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Discussion paper on ‘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!

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.

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.

Regional tourism satellite accounts for the Nordic countries

Tourism has played a growing role in the last two decades in the economic development of many Nordic countries until the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the tourism sector suffered from the effects of reduced travel desire and restrictions. After relief, tourist influx will resurrect and again affect local economies around the Nordic region. Tourism has economic effects. When people travel, they pay for goods and / or services such as accommodation, food, souvenirs and activities. They may be shopping in preparation for their trip or as part of their return trip. Before, during and after the trip, their expenses are directly related to the tourism activity which generates profits, rent, tax revenue, investment and employment. Tourism also has indirect economic effects, for example on hotels, restaurants and other service providers who shop from other companies to meet demand from tourists or by employees in the tourism industry using their income to pay rent, insurance or merchandise. These trickle-down effects seep down and support the economic development of regions where tourism develops and flourishes. Exact quantification of the contributions and costs associated with tourism is challenging for many different reasons. The Nordic countries have individually (except the Faroe Islands and Greenland) prepared satellite accounts to get an overview of the economic effects of tourism, but to varying degrees worked with regional satellite accounts which can provide insight into the difference in the importance of tourism’s economic contribution to regional economies. That is what this report is about. We have prepared a report whose purpose is to introduce the potential of Regional Tourism satellite accounts and describe their function and weaknesses in estimating the effects of tourism on regional economies. We also assess whether there are preconditions for developing a joint Nordic tourism account by virtue of the recognized satellite methods. Part…

Synergies between Nordic studies on resilience, digitalisation, smart specialisation and skills development

Regional (economic and social) resilience determines how capable the regional economies are to cope with change (negative or positive shocks or stress) and continue to develop. Regional resilience is achieved through regional actions that turn global perspectives into strengths and opportunities. Generally speaking, regional resilience is adesirable place to be in, and this should be supported by all different policies and regional actions. Rather than being and end result, regional resilience should be seen as a continuous effort of addressing and adapting to global trends and other developments that may threaten the economy and social wellbeing. Global drivers such as demographic trends and industrial changes, sustainable development, and green transition, need to be met in Nordic regions through place-based actions. Smart specialisation strategies, skills development, and actions supporting the digital transition are examples of place-based actions that strengthen regional resilience. This dynamic state of being reflects the Nordic Vision 2030 of a green, competitive and socially sustainable Nordic region. In addition to synergies between the major themes, the study also revealed topics of high common relevance for all themes of the TG2 work. These relate to the importance of bridging across governance levels and sectors and finding new models for leadership and engagement. This section explores the more general regional development measures needed to support the development towards innovative and resilient regions.

Digital Health Care and Social Care – Regional development impacts in the Nordic countries

Health care and social care are not only important aspects of the Nordic welfare state model. The development of those sectors also has an important impact on the regional development and sustainability(economically, socially and environmentally) in the Nordic Region. The use of digital solutions in both sectors is increasing across all the Nordic countries. However, in relation to the ambitious goals set out in national digitalisation and eHealth strategies, digitalisation in health care and social care can be seen to have been developing at a relatively moderate pace. This research is part of the Health care and care with distance-spanning solutions project initiated and funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.The aim of this research has been to explore the effects and potential benefits to regional development, and to address the various obstaclesfacing digitalisation in health care and social care throughout the Region.In addition to literature reviews of the different health care systems, digitalisation in the health care and social care sectors and how theselink to regional development, case studies have been conducted in one region and municipality in each of the Nordic Region’s five states (Sweden,Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland) and in two of the self-governing territories (the Faroe Islands and Greenland). These case studies include interviews with senior management, project leaders and health care and social care workers. An accessibility analysis has also been conducted with a view to understanding how access to health care and social care can be improved by digital solutions in these sectors.

