The owl has landed
The Icefjord Centre is a complicated building in an extreme climate. Pay a visit to the Icefjord Centre and its surroundings in the article “The owl has landed” by Kjell Nilsson and Leneisja Jungsberg, and learn more about the magnificent building in interaction with the spectacular, but at the same time vulnerable, nature that surrounds it. Nowhere in the world is climate change as significant as in Greenland. The municipality of Ilulissat has therefore inaugurated a new visitor center where you can study and experience climate change and its effects at close hand. At the same time, the building, designed by the Danish architect Dorthe Mandrup, is itself an outstanding example of the interplay between world-class architecture and a unique and magnificent natural landscape.
- 2023 January
- Other publications
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
Nordic overview of national support initiatives in urban planning
The Nordic countries share many cross-sectoral targets at the national level to meet ambitious environmental, social, sustainable, and innovative development goals and targets. However, in the context of spatial planning, central governments in the Nordic countries often have limited ability to influence local and regional level priorities. As the Nordic region seeks a greener, more competitive, and socially sustainable future, understanding the diversity of ongoing national interventions and mechanisms in local and regional land use and spatial planning is needed. The focus on Nordic national support initiatives is therefore to understand both the regulative and national support aspects (top-down) and the actual needs (bottom-up) to achieve national cross-sectoral targets as these relate to green and inclusive urban development. This policy brief presents a mapping of the relevant initiatives across the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).
- 2022 December
- Policy brief
- Nordic Region
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
Discussion paper: Nordic overview of national support initiatives in urban planning
The Nordic countries share many cross-sectoral targets at the national level to meet ambitious environmental, social, sustainable, and innovative development goals and standards. These require actions to be taken in city-regions and urban areas. Nevertheless, central governments in the Nordic countries oftentimes have limited power to influence local-level priorities when it comes to spatial planning – regulating land-use and adopting a range of policy areas that have an impact on sustainable urban development. This discussion paper considers the ways in which the Nordic planning systems have evolved to incorporate measures for green and sustainable urban development over time. It provides an overview of relevant national planning support initiatives that have been selected based on information from members of the Nordic Thematic Group for Green and Inclusive Urban Development (2021-2024) and further research. The publication also reflects on the research questions: how are the issues, objectives and goals related to sustainable urban development emphasised in national support initiatives in the Nordic countries? how are the national support initiatives complementing and colliding with municipal and regional spatial planning? what are the key comparative aspects across the national support initiatives from which all the Nordic countries can learn and draw inspiration? Read and download the discussion paper here.
Can we break the isolation? Experiences of digital tools in elderly care in three Swedish municipalities
Loneliness and social isolation pose significant challenges for older people living alone and in nursing homes by affecting their physical and mental health. Due to requirements for self-isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, these challenges have been further exacerbated. The use of digital technology in elderly care has the potential to combat social isolation, for example, by increasing access to home care and providing opportunities to participate in social activities. Nevertheless, previous knowledge about the efficiency of digital interventions to counteract the loneliness of older people is limited. The new report investigates how caregivers have dealt with the challenges of loneliness and social isolation of the elderly population during the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the use of digital technologies. The aim was also to understand better how digital tools can be used in a socially inclusive way in elderly care. The research method consisted of semi-structured interviews with municipal officials, senior care managers and senior care staff in three case study municipalities (Huddinge, Eskilstuna and Storuman). In addition, older adults who live in nursing homes and at home with support efforts such as home care were interviewed, and a mapping analysis of the case study municipalities was carried out. The transcribed interview material was analysed using a qualitative manifest content analysis method. According to the interview results in the three case study municipalities, the pandemic has not been a considerable driving force for a digital transformation in elderly care. In all municipalities, they had started working on certain digitisation efforts even before the pandemic broke out in the spring of 2020. With the pandemic, they had to make quick and courageous decisions, and the municipalities also received state grants that enabled digital investments, such as the purchase of digital equipment. In addition, the elderly care staff supported the elderly using digital…
- 2022 December
- Nordic Region
- Health and wellbeing
Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision is for the Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Cross-border labour market mobility in the Nordic Region will play an important role in achieving that goal. In this working paper, we share the latest data on labour market mobility across national borders in the Nordic Region in the form of both migration and commuting. We also present findings from a review of current literature on labour market mobility in the Nordic Region and present an analytical framework for exploring potential improvements to it. The paper represents our contribution to research in this area and we invite others to comment on it. The project will present its final results in 2023. This working paper is part of the research project “Re-start Nordic competence mobility” under the thematic group of Green, resilient and innovative regions, which is part of the regional co-operation programme funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The first phase of the project resulted in a chapter, “Labour market mobility between the Nordic countries” in State of the Nordic Region 2022.
