Nordic rural areas: Just tools or true beneficiaries in green energy projects?
Green transitions in the Nordics are reshaping the landscape of renewable energy and sustainability. As the push for green transitions grows stronger, rural communities face a question: Are they just tools for national objectives, or do they genuinely benefit from these changes? A new Nordregio report delves deep into the heart of the matter, examining the dynamics of justice, local value, and the role of renewable energy projects. Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway 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. Big decisions about green energy often overlook what locals really need. Unrealistic…
Zooming in on Gen Z: What’s next for the Nordic Region?
The upcoming Nordregio Forum 2023, set to take place in Reykjavík and online in October, turns the spotlight on the young generation of the Nordic region. This year’s forum aims to delve into the perspectives of young Nordics, as they navigate career choices, sustainability challenges, and where to settle down. The choices of these young individuals will significantly influence the Nordic region’s future development. Given this, understanding their aspirations, mobility trends, and views on sustainability is crucial for integrating their perspectives into effective policymaking and planning. During the event, young representatives participate in panel discussions to elevate the opinions of youth on topics such as ‘Youth as partners in the green transition – building sustainable communities’ and ‘What does GenZ need to stay in the Nordics? Nordregio Forum serves as an essential gathering for professionals and policymakers in the Nordic countries, offering a platform to discuss regional, rural, and urban development, share knowledge, and influence policy agendas. “This year’s Nordregio Forum is not just about recognizing the fresh ideas from our youth. It’s crucial we bring them to the decision-making table, ensuring their voices are not just heard but are influential. We are actively working with them for a sustainable Nordic future”, says Rolf Elmér, Director of Nordregio. The event is slated for October 17th, 2023, with physical participation at Iðnó in Reykjavík, while a broader audience can join online. As youth prepare to shape the region’s direction, the forum presents a unique chance to listen to their voices and weave their insights into upcoming strategies. Registration is currently open for those keen to join the dialogue and shape the Nordic region’s path forward. Summary of Nordregio Forum 2023 Programme: Opening remarks by the moderator and Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, the Icelandic Minister of Infrastructure Session 1: Entering the Nordic labour market…
Are tenures between owning and renting a solution for those struggling to enter the housing market?
Skyrocketing housing prices mean that those who wish to buy a home - either because they have an explicit wish to own their home or because they do not get access to the rental market – often have to save up large sums for a down payment. This might be a challenge for young people and others with limited savings, such as lone parents, divorcees and pensioners. In a first publication in the Oslo Metropolitan University-led project Strategic Housing, a joint study between Nordregio and KTH looks into Swedish housing models between renting and owning. Two shared ownership and two cooperative rental models are analysed from legal and economic perspectives to see to what extent and subject to what risks these intermediary tenures add to housing opportunities of lower and mid-income groups. Findings indicate that buyers benefitting from the models are mainly medium-income households without large enough savings to buy into the regular housing market. For these households, the concepts might be an opportunity to access housing they could otherwise not aspire to. However, legal and financial literacy among buyers is partly limited, which should be addressed as far as possible by developers going forward. Further, legal considerations in relation to agreements in the shared ownership models and untested new variants of cooperative rental might arise as models are used and tested in the coming years. The obstacles preventing developers from expanding the concepts, mainly access to land and financing, can only be addressed by interested municipalities and financial institutions. An extensive information effort by developers and successful projects are probably needed to move towards recognition and institutionalization of the concepts. The full research paper has been published open access in the Nordic Journal of Urban Studies. Hear Anna Granath Hansson in the radio programme Plånboken on P1 and Bopolpodden.
How to boost labour market mobility across the Nordics?
Did you know that less than 2% work in another Nordic country than the one where they were born, and only 0.5 % commute over a Nordic border for work? The opportunity to work in another Nordic country has existed for over 70 years. However, the labour market mobility in the Nordic region is lower than the EU average. “Cross-border labour market mobility is extensive in certain areas, for example, the Öresund region. To achieve the Nordic vision, labour market mobility should be facilitated on a much larger scale,” says Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. To understand the phenomenon better, Nordregio researchers analysed the labour market mobility, opportunities and obstacles in various ways – through publicly available statistics, interviews with people with labour market experience across the Nordics and a workshop including policymakers. “Everyone seems to know the benefits and great possibilities of Nordic labour mobility. The policymakers are also familiar with the main obstacles that relevant stakeholders at the border regions have pointed out for years. Still, a political commitment at the highest levels seems lacking regarding Nordic mobility. In times of crisis, this becomes particularly clear,” says Ágúst Bogason, one of the researchers behind the study. He bases this assumption on the results of close to 40 interviews with relevant stakeholders on both sides of three Nordic border regions. What’s the scope of the Nordic competence mobility? Why do Nordic people choose to work in another Nordic country? The story map “Competence Mobility” examines why people choose to work in another Nordic country and why not. Welcome to explore facts about the Nordic labour market mobility and stories of people experiencing Nordic labour market mobility in Greater Copenhagen, Greenland and Vestfold Telemark. How could policies steer the Nordic labour market mobility? About