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26 Publications

Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems

The newly published Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems delves into one of the BioBaltic project focus areas, digitalisation in food systems. Part I provides a concept overview and relevance in Nordic and Baltic countries. Part II delves into the Vidzeme Region case-study in Latvia. We welcome comments and suggestions with any new perspectives! Digitalisation is the process of large-scale adoption of digital technologies and is one contemporary trend affecting all economic sectors and society at large. In food systems, digital technologies have been implemented for decades, but the so-called digital transformation and requirements for more sustainable practices in food value chains have added pressure on the need for a speedy and large-scale implementation of existing and new innovations. The discussion paper provides a conceptual framework of digitalisation in food systems, accompanied by a closer examination of the key issues at hand in Vidzeme region, a case study area in Latvia. The paper aims to gain a better understanding of the current state of and development opportunities of digitalisation, and the role of different forms of collaboration in this context. Furthermore, this paper is meant to spark discussion amongst partners, stakeholders, and a general audience about the technological, institutional and governance aspects that need to be addressed to be able to seize the opportunities of improving food systems via the application of digital tools.

Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024

The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 outlines our main mission and core research focus areas, which have been carefully aligned to address the key objectives and needs of policymakers and practitioners outlined within Nordic cooperation steering documents. In recent years, there has been a convergence of several global megatrends which are having a major impact on all aspects of the Nordic economy, society and environment. Climate change, migration, rapid demographic developments, digitalization and automation, increasing urban-rural divides, and growing socio-economic inequalities are some of the main threats facing the Nordic Region. Nordregio is focused on identifying practical Nordic policy solutions to help overcome these challenges and promote socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability across the Nordic Region. The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 has been written as a collaborative effort by our staff members in close cooperation with Nordregio’s Board of Directors, which represents the Nordic countries, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. The overarching goals that guide Nordregio’s research are outlined in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Action Plan for Vision 2030, which is approved by the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation. The Action Plan defines the work to achieve the objectives of the Vision through a series of initiatives linked to the Vision’s three strategic priorities: a green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. During the 2021-2024 period, Nordregio is committed to delivering high quality scientific, evidence-based research designed to provide policymakers and practitioners with sustainable policies to help overcome the main challenges faced by Nordic regions and municipalities. Our research will contribute substantially towards Nordic cooperation and synergies, while also showcasing Nordic policies, experience and competences internationally. The Board approved the Nordregio Strategy on the 15th of April 2021.

A guide to collaborative mobility solutions in rural areas

Are you living in a rural area? Do you experience unfavourable mobility and accessibility conditions?Do you want to do something about the situation? If the answer is ‘yes’, then this manual is for you. It provides guidance on how grassroots actors and the public sector can work together to tackle mobility challenges in their rural areas. Working together in this way allows you to: gain a deeper understanding of residents’ needs; maximise and leverage the resources available to grassroots and public sector actors; and develop more creative, efficient and cost-effective mobility solutions that are well-used and sustainable in the long-term. Whether you are trying to initiate, coordinate or implement a collaborative mobility solution, this guide will help show you ways to do it. With decreasing and ageing populations in many rural parts of the Baltic Sea Region, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain public transport and other services that depend on mobility, such as care at home and home deliveries. This reduced accessibility of services impacts the quality of life of people living outside urban centres. The prospects for such regions seem grim at first sight. Adverse, self-reinforcing and interdependent processes (e.g. ageing populations, outward migration, unfavourable economic conditions, strained municipal budgets) are pulling many remote regions all over Europe into a self-perpetuating “circle of decline” that has a negative impact on the quality of life in rural areas. Looking more closely, however, there is ample hidden potential just waiting to be developed (in the form of existing social networks, resources and infrastructure), all within reach of local community actors and the public sector. The MAMBA project aims to meet this challenge by promoting sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas. In practice, the MAMBA partners have worked together to improve the integration of existing mobility structures…