- 2022 November
- Working paper
- Nordic Region
- Labour market
Combatting long-term unemployment among immigrants
During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrants were more likely to face long-term unemployment than their native-born peers across all Nordic countries. The unemployment rates for foreign-born rose even further in 2020. In 2021, this trend was reversed, and unemployment rates decreased again. This report, written by Nordregio researchers and published by the Nordic Council of Ministers, aims to identify key policy measures, institutions, civil society actors, and initiatives that have been used to address the situation. The report has three main objectives: It describes the extent of the challenge posed by long-term unemployment among immigrants in each Nordic country before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It elucidates how long-term unemployment and labour market inactivity among immigrants have been discussed and approached at the national level in each Nordic country during and after the pandemic. It also highlights local practices that have proved successful in helping long-term unemployed, non-European, often poorly educated immigrants improve their skills and find work – and analyse what these practices have in common and what we can learn from them.
- 2022 October
- Nordic Region
- Labour market
No longer solid: how thawing permafrost affects people’s lives in the Arctic
Rapid shifts in the environment caused by climate change impact people’s live in the Arctic. The changes challenge food availability, cause safety concerns, and in some cases deteriorate people’s health. Arctic air temperatures are rising up to four times as fast as the global average, and this causes dramatic changes to all components of the cryosphere, including permafrost. By 2050 permafrost will degrade and ultimately disappear in many areas of the Arctic and this will impact the lives of 3.3 million inhabitants. This storymap tells about local people and how they experience permafrost thaw. What challenges and impacts related to permafrost thaw do they recognize? How do local inhabitants deal with permafrost thaw and how does it affect their possibility to support themselves? The story presents the situation in three permafrost communities: Aklavik (Northwest Territories, Canada), Longyearbyen (Svalbard, Norway), and Qeqertarsuaq (Qeqertalik Municipality, Greenland).
- 2022 October
- Arctic issues
Estonia: research-business partnerships in the bioeconomy
Among the three Baltic countries, Estonia has the strongest marine culture. Given the geographical position, the country’s coastline is five times longer than its landline. Despite marine characteristics, the Estonian bioeconomy is yet driven by primary activities on the land – biomass production from agricultural fields and forests. The valorisation of leftover or side-products from bioresources is yet limited. In the BioBaltic project, Estonian partners draw attention to the untapped potential of marine bio-resources, taking red seaweed, as an example. By exploring innovation ecosystem models, project partners aim to identify ways of valorising marine bio-resources and developing a bioeconomy in Estonia. This storymap welcomes you to dive in the Estonian bioeconomy journey.
Discussion paper: A “Just Green Transition” for Rural Areas in the Nordic Region: key concepts and implications
This discussion paper focuses on the green energy transition, specifically the renewable energy mix and low-carbon electricity production. All of the Nordic countries have committed to mitigating climate change and its effects on society through a variety of policies, strategies, and measures across a vast array of sectors aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the preservation of biodiversity and phasing out fossil fuels. This paper presents conceptual guidance and working definitions of aspects related to energy in the just green transition. The analysis focuses, in particular, on the key implications for rural areas in the Nordic Region. We examine three research questions: What are the key implications of the renewable energy transition (as part of green transition efforts) for rural areas in the Nordic context in current academic and policy-related literature? How prominent is the Nordic rural perspective in academic literature and green transition policy documents, and how is this perspective expressed? What possible gaps are there in current green energy transition policies from the rural perspective in terms of addressing the just transition and local benefits from value creation? Read and download the discussion paper here.
