Strengthening cross-border communities: Lessons from Covid-19

Cross-border regions across the Nordics and beyond are facing challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the web conference “Strengthening cross-border communities: Lessons from Covid-19”, representatives from European and Nordic institutions will discuss the short- and long-term impacts of Covid-19 in cross-border regions. The results of recent studies in the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund regions will be presented and refined during the conference – with your help.

Cross-border activities came dramatically to a halt in the spring of 2020 as a result of measures adopted to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. On a macro level, the interruption of flows of people and goods added significant stress on every aspect of community life, as well as challenging the supply and accessibility to key goods and services. Bi-national communities, used to a borderless daily life, suddenly experienced hard borders. These communities were divided by inward-looking national measures put in place without considering the nature of border communities.  Collaboration across borders is being tested, but also the resilience and viability of cross-border community living. This highlights the need for raising more awareness of the consequences and risks of hard borders for these communities, and what instruments may be developed to ensure the long-term resilience of cross-border regions.

Web conference

With this web conference, Nordregio together with the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund cross-border committees aim to stimulate learning among stakeholders from across Nordic border regions, and open up for a discussion on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in a short- and long term perspective. We will share results from research conducted on behalf of the Nordic Thematic Group of Innovative and Resilient Regions – including a not yet published report on Covid-19 implications where we seek your input on the conclusions.

Guests speakers

Among others, the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretariat are invited to provide a wider perspective on the challenges and opportunities for cross-border regions.

Studies on cross-border regions

The Nordic Thematic Group on Innovative and Resilient regions has undertaken four cross-border studies in the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund cross-border regions in 2017-2020. These cover themes such as economic and social resilience, digitalisation, skills supply, and governance. In light of the global pandemic, the thematic group initiated a study on the effects resulting from the measures adopted. The preliminary findings of this study will be presented in the event and the feedback from the sessions will help to strengthen the results.


Note: the web conference starts 12:00 (Swedish time) / 13:00 (Finnish time)


Jukka Teräs, Secretary of the Nordic Thematic Group on Innovative and Resilient Regions 
Keynote: A Pan-European Perspective on Cross-border threats and opportunities:  
Martin Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary-General, Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)
Future of cross-border collaboration in the Nordic Countries  
Ann-Sofi Backgren, SLF: The Association of Rural Advisory centres and Chair of AEBR 
A Nordic perspective
Sandra Forsén, Freedom of Movement Secretariat, Nordic Council of Ministers  
Coffee break
Key findings of cross-border projects in Bothnian Arc and Svinesund (inc. Covid impacts & future) 

Heikki Aalto, Bothnian Arc Committee 
Alberto Giacometti, Nordregio  

Elsie Hellström, Svinesundkommittén 
Mari Wøien Meijer, Nordregio 
Breakout session: discussion on threats and opportunities to cross-border resilience
Wrap-up learnings from group discussions 
Closing words

Welcome to the cross-border web conference hosted by the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund committees and Nordregio on behalf of the Nordic Thematic Group on Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020.

Publications on cross-border issues

Report 2019: Social and Economic Resilience in the Bothnian Arc Cross-Border Region

What global and local risks and long-term challenges is the Bothnian Arc cross-border area exposed to? And how can societies and economies in this area anticipate and respond to them to ensure resilient long-term development paths? This report provides a background overview of resilience and the methodology applied. Moreover, the report provides a snapshot of the resilience situation in the Bothnian Arc. The data and information gathered were collected by interviewing local people both in Swedish and Finnish sides.

Report 2019: Is the coast clear? The role of digitalization for enabling blue growth in the cross-border region of Svinesund

Digitalization is impacting various facets of society and holds great potential in radically changing the ways businesses are operating. Despite these radical changes, little has been said about the impact of digitalization on micro-, small and medium-sized businesses within the marine sector. This study explores what role digitalization plays in the context of business development and growth in the marine sector in the Svinesund area; the different challenges and opportunities that surface in this context; and what role the Svinesund mega-region may play for the future of blue growth.

Report 2020: Skills supply and governance in the Bothnian Arc cross-border region

This study investigates the state of play of skills supply and demand in the Bothnian Arc cross-border region. Empirical evidence is gathered to shed light on some of the reasons behind the present and future challenges in meeting the demand for skills supply.

Policy brief 2020: Strengthening regional resilience through adaptive collaboration: A case study on the fisheries co-management Northern Bohuslän

This policy brief examines how co-management arrangements within small-scale fisheries can play a key role in enhancing sectoral and regional resilience. Despite major challenges, “multi-stakeholder collaborations” – such as co-management – demonstrate the potential for innovative knowledge transfer and strategic adaptation processes within the fisheries sector. The focus here is on Co-management Northern Bohuslän (Samförvaltning Norra Bohuslän), which promotes sustainable local fisheries and blue growth on Sweden’s west coast.