Nordregio Researcher on the Swedish Science Radio: how to protect our seas
How can marine protected area establishment be promoted to support the fulfillment of the Swedish “30 by 30″ ambition to protect marine biodiversity? Why is there only one marine national park so far, even if 30 years ago several areas were proposed? How can the conflicts that often arise against nature protection be addressed in a constructive way? These are the questions that Andrea Morf, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio and scientific coordinator at the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, has analysed. The researcher discussed these issues and possibilities on the Swedish Science Radio and with local fishers of the Co-Management Initiative Northern Bohuslän. The world’s biological diversity and related ecosystem services are threatened both on land and at sea. The United Nations and the European Union are discussing how to protect significantly more nature than before, at least 30 percent of the entire planet’s surface. Also in Swedish waters, there are numerous proposals, some over 30 years old, such as those for new marine national parks, where so far only the Koster Sea marine National park on the west coast has been established. “There is an urgent need to understand and address conflicts and resistance that often meet initiatives for environmental protection,” says Morf. Together with colleagues from Luleå Technical University and Södertörn University, the researcher has been exploring the enablers and obstacles to establishing new marine protected areas by the example of three marine national park proposals in Sweden: Koster, Nämdö and Sankt Anna. Koster national park was established in 2009, Nämdö is under development, and Sankt Anna has other protection than a national park. According to Morf, important enablers include shared and trusted knowledge, dialogue and mutual learning, skilled facilitation, time and resources for such a process, strong drivers bringing the different key actors to the table, and all of this…
Nordregio at GreenLab Summit 2022
Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, will participate at GreenLab Summit 2022 presenting on the topic “Rural Development and Just Green Transition”. GreenLab is a green and circular energy park, a technology enabler, and a national research facility. It is specialized in accelerating research and technology to scale, and its concept transforms the way green energy is produced, converted, stored, and applied. GreenLab tests theories in practice and looks for viable green solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. This year, the program of the summit focuses on how to create green growth, rural development, and a just green transition through industrial symbioses and energy innovation. At Nordregio, we have collaborated with GreenLab on several projects on bio-economy including the BioBaltic project. Nordregio has also had a joint event together with GreenLab and OECD at COP26 in Glasgow. Read more about the GreenLab Summit 2022 here.
Ministers: “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. “
What’s required for Nordic rural areas to be attractive places to live, settle and work in? The Nordic ministers responsible for regional policy want to know how young people in sparsely populated areas would answer that question. At the Minister’s meeting on the 10th of May, Nordregio’s two research projects were discussed: essential services in rural areas and remote work. The ministers reviewed new innovative solutions that are emerging around the Nordic Region to safeguard essential services in sparsely populated areas. At the meeting, the ministers also brought with them examples from their countries on new ways of safeguarding the public and private services, thereby increasing public confidence that it’s possible to invest, live, and work in sparsely populated areas. “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. Throughout the Nordic Region, we’re seeing interesting examples of grouping services into service points and that new digital services are making everyday life easier for rural residents. It gives people security and is a prerequisite for them to be able to live wherever they want,” says Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, Norway’s Minister of Local Government and Regional Development and host of the Nordic ministerial meeting on 10 May. The distance to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, library, or school gradually increases the closer you live to the northern borders of Sweden and Finland, and the further west from Copenhagen you live in Denmark. In Norway, the geographical patterns aren’t as clear, but even here there are large differences between the municipalities in sparsely populated areas and large cities. A new knowledge overview Essential rural services in the Nordic Region by Nordregio describes the fundamental need for services in rural areas in the Nordic Region and was the basis for the ministers’ discussion. Swedish service points and Danish education for…
What will be the future of remote work post-pandemic?
– Evidence suggests that increased remote work is here to stay, but a large-scale shift towards a “remote first” mindset looks unlikely, says Senior Research Fellow Linda Randall from Nordregio. She is the lead author of Nordic Knowledge Overview on remote work published this week. The mindset matters when considering the effects of remote work for different places; influencing the extent to which workers can distance themselves from their workplaces. At the same time, we do see some evidence of spatial changes. The number of daily commuters is still well below pre-pandemic levels and migration patterns suggest increased attractiveness of outer urban municipalities, smaller cities, and rural areas within commuting distance of larger cities. From a planning perspective, a range of interesting questions emerges regarding the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of increased remote work. – Most workers do not have the possibility to work remotely and, even for those who do, the advantages and disadvantages will differ between groups. An increasing tendency to split one’s time between two or more municipalities calls into question existing frameworks around taxation and service provision, Randall continues. While remote work may reduce the need for travel, more knowledge is needed about the indirect impacts before assuming favourable environmental outcomes overall. The Nordic knowledge overview was the first part of the project and now you have a chance to get involved and be part of our study’s next part: How is increased remote work effecting your municipality or region? Let us know here (you can answer in English or any Nordic language): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/planningandremotework This report is the first outcome of the project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024. The project is part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning.
Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities
Nordregio Senior Researchers, Nora Sanchez Gassen and John Moodie, will present the key overall policy findings and recommendations from the ESPON Covid-19 project in a digital workshop “Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities”. The workshop brings together the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), associations of local and regional governments, and other networks together, in an interactive process designed to: ✓ Discuss and share information on regional policy responses to the crisis; ✓ Learn about innovative good practice policies that emerged during the pandemic; ✓ Assess project recommendations (policy, governance, territorial and financial) that can help regions recover from the crisis and build resilience in the future. The ESPON Covid-19 project aims to analyze the geographical patterns and territorial impacts of the pandemic across the EU and examine the regional and local level policy response to the crisis. It also investigates whether the crisis presented a window of opportunity for local actors to promote specific regional policy and planning goals/strategies in relation to the just transition, green transition and smart transition. Join the workshop on Wednesday 11th May at 14:00. Find more information about it and register here.
Self-sufficiency of food production in five Nordic islands
Of the five Nordic islands surveyed, the most self-sufficient is Åland, and the least self-sufficient is Bornholm. The degree of self-sufficiency is important for crisis preparedness and for thriving rural areas – but what does it mean for sustainability? This issue is being investigated in a new report. The report maps self-sufficiency in food production in five Nordic island communities, i.e. how much of the food consumed by the islands has also been produced there. At one end of the spectrum, we have Åland with a varied production of milk and cheese, potatoes and barley, fish and vegetables. At the other end is Bornholm, with little by way of high-quality vegetable production, but also large exports of pigs. Iceland falls between the two, with the second-highest degree of self-sufficiency, followed by the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Read the report: Self-sufficiency in food production in five Nordic island communities Locally produced = sustainable? The basic issue examined in the report is whether greater self-sufficiency in food production also makes food systems more sustainable. “The answer depends on what is produced and how. If local food production requires a lot of space, energy, and water, it may be more sustainable to produce it elsewhere. Local and sustainable food production can’t be seen as equal,” says Louise Ormstrup Vestergård, project manager and researcher at the Nordic research institute Nordregio. Polarised discussion Historically, there have been political arguments for increasing self-sufficiency, so that a country doesn’t become too dependent on others. On the other side of the coin, there are economic arguments for completely open borders. But what about sustainability? “I don’t think that either sustainability or the robustness of food systems would benefit from switching to 100% local production. It can become both socially and environmentally unsustainable if you have too high a…