Mobility for all in rural areas – Inspiring solutions from MAMBA

This document presents the innovative mobility solutions developed and implemented within the MAMBA project. Each of them is different because they all take advantage of the opportunities and possibilities of the unique local context in the region. As a result, each measure has its own (hi)story, which is featured in this document. These experiences are presented in different styles, mirroring the different people who worked on the ground to promote better rural mobility and accessibility. In that sense, this document intentionally takes the reader on a journey to visit the various MAMBA solutions, where local guides share their experience, talk about the variety of challenges faced, introduce other members of their alliance and present the solutions they discovered. MAMBA stands for “Maximising Mobility and Accessibility of Services in Regions Affected by Demographic Change.” It is a European Interreg project that aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas in the Baltic Sea region through innovative mobility and accessibility solutions. At first glance, the prospects for such regions seem grim. Specific processes (e.g. ageing populations, out-migration, economic problems, strained public budgets, etc.) are pulling many remote regions all over Europe into a “circle of decline”; a self-perpetuating cycle (or circle) that has a negative impact on the quality of life in rural areas. Looking more closely, however, there is ample hidden potential just waiting to be developed in moving towards solutions. This includes strong social networks, creativity, commitment, resources, a collective sense of charity, and the various infrastructures possessed by local community members and/or the public sector. MAMBA showcases how small interventions can make a real, effective change and counteract this (vicious) circle.

Maximising mobility and access to services in rural areas

Demographic change and limited public funding in remote rural areas threaten the accessibility of goods and social services in many countries in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The MAMBA project aims to meet this challenge by promoting sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” solutions in rural areas. These guidelines seek to provide feasible policy recommendations for national, regional and local government bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and transport service providers. They offer insights into overcoming legal, financial and governance obstacles to rural transport solutions, and aim to improve and maximise both mobility and access to services in rural regions. They are based on what has been learned during the three-year project in the nine regions involved, which have tested pilot schemes and established mobility centres. The pilot actions were part of the MAMBA project co-funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme and included legislative, economic and social analyses. The main recommendations for maximising mobility and access to services in rural areas are: Develop long-term mobility planning tools Improve social inclusion and access to services Try out innovative solutions using smaller vehicles Support grassroots initiatives Combine trips to save resources Establish conditions that guarantee mobility Make mobility-related procurement easier inrural areas Take risks and come up with innovative solutions Go digital. MAMBAThis document is the official output O5.4 of MAMBA (Maximising Mobility and Accessibility of Services in Regions Affected by Demographic Change). MAMBA is a transnational cooperation project part-funded by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund under the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020. About this guidance document:These guidelines are…

BONUS BASMATI HANDBOOK: Process, Methods and Tools for Stakeholder Involvement in Maritime Spatial Planning

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), as with any other type of planning, is not just about the plans and their content, but the process of making those plans. Incorporating expert knowledge and the perspectives of different sea users and interest groups through stakeholder involvement (SI) processes is a central element in the design and implementation of marine spatial plans (MSPs). This handbook explores some of the key issues relating to SI in MSP, including: How to think about involving stakeholders? How to understand their needs? Who to involve? When is the appropriate time to involve them? What methods and tools are needed? What are the drawbacks? And how can a process leader carry out an effective, transparent and fair process? This handbook provides practitioners with some practical answers to these questions by offering a framework for systematically thinking about SI in the MSP process. The ideas and approaches to SI outlined are based on first-hand experiences from planners in the Baltic Sea Region and cover the whole of the MSP policy cycle. Executive summaries The executive summaries outlining the conceptual framework, general principles, methodologies and future directions of the stakeholder engagement in MSP are available in six languages: Danish English Finnish German Latvian Swedish BONUS BASMATI project has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and Innovation Fund Denmark, Swedish Research Council Formas, Academy of Finland, Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, and Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany).

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets

Migration to the Nordic region increased strongly during the refugee crisis in 2015. On a per-capita basis, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have taken in more asylum seekers than most other European countries. In the coming years, these refugees and subsequent newcomers have to be integrated into the Nordic labour markets, if asylum is granted. This will be an extremely challenging process. All Nordic countries are characterised by significant employment gaps between natives and foreign born, with particularly large gaps existing in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Refugees in particular are more dependent on welfare support and less likely to be employed than natives. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have analysed measures to promote employment among migrants. Nonetheless, a systematic review of how different policies influence employment rates of refugees and other migrant groups in the Nordic countries has not been available previously. A new report produced by Nordregio for the Nordic Council of Ministers now gives an overview of existing measures to integrate immigrants into the Nordic labour market including policy recommendations and outlines of best practice. The following policy briefs are excerpts from the report Integrating Immigrants into the Nordic Labour Markets: Integrating Immigrants into the Nordic Labour Markets: An Overall Perspective, by Lars Calmfors and Nora Sánchez Gassen Active labour-market policies and newly arrived immigrants, by Pernilla Andersson Joona Immigration and social insurance design, by Bernt Bratsberg, Oddbjørn Raaum and Knut Røed Education policies for adolescent immigrants, by Anders Böhlmark Wage policies and the integration of immigrants, by Simon Ek and Per Skedinger How should the integration effort be organised?, by Vibeke Jakobsen and Torben Tranæs Policies promoting higher employment for non-Western immigrant women, by Jacob Nielsen Arendt and Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen Education efforts and the integration of immigrants, by Tuomas Pekkarinen