- 2022 October
- Discussion paper
- Nordic Region
- Green transition
- Rural development
Strengthening Nordic cooperation on remote work and multilocality
This policy brief summarises the first outcomes of the project ‘Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024’ and delivers recommendations designed to strengthen cross-Nordic learning and cooperation on this issue. The experiences of remote work during the pandemic have been fairly similar in the five Nordic countries. Similar trends are also evident, though to differing degrees, with respect to the effects on different places throughout the region. The most notable differences between the countries relate to the regional policy responses, and it is perhaps here that the greatest potential for Nordic added value emerges. Given this, our recommendations focus on ways in which to strengthen Nordic cooperation and cross-Nordic learning on issues related to the regional development and planning implications of remote work going forward.
Local and regional experiences of remote work and multilocality
This report is the second outcome of the project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024. Its primary aim is to provide a deeper understanding of how the spatial trends associated with increased remote work are affecting Nordic municipalities and regions. It explores the usefulness and reliability of available statistical data for understanding the effects of increased remote work at the regional and local level. Further, it draws directly on the experiences of regional and local stakeholders to understand the effects, challenges and opportunities, and planning responses associated with increased remote work. Overall, this report supports the central finding of the first – that there is great potential for Nordic cooperation in developing strategies to address the challenges and make the most of the opportunities associated with increased remote work for Nordic regions and municipalities. For national policymakers, understanding the nature of the changes that have occurred since the pandemic, and the degree to which these changes relate to increased remote work, is a real challenge. At the local and regional level, the nature of the challenges and opportunities experienced appears to be fairly similar between the countries. Collaboration at both levels could be incredibly valuable in strengthening both national and local efforts to make the most of the opportunities increased remote work offers for Nordic people, places, and planning in the long term. The project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024 was commissioned by stakeholders from the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2021-2024. This report received additional support from the Finnish Chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers under the direction of the Nordic Ministers for Regional Development.
Discussion paper: The Systems Perspectives on Green Innovation
The newly published TGC Discussion paper A conceptual review on the systems perspectives on green innovation deals with the theoretical foundations and empirical approaches for studying green innovation. This discussion paper is meant as an open invitation to discuss methodological approaches and the implications of the green transition for innovation policy. We welcome comments and suggestions with any new perspectives! The discussion paper is written as part of the Systems perspectives on Green Innovation (GRINGO) project, conducted by Nordregio within the work programme of the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions 2021-2024. GRINGO aims at uncovering existing bottlenecks to innovation that may impede change and the green transition, from a systemic perspective. To do this, the project investigates the link between agency (the role of different actors) and innovation. The discussion paper is the outcome of the first phase of GRINGO, which explored key concepts, their application, and their theoretical and policy traditions. It conceptualizes the terms ‘systems’, ‘innovation’ and ‘green’ and reviews them in the context of the ‘green transition’. The paper provides an overview of how the academic debate has developed around the drivers of innovation, from the old structure-agency discourse to the relevance of systems, place, and purpose. Furthermore, the paper elaborates on how innovation policy has been framed and changed over time based on that evolving understanding on innovation. Finally, the current policy climate surrounding green transitions, is discussed, which has risen expectations on the potential of innovation policy in addressing the complex societal and environmental challenges of today. The second phase of the GRINGO project will focus on empirical case study work on selected sectors in the Nordic countries. The results of this work will be available during 2023. We welcome comments and suggestions with any new perspectives!
- 2022 September
- Discussion paper
- Nordic Region
- Green transition
The social impacts of climate mitigation policies on vulnerable groups in the Nordic Region
This discussion paper analyses the Nordic just green transition from the perspective of a set of target social groups, including unemployed persons and those at risk of unemployment, older adults, children and persons with disabilities. Based on a diverse literature review, comprising peer-reviewed academic papers, legal documents and unpublished reports, the report explores how climate mitigation policies may impact these social groups, both positively and negatively, and thereby sheds light on how such policies may contribute to a just green transition in a Nordic context. This report is part of Not Just a Green Transition – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region (NJUST), a Nordic research project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The report contextualises the notion of a just green transition in the Nordic Region, and elaborates on how climate policies can be implemented in such a way that the transition does not negatively harm vulnerable groups in society.
Just Green Transition – key concepts and implications in the Nordic Region
This discussion paper is based on a literature review of the just green transition in a Nordic, European and OECD setting, via the lens of three interrelated dimensions within this concept: transition, green economy and social justice. Like all countries around the world, the Nordic countries are facing climate change and the transition towards a more sustainable future. All Nordic countries and self-governing territories are in the process of implementing national, regional and local strategies and policies aimed at mitigating climate change and its effects on society. The transition to a more sustainable future has implications for the economy, for example different economic sectors and their composition and how we interact with and govern natural resources and biodiversity. This process is often referred to as the green transition. One key component of the green transition is how it can unfold in a just way that protects communities, territories and specific social groups from the potential negative consequences of such policies – or enables their involvement in or empowerment by such processes. The discussion paper starts by outlining the aim and the guiding questions. There then follows a section presenting the research methods and sources of material. Section 4 presents a review of the concepts transition, green economy and social justice, along with an overview of the overarching concept of the just green transition. This is followed by a discussion of its key implications in the Nordic Region. The section concludes with proposals for working definitions of concepts for the NJUST project.
Food self-sufficiency in five Nordic island societies
This policy brief seeks to increase knowledge of how greater food self-sufficiency can contribute to increased sustainability and resilience in the food systems of five Nordic island societies: Bornholm, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, and Åland. Increasing food self-sufficiency means rethinking global supply chains, (re-)adapting to local contexts, and ensuring optimal conditions for selling and buying locally produced food. Increased self-sufficiency and improved local food systems can have positive environmental, social, and economic consequences. However, whether increased self-sufficiency adds to more sustainable food systems depends on myriad factors, including production methods, the type of food in question, and the availability of local food on the local market. Previous research shows that local food production does not automatically equate to sustainable food production.
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.
Welfare institutes in sparsely populated areas
This working paper is a part of Welfare institutes in sparsely populated areas (WIiSPA) project. The overall purpose of it is to clarify and determine the definition of WIiSPA and identify WIiSPA actors in sparsely populated areas (SPAs) in the Nordic Region and beyond. Underpinning the concept of WIiSPA is the belief that the stable provision of health and social care services is crucial for regional development. In other words, a well-functioning welfare sector with effective and accessible services is a prerequisite for regional growth across different sectors in SPAs. Another important objective is to promote the development and revitalisation of welfare services in rural areas through networking and knowledge-sharing with other WIiSPA actors across the Nordic Region. Since SPAs in the Nordic countries often face similar challenges, this pan-Nordic WIiSPA network would facilitate the implementation of results and recommendations based on Nordic welfare and regional development projects. WIiSPAs would benefit from the experiences of projects like iHAC/iVOPD, which in turn would contribute to the development of health care and social care services in SPAs of the Nordic Region – with a focus on distance spanning solutions, integration of health and social care services, and recruitment and skills supply. This working paper aims to shed light on the following project objectives: What components, stakeholders, and visions could constitute a WIiSPA; what elements are necessary for creating a WIiSPA? (Definition of WIiSPA) Identifying existing and potential WIiSPA clusters in the Nordic countries and beyond; their prerequisites, strengths, and eventual lack of components for creating a WIiSPA (Mapping of WIiSPA) How could a network of identified WIiSPA clusters best be developed? (WIiSPA network) The results of this working paper are based on academic research, short interviews, and roundtable discussions. The material includes academic articles, information from websites and notes from discussions with local stakeholders. The concept…
Active and healthy ageing: Heterogenous perspectives and Nordic indicators
The aim of this report is to emphasise why there is a need for a more heterogenous perspective on active and healthy ageing. A range of relevant indicators exist at the European and national levels, but comparable data across the Nordic countries remain limited. By considering key concepts and available common Nordic indicators, this report provides outlooks on active and healthy ageing among diverse senior populations and explores the possible contribution of intersectional approaches in future analysis and policy-making across the Nordic region. This report focuses on heterogenous perspectives regarding active and healthy ageing. There are many phases of old adulthood, and the older Nordic population is far from homogeneous. An individual’s lifelong health depends on numerous factors such as income, educational level, physical activity, dietary habits, sexual preferences, ethnicity, family situation, and living and housing arrangements. How these aspects intersect creates different challenges and possibilities for active and healthy ageing. This report explores the possible contribution of intersectional approaches in future analyses and policy-making across the Nordic region. The report is part of the Nordic Welfare Centre’s project Age-friendly and sustainable societies in the Nordic region. The study was conducted in parallel with the report Indicators for Active and Healthy Ageing in the Nordic Region. Possibilities and Challenges. The main outputs are two research reports. This one is titled Active and Healthy Ageing: Heterogeneous perspective and Nordic indicators and another one is Indicators for Active and Healthy Ageing in the Nordic Region: possibilities and challenges. Both of them were presented at Nordregio´s and Nordic Welfare Centre´s launch webinar “Grasping the diversity among older adults” on 6 April 2022.
- 2022 June
- Nordic Region
- Sustainable development
Nordic economic policy review 2022
This issue of the Nordic economic policy review surveys the economic repercussions of the pandemic and the health and economic policies introduced to minimise its impact in the Nordic countries. Although national policies were broadly similar, they also differed in many respects. Given that some enjoyed greater success than others, comparing different policies and their effects may yield valuable lessons for the future. The Nordic countries weathered the COVID-19 pandemic relatively well compared to most other high-income countries, both in terms of public health and economic repercussions. Infection and excess mortality rates were comparatively low in the Nordic Region, except in Sweden, where they relied more on recommendations and guidelines than mandatory measures to contain the spread of the virus. The fall in GDP was also comparatively small and short-lived in all of the countries except Iceland, where tourism plays a more prominent role in the economy. In this review, we present a broad range of policy-relevant articles on a variety of issues. Two of the articles comparing economic policies and outcomes include countries from outside the Nordic Region. The article by Torben Andersen, Steinar Holden, and Seppo Honkapohja focuses on the macroeconomy. The one by Werner Eichhorst and Johannes Brunner focuses on the labour market.
The missing multiplier
How to use public procurement for more sustainable municipalities This policy brief is based on the final installment of Nordregio’s three Localising Agenda 2030 webinars held in March 2022. It aims to highlight the lessons learned from front-runner municipalities, as well as inspire local and national decision-makers to invest in and build capacity for sustainable procurement processes. The Nordic countries enjoy high standards of living, but they also stand out in global rankings as over-consumers of natural resources with major challenges to realising SDG 12 – Sustainable consumption and production. With several billions spent on public procurement each year in the Nordic countries, procurement is a powerful tool to leverage sustainability at a large scale. This is also reflected in a report from the Nordic Council of Ministers (2021) where public procurement is referred to as ‘the missing multiplier’, emphasizing that public procurement can impact all 17 SDGs while addressing 82 percent of the targets. In this webinar, the municipalities of Gladsaxe, Denmark, and Vantaa, Finland, shared how they have altered local procurement processes to align with sustainability goals. Together with panellists from the National Agency for Public Procurement in Sweden, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) in Norway, and KEINO in Finland, the discussion addressed how other municipalities can use public procurement to strengthen sustainability practices and SDG mainstreaming across the Nordic Region.