviation in the Nordic Region. It is important to emphasise that power conditions and connections of local distribution grids differ within regions, as does the energy demand of airports. Standard conditions of battery electric airplanes, power demands, and charging infrastructure are described in the following chapters, with an aim to understand requirements for power capacities and infrastructure to adequately support electric aviation.