The right to access the city: Nordic urban planning from a disability perspective

The purpose of this report is to add a disability perspective to the discussion on the inclusive city in the Nordic region. The report primarily focuses on the city and the local level, the international framework has proven to be of importance. But it seems to be especially important in countries early in the process of implementing universal design. This was done by studying Nordic municipal strategies and planning practices related to accessibility, universal design and inclusion and interviewing national and local representatives from the selected countries and cities. In addition, we have included the perspective of users, via representatives of Nordic authorities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the Council of Nordic Co-operation on Disability. The cities in focus in the report are Trondheim in Norway, Viborg in Denmark, Tampere in Finland, Reykjavik in Iceland, Qeqqata Kommunia in Greenland and Borås in Sweden. The report points to the importance of participation and representation in universal design. All the cities in this study emphasize the insights and contributions of people with disabilities in the planning process, in most cases in the form of institutionalized disability councils. To summarize, the lessons learned from this study concern the following topics: There is growing interest in the many aspects of inclusion The UNCRPD is useful to overcome challenges of limited mainstreaming Disability issues often depend on ‘champions’ in local administration Knowledge and maintenance are key State support and funding are important for pushing agendas and local practice, but the municipalities can also become drivers Collecting data and conducting evaluations are important for learning and mainstreaming Representation is important  

Polar Peoples in the Future: Projections of the Arctic Populations

Projections of the future size, composition and distribution of the populations of the Arctic states and regions are useful for policymakers for planning purposes. This paper presents and analyses the most recent population projections undertaken for the Arctic states and regions. Global population growth is projected to continue rising, from the current total of 7.4 billion to 10 billion in 2055. The population of the Arctic, as defined here, is predicted to change little, with a projected population increase of just 1%. However, there will be considerable variation in growth rates among the Arctic regions. Among the Arctic regions of Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut, Iceland, Troms, Khanty-Mansiy okrug and Chukotka, substantial population increases are projected, amounting to more than 10% over the projection period specified for each. Nordland, Finnmark, Pohjoil-Pohjanmaa (North Ostrobothnia) and Nenets autonomous okrug are projected to experience a more modest rate of growth of between 5% and 10%. The population of the Northwest Territories, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Lappi, Yamal-Nenets okrug, Yakutia and Kamchatka oblast are projected to remain roughly the same, neither growing nor declining by more than 5%. Kainuu in Finland, Karelia, Komi, Arkhangel’sk, Murmansk, and Magadan in Russia are projected to undergo reductions in population of more than 5% each. Common trends identified for nearly all Arctic regions in the future are aging populations, more balanced gender ratios between men and women, increased concentrations of population within larger urban settlements, and the depopulation of smaller settlements. Research for this article is part of a project entitled Polar Peoples: Past, Present, and Future. This is supported by a grant from the U. S. National Science Foundation, Arctic Social Sciences Program (award number PLR-1418272). I would like to thank Olivia Napper, graduate student in the Department of Geography at George Washington University, for creating the…

State of the Nordic Region 2020

The State of the Nordic Region 2020 gives you a unique look behind the scenes of the world’s most integrated region, comprised of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, along with Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland.   A comprehensive overview of the Nordics The Nordic Council of Ministers has a vision to make the Nordic Region the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. A closer look at the regional and local level reveals how the Nordic Region is developing and moving towards this target. This unique publication is a valuable tool in detecting and analysing the short-term and long-term changes within and between the countries: How are we realizing the vision? And what more should be done? The State of the Nordic Region 2020 presents a series of facts and figures showing the current state of play within core socio-economic sectors. This  includes: Demography – with chapters on children and young people”; Migration and mobility”; Ageing as a major demographic trend”. Labour market – with chapters on “The geographies of labour; “The Nordic labour market in 2040”. Economy – with chapters on “increased income inequality”; “The role of smart specialization”; “the biobased circular economy”. In addition, you can read about: Wellbeing in the Nordics Energy pathways towards a carbon-neutral Nordic Region The Regional Potential Index – a socioeconomic ranking of all regions in the Nordic countries Published in October 2020: State of the Nordic Region 2020 – Wellbeing, health and digitalisation edition State of the Nordic Region 2020 is produced by Sildenafil and published by our parent organization, the Nordic Council of Ministers.The report is also available in a new digital format.

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.