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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.

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…

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.

Klimatomställningen och relationen stad och land

Denna rapport syftar till att ge ett kunskapsunderlag om hur stad och landsbygd i Norden påverkas av klimatomställningen och vilken effekt detta har på sammanhållningen i Norden. Trots skillnader mellan stad och land när det gäller befolkningsutveckling, utbildning och inkomst, ser vi att utvecklingen skiljer sig mer mellan olika typer av städer och olika typer av landsbygder än mellan stad och land i sig. Det är i allt väsentligt dessa ekonomiska utvecklingsmönster som skapar olika förutsättningar för att leva och verka i olika delar av Norden. Vi finner här mycket lite som indikerar att polariseringen mellan stad och land generellt ökar. Däremot ser vi att inkomstskillnaderna inom kommunerna ökar, vilket pekar på att det snarare är skillnaderna mellan olika socio-ekonomiska grupper i samhället som ökar än skillnaderna mellan stad och land. Vi finner också indikationer på att tilliten till samhällets institutioner är minskande hos socio-ekonomiskt svagare grupper i samhället, samt hos dem som redan har låg tillit till samhället.Europeisk forskning kring den så kallade missnöjets geografi (geography of discontent) visar att en ökad andel röster på antietablissemangspartier,framförallt uppstår i områden med långvarig ekonomisk nedgång. Åtgärder som syftar till att minska koldioxidutsläppen, till exempel ökad beskattning av fossila bränslen för transporter, ökad andel fossilfri el och vindkraft, eller åtgärder för att öka konsumtionen av utsläppsfria och resurseffektiva varor och tjänster, kan få olika effekter – både positiva och negativa – för olika sociala grupper och för invånare i stad och på landsbygd. För att få en bättre förståelse för effekterna av klimatpolitiska åtgärder, finns behov av mer systematiska genomlysningar av hur klimatpolitiken slår mot olika geografiska områden och/ eller sociala grupper i samhället. De nordiska regionerna är här en relevant analysnivå för att analyseraklimatpolitikens effekter, men regionerna är också en viktig aktör i klimatomställningen – med närhet till invånarna och vana…

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…

Nordic Population in 2040 – Executive summary

How strong is the urbanization trend in the Nordics in the long haul? Will the rural areas be depopulated by 2040? This is the executive summary of the report The Nordic Population in 2040 – Analysis of past and future demographic trends. The findings show that the rural areas in the Nordic region face several demographic challenges, but at the same time the rural future does not seem as grim as often predicted. The population and the working age population will continue to grow in the Nordic Region, but the fastest growth will occur in the old-age dependency ratio challenging the Nordic welfare model with a growing group of pensioners compared to the working age population. The report is divided into three sections: projections of total urban and rural populations, projections of the age structure of the population, and projections of the working age populations. If the expected future differs from what is desired, policy interventions can be designed and implemented to attempt to achieve the desired population outcome. This research examines the future size and age composition of the populations in the Nordic region at the national, regional, and municipal levels. The national statistical offices of all the Nordic countries and autonomous areas regularly produce projections of their populations which differ in detail, assumptions, and length of the projection period. To allow comparison across the Nordic regions, a typology of urban and rural regions is used with five different types of regions 1) predominantly urban regions, 2) intermediate regions, close to a city 3) intermediate regions, remote 4) predominantly rural regions, close to a city and 5) predominantly rural regions, remote. This classification is adopted from the OECD and is used throughout the report. In depth analysis can be found in the original report The Nordic Population in 2040…

Policies and measures for speeding up labour market integration of refugees in the Nordic region: A knowledge overview

It takes on average five to ten years for a refugee to find work in the Nordic countries. As social inclusion is closely linked to successful labour market integration, and as during this period the refugee represents a cost to society, the question of how to ensure access to the labour market has been a prominent issue on the political agenda. Since the countries show both differences and similarities in their migration policies and practical solutions, the question is how we can learn from each other. In 2016 the Nordic Council of Ministers initiated a co-operation programme designed to support the national efforts on integration of refugees and immigrants. The Nordic Welfare Centre has the overall responsibility for the main project “Nordic collaboration on integration of refugees and migrants” in close collaboration with Nordregio. The aim of the project is to serve as an idea bank on the integration area, to map out existing knowledge and research, and to expand our common knowledge base on integration. This report was produced by Nordregio on behalf of the Nordic Welfare Centre and is the result of a comparative study of policies and measures in place in the countries for achieving more efficient labour market integration of refugees. A short version of the report is also available as a policy brief (in Swedish). Read more about the Nordic integration project at www.integrationnorden.org

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…