Nordic cycling policy: National objectives, mechanisms, and actors in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden
This paper reviews how Nordic countries are working to improve cycling via policy and planning. It takes a national-level approach to review cycling objectives, mechanisms and key actors in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
Rooting for the Rural: Changing narratives and creating opportunities for Nordic rural youth
This policy brief delves into the importance of understanding and supporting the priorities of young people in Nordic rural regions to ensure these communities thrive. It highlights the importance of addressing challenges that keep youth from staying in rural areas and engaging with those unsure about their future there. Serving as a comprehensive guide for policymakers, the policy brief contextualises the report from the Nordic rural youth panel “From Fields to Futures: 40 action points for rural revitalisation”. The brief examines academic discussions, prevalent narratives, and youth engagement efforts, emphasising the Nordic Rural Youth Panel’s 40 proposed actions to revitalise rural areas. The paper investigates what young people need and want, their aspirations and ideas, and the solutions they present to policymakers that could attract them back to rural areas. It also explores ways to create and enhance opportunities for rural youth to realise their potential and contribute significantly to their communities, thereby changing the existing narratives about young people in rural areas. Lastly, the policy brief stresses the importance of considering diverse youth perspectives in policymaking to promote inclusive and sustainable rural development in alignment with the Nordic Vision.
Gen Z Agency: Mobilising young people to strengthen Nordic rural areas – What we did and how we did it
This discussion paper outlines the project Gen Z Agency: Mobilising young people to strengthen Nordic rural areas, highlighting what we did and how we did it when engaging young people to tell us what policy and decision-makers need to do to revitalise Nordic rural areas. The discussion paper emphasizes the significance of understanding the priorities of young people in Nordic rural regions to shape thriving communities. Individuals in their twenties and thirties play a crucial role in the future development of the Nordic region, facing decisions about careers and settlement. The project, “Gen Z Agency,” places young people at its core, aiming to gather their aspirations and solutions for revitalizing rural areas. The Nordic Region’s vision for 2030 focuses on sustainability, integration, and making it the best place for young people. Recognizing youth as rights-holders, the project aligns with the Nordic vision to improve well-being and enable youth to be heard. Youth involvement is crucial for sustainable and inclusive regional development, especially in rural areas facing challenges like an aging population and youth migration. The paper stresses the importance of understanding diverse experiences and perspectives among young people in addressing these challenges. The voices and engagement of young people are central for strengthening Nordic rural areas and promoting their well-being. The project seeks to uncover what is needed for young people to envision a future in rural areas, exploring solutions and enablers for them to live and work there. In pursuing social and environmental sustainability, the active involvement of young people in policy formulation is essential.
From Fields to Futures: 40 action points for rural revitalisation
The Nordic Rural Youth Panel has synthesized a report outlining 40 actionable recommendations for making rural areas in the Nordic region more attractive for young people. The recommendations address the ongoing trend of young people moving to cities, highlighting the need for better public transportation, various housing options, and education that connects to local job markets in rural areas. The panel wants to change the common view that success and a good life can only be found in cities, and highlight the potential and vibrancy of rural areas. The report expands on several key areas: Developed with input from 25 young people across the whole Nordic region, the panel’s recommendations serve as a guide for creating appealing, dynamic, and sustainable rural communities, ensuring young people are at the centre of these efforts.
Youth as partners in the green transition
This policy brief is based on one of Nordregio’s Localising Agenda 2030 webinars. It highlights specific tools and processes employed by Nordic municipalities and NGOs to ensure systematic youth engagement and follow-up at the local level. During the webinar, municipal representatives from Gladsaxe in Denmark, Hafnarfjörður in Iceland, Tierp in Sweden and Korsholm in Finland presented their tested tools and insights, along with two Swedish NGOs: Future Minds and Youth 2030 Movement. The examples in this policy brief on how to involve young people in local development generally target children and young people aged 0-25, and in some cases up to 29 years of age. Two central questions were addressed during the webinar: how to ensure that young people can genuinely influence decisions that affect them; and how to conduct inclusive follow-up work.
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,…
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: Peatland ACTION
Peatland ACTION is a programme delivering peatland restoration projects across Scotland to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. Peatlands are terrestrial wetland environments where the peat – a dark brown substance like soil – is waterlogged for most of the year. 80% of the UK’s peatlands, the majority of which are in Scotland, are estimated to be in poor condition. In their natural state, peatlands represent the single most important terrestrial soil carbon store. Yet, activities such as artificial drainage, forestry, over-grazing and extraction, result in the peatlands emitting carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases (GHG), thereby contributing to climate change. In addition, other benefits of healthy peatlands such as source-water quality, flood management and addressing wildfire risks are much reduced. The UK’s GHG inventory estimates that degraded peatlands are contributing over 15% of Scotland’s GHG emissions. To reverse this trend and ensure that peatlands act as a carbon storage, Peatland ACTION provides funding to land managers to restore peatlands as well as advisory services, project design and restoration management. This storymap was produced as a collaboration between Nordregio and the OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action.
Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling: A Nordic perspective
This policy brief summarises key messages from a webinar series hosted by the Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling (ICMM) project during the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. The main goal of the project was to foster discussions about a new generation of fair and cost-effective climate policies and how relevant integrated macroeconomic models are in the process. Additionally to find collaboration opportunities between experts and policy makers from countries within and outside the Nordics. In the wake of recent climate policy discussions at the EU, Nordic and national levels, the webinars were designed to grow expert and policy-planning knowledge and expand networks among model developers and model users from different Nordic countries. More than 100 experts and policy makers with different backgrounds and profiles have participated in the six technical and policy workshops organised by the project. Ultimately, the ICMM project strives to enhance the capacity of policymakers to develop climate policies that are both sustainable and integrated, aligning with the Nordic region’s “Our Vision 2023” ambition to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world.
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: GreenLab
The GreenLab industrial park in Skive, Denmark, is a best-practice example of a circular economy model and renewable energy utilization. The park integrates renewable energy sources and enables companies to share surplus energy and resources through an intelligent grid called SymbiosisNetTM. It also focuses on turning agricultural waste into valuable resources, reducing carbon emissions, and driving regional development. GreenLab is a research facility that promotes innovation and attracts private investments. The park has created economic, social, and environmental benefits for the local community and serves as a model for green innovation and rural development. The future vision of GreenLab is to become a leading global centre for sustainable energy and expand its impact by advising other regions interested in replicating the model. This storymap was produced as a collaboration between Nordregio and the OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action.
Healthy and sustainable food futures: Policy design for behaviour change
This brief outlines a range of interventions and measures that policymakers can implement within the Nordic food environment to encourage sustainable and healthy food choices. These interventions encompass strategies related to nudging and product design, as well as economic incentives such as implementing taxes and subsidies on specific food categories. By employing these policies, policymakers can effectively govern the food environment and facilitate a shift in consumption patterns towards healthier and more sustainable options.
Facilitating cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region
This publication analyses the formal and informal barriers to developing cross-border transport infrastructure and how these barriers could be reduced. Transport infrastructure, historically, has been a cornerstone for industrialisation, economic growth, regional development and labour market mobility in the Nordic Region. Despite the ambitious Nordic vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world and the increasing need for cross-border transport infrastructure, several studies point to difficulties and challenges regarding the Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The study features interviews with planners on their practical experiences and suggestions for developing well-functioning transport infrastructure. The study includes cases of the fixed HH link between Helsingborg and Helsingør; the Stockholm-Oslo rail link; and the link from Mo i Rana, via Hemavan and Umeå, across the Kvarken Strait to Vaasa. 20 June: How can cross-border planning of the transport infrastructure be strengthened in the Nordic region? The Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning topic will be discussed in the webinar organised by Trafikverket on 20 June. Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and the project manager, will present the study, cross-border challenges and opportunities. The study and planning practices will be discussed by Stefan Engdahl, Planning Director, Maria Öberg, Strategic planner at Trafikverket, and Maria Stockhaus, Member of the Swedish Parliament, member of the Transport Committee and the Nordic Council’s Swedish delegation. The event will be held in Swedish. Registration is open by 20 June. About the project This report is the second and final report in the project titled NORDINFRA – “Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination” (Nordisk transport infrastrukturplanering. Institutionella hinder och möjligheter till samordning) (2021-2023). NORDINFRA is a research project led by Nordregio and conducted by researchers from Nordregio and Umeå University, financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). The aim of…
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.
Electric Aviation Outlook in the Nordics
Regarding geographical accessibility questions, the five Nordic countries stand out in Europe due to their low population density, geographic variety including fjords, lakes, and mountains but also the prominence of sustainable energy sources. Before this backdrop, electric aviation holds the potential to make the region’s transport sector more sustainable while helping to overcome regional development and accessibility challenges, particularly in rural areas. The introduction of electric airplanes in local transport networks promises the reduction inter alia greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. While several options to achieve zero- or low-emission aviation are currently being developed, this report focuses primarily on the electrification of aviation. Yet, electric aircraft still face several technical and economic challenges, including limited range and passenger capacity. Despite these limitations, this working paper highlights a heightened interest in the introduction of electric aviation, exploring the existing situation, challenges and knowledge in the 5 Nordic countries.
Implementing Electric Aviation: Critical Factors and Relevant Policy Instruments
The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. This working paper describes some critical factors that might challenge the further development and establishment of low and zero-emission aviation in Nordic countries. A special focus will be placed on purely electric aviation solutions. The publication is based on a literature review comprising first and foremost reports published in recent years in the Nordic countries, resulting from in-depth studies on low and zero-emission aviation in the region. It further presents possible policy instruments which could serve the creation of a Nordic policy framework to help address the identified challenges and support the implementation of electric aviation and other solutions in the Nordic countries.