Climate Policies in the Nordic Countries – Nordic Economic Policy Review 2019

The articles in the 2019 Nordic Economic Policy Review analyse how the Nordic countries best can contribute to international climate policy. The articles cover topics such as: How can the Nordics help raise the ambitions in the Paris Agreement? What is the effect of national policy on emissions regulated by the EU Emissions Trading System? Would it be cost-effective for the Nordic countries to pay for emission reductions elsewhere to a larger extent? What role should be played by subsidies to green technology? Should Norway put more emphasis on supply-side policies, that is, on limiting future extraction of oil and gas? Climate change has become a key concern for policy makers, business leaders and individuals all over the world. There exists a broad scientific consensus that the emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are responsible for global warming that, if not halted, could have unacceptable consequences, including catastrophic ones, in at least parts of the world. The main argument used by economists to motivate policy intervention against climate change is that emissions of greenhouse gases that drive global warming are an externality. The benefits of using fossil fuel accrue to the user, whereas the largely negative side effects are born by individuals spread over the globe and over very long time horizons. Since the externality extends across borders, a global collective-action problem arises with incentives for individual countries to free-ride on the climate policies by others. The volume contains five papers with associated comments which were originally presented at a conference in Stockholm on 24 October 2018.

Planning Systems and Legislation for Brownfield Development in the Central Baltic Countries

Brownfield redevelopment is an important topic in Europe, where many countries and cities are experiencing rapid urbanisation. It is predicted that by 2020 approximately 80 per cent of Europeans will be living in urban areas, which means that more land in and around urban areas will need to be developed for housing and other purposes. The aim of this brochure is to enable experiences of brownfield redevelopment to be exchanged between the Central Baltic countries (Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden) by providing knowledge about the conditions for brownfield redevelopment in each country. The brochure presents the planning systems and principal legislation and policies related to brownfield redevelopment. It specifically highlights the aforementioned key challenges of cooperation between actors and the remediation of contaminated land, and looks at how domestic legislation and policies promote or hinder meeting those challenges. This brochure is published as part of the Baltic Urban Lab project, which involves four partner cities (Riga, Tallinn, Turku and Norrköping) developing and testing new integrated planning and partnership models for brownfield redevelopment. The partners are aiming to find ways to tackle the various challenges brought about by the development of sites that are often privately owned or have fragmented ownership structures and where the soil is often severely contaminated and thereby requires significant resources for remediation. The planning reviews in the brochure are drafted by Nordregio with valuable expert input from, in particular, the city partners and the associated partner, the Swedish National Board for Housing, Building and Planning.

Regional Innovations: an introduction to concepts, practices and politics

Innovations is a policy buzz word and used more or less daily within the political debate. Innovations are regarded as fundamental for achieving economic, social and ecological sustainability. This booklet is an introduction guide to the concept, practices and politics of innovations with focus on its relevance for regional development. Innovations are expected to generate new firms and employment opportunities, increased competitiveness, and contribute growth, in Sweden and elsewhere. They are also perceived as crucial for handling climate change, resource scarcity and demographical challenges such as an ageing population and increased migration in Europe. But what is an innovation? How and where are innovations created? And how can regional innovation polices be formulated and implemented in a globalizing world? These are some of the key questions of this booklet, which also highlights concepts such as eco-innovation, social innovations, and smart specialisation. An open and inclusive definition innovations are currently being emphasised as for example in the recently published Swedish Innovation Strategy. Innovations are created by people and generates new values. An innovation can be anything from new technical products or service processes to a significantly improved business models or new forms of organisational and institutional arrangements. This conceptualisation of innovations creates opportunities and challenges policy making. Amongst other things, it implies that regions need position themselves in relation to other regions nationally and internationally, and simultaneously develop context specific innovation strategies and priorities. The booklet offers an introduction to current discourse on innovation by reviewing a selection of essential policy documents from leading international and national organisations such as OECD, EU and Swedish national authorities. It does not offer a new theory on innovation or suggestions on how to innovation policies should be formulated, but it provides an conceptual overview, practical thematic and regional examples on innovations and innovation policies.