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The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020 – final report

This report summarises the work and results of the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions (TG2) in 2017–2020. The Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017–2020 (TG2) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers and is a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017–2020. Three Nordic thematic groups were established for the four-year period: Innovative and resilient regions, Sustainable rural development, and Sustainable cities and urban development. The thematic groups have been organised under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, and Nordregio has acted as the secretariat for the thematic groups. The thematic group has not only produced high-quality research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic countries but also contributed to public policy with the latest knowledge on the creation and development of innovative and resilient regions across the Nordic countries, with focus on smart specialisation, digitalisation, regional resilience, and skills policies. TG2 has also contributed to research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic cross-border context.

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).

Rural perspectives on digital innovation: Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia

The Nordic countries are at the forefront of digitalisation in Europe. The Baltic States show a more mixed performance, but still score around or above average on the European  commission’s annual measure of digital progress, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Despite this positive development overall, disparities remain with respect to digital development within countries; with rural and sparsely populated areas often lagging behind on the availability of digital infrastructure and the adoption of digital technologies. As such, this project sought to provide a rural perspective on the second goal: Strengthening the competitiveness of our enterprises through digitalisation. Specifically, it aimed to demonstrate how smart, sustainable and inclusive approaches to digitalisation can be used as a tool to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of rural areas by exploring the challenges and opportunities for small enterprises in rural and sparsely populated areas. The baseline study explored the nature of digital transformation in rural areas and reflected on opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in each of the Nordic countries and in Latvia. The study was developed through desk-based research conducted by Nordregio and a report prepared by Vidzeme Planning Region which detailed the Latvian context. It provided an overall context for the digitalisation of SMEs in rural areas including sector-specific information on the bioeconomy, manufacturing and tourism sectors. The project was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Digitalisation (MR-Digital), the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017- 2020 and the North Atlantic Cooperation (NORA) and included a baseline study, local workshops and a webinar series. Its primary focus was the Nordic countries and Latvia; however, data is also provided for Estonia and Lithuania where possible. You can learn about project results in digital divide, tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy through these…

LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS FORMATION: The potential of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region

In recent years, there has been growing interest in ‘alternative’ and ‘local’ food supply chains as a way to reduce externalities associated with mainstream food systems. ‘Alternative’ food chains are often built on values opposed to conventional industrial agriculture. They are small in scale, do not use pesticides, are close to consumers and have a distinctive place of origin. There are many different forms of alternative food systems. Common to these practices is the intention to reconnect producers and consumers, to increase transparency, to relocalize agricultural and food production, and to build trust among actors in the food system. This working paper describes the state of play of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) by examining EU and national policy contexts and by highlighting good practices of local food initiatives in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Belarus. The working paper investigates the key drivers and factors impeding the development of these initiatives. The working paper is based on desk studies, input received during meetings with stakeholders and researchers from the BSR, and interviews with good practice initiators in 2016–17. This working paper is one output of the Local food: Formation of local food markets project financed by the Swedish Institute. The overall aim of the project was to strengthen co-operation and to build knowledge of local food system formation by various actors working on rural development issues in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Another objective of the project was to investigate and share good practices in building, shaping, reproducing and promoting alternative food networks and markets over time and space in the BSR countries (Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus).

Perspectives on labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region

Mobility trends between the Baltic and Nordic states and different national policy approaches to the increased mobility in the macro-region. This publication is one outcome of a project on labour mobility between the Nordic-Baltic countries: “Enhanced Nordic-Baltic co-operation on challenges of labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region” that the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania led during 2014-2016 in co-operation with the the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Offices in Estonia and Latvia, and Nordregio in Sweden. The overall objective of the project was to facilitate understanding and strengthen co-operation within the Nordic-Baltic region on labour mobility and demographic development across Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions. While the main interest in this publication as well as in the project behind it has been on labour mobility —with labour mobility being understood as cross-border movement of workers within the Nordic-Baltic region—this distinction of people moving for job purposes solely is, both in statistics and policies, not easily distinguished from those moving for other reasons,such as family reunification, opportunities to study abroad, etc. These categories are also fluid, since the prime reason for living away from one’s country of birth may change over time or even overlap with others from the outset. Another issue is that not all movements between two Member States are registered. People moving for a shorter time than the national requirements for registration in the population data bases are not included, nor are those working on a temporary basis in another country. A previous Nordic study on labour migration to the Nordic countries from the new Member States during the period 2004-2011 estimates that when including workers on temporary stay, the numbers should be almost doubled (Friberg & Eldring, 2013). Therefore, the presented data on Baltic migrants is to provide an overview of the trends of mobility…

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.