Nordic economic policy review 2023
This issue of Nordic Economic Policy Review explores the implications of new EU-wide climate policy in the Nordic countries. All of them have introduced more ambitious targets for abatement than the EU, but are the national targets and measures consistent with the EU’s new Fit for 55 package? If not, how should national policies be made consistent with EU policy? EU directives set targets for national climate policy, but member states are free to choose the means of achieving them. Are national measures to meet targets set by EU directives efficient? If not, how can they be made so? What are the costs and benefits of national climate policy aiming for more stringent targets than those under Fit for 55? We have put these questions to experts on the economics of climate policy in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: Celtic Renewables
Celtic Renewables is an innovative biotech company in Grangemouth, Scotland, that converts whisky production waste into valuable biochemicals as sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals. Their technology has powered the world’s first car fueled by bio-butanol from whisky residues. They aim to replace petrochemicals, decarbonize transportation, and set high sustainability standards. The company creates jobs, contributes to the local economy, and envisions global replication of its technology to convert billions of tonnes of organic waste into valuable resources, driving environmental and economic benefits in a new bio-refining industry.
Innovation Dynamics in Wood Construction in Sweden and Finland
The rapid developments in wood-construction and the huge expectation built around the potential of ‘greening’ the construction sector by replacing concrete and steel with wood provide our empirical ground to study the drivers of innovation. This publication provides the results of a case study on the construction sector transformation process triggered by the emergence of wood-based construction in Sweden and Finland, particularly of multi-storey buildings. We especially aim at reconstructing the micro-processes leading to innovations and breakthroughs in the market. Interviews with a variety of stakeholders have contributed to a reconstruction of a historical overview of some of the main events and drivers decisive for the industry’s development, from far past industrial and policy-driven steppingstones to more recent developments. In our analysis, we zoom into the more granular microprocesses that become evident when examining the interactions between actors within and beyond their formal roles. The publication is one of the outcomes of the project titled “Systems perspectives on Green Innovation (GRINGO)” that explores the bottlenecks to innovation and the green transition from a systemic perspective. The project focuses on uncovering the links between agency and innovation, particularly regarding the role of different ‘change agents’ in driving transition processes. The previous step of the project consisted on exploring key concepts, their application, and their theoretical foundations within innovation and policy traditions. It concluded in the Discussion Paper: A conceptual review on the systems perspectives on green innovation, published in September 2022. The paper touches upon the academic discussion that has developed around the drivers of innovation. The debate breaks away from the simplistic structure-agency divide, which attributes causality either to structures (rules-of-the-game) or agency (actors), to consider the complex interplay between actors, formal and informal institutions, and contextual conditions determining innovation. These theoretical perspectives then guided the second step of the…
The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda: Governance and engagement (2021-2022)
The Nordic countries have continuously ranked at the top of international assessments with regards to SDG implementation. This does not mean, however, that sustainable development in the Nordic Region has been fully achieved. Each country continues to face numerous challenges, including unsustainable consumption and production patterns, the effects of a changing climate, as well as rebalancing our societies after multiple crises marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery, energy supply shortages in Europe and the war in Ukraine. This report describes central policy decisions, actors and national structures in ongoing SDG work, and highlights inspiring examples of national networks and societal participation. Where information about more recent action has not been available, other supplementary aspects have been added, hence overlaps in the national chapters occur. The publication follows the report The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda from 2021, which looked at the ways in which national structures, action plans, monitoring and reporting along with international efforts for the SDGs took place across the region. Since the nature of this work changes in the respective countries from year to year, the purpose of this edition is to update and compile an overview of the 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region with relevant and accessible information. New to this edition are the sections on regional and local activities, work which lies at the core of accomplishing the global goals and targets, while also strengthening the Nordic countries’ leadership and grassroots involvement, leaving no one behind.
Accessibility study for electric aviation
Which routes in the Nordics would benefit most from using electric aviation? The accessibility study compared travel times of various routes by the electric aircraft and the fastest transport mode currently in use. This was done to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. Explore the results in the storymap. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. Citizens in some of these regions have limited access to public services, work opportunities and the larger national and international transport system. In addition, companies and public administrations have difficulty attracting skills to the regions. The geographical characteristics of some of these areas, such as large bodies of water, vast forest areas, long coastal lines, mountain ranges and fjords, limit mobility to and from these areas. Poor road quality or limited public transport also worsen the situation. Some of these places are therefore more accessible by airplane than by other modes of transport and would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplane as compared to other modes of transport, such as train, bus or car. However, the expansion of the aviation system varies among the Nordic countries. This accessibility study is a part of the project Electric Aviation and the Effect on Nordic Regions , which aims to investigate how regions and local areas in the Nordic area will be affected by the implementation of electric aviation. One of these aims is to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. This accessibility study will therefore investigate which routes benefit most in terms of time saved travelling from one point to another using electric aircrafts in comparison to the current fastest transport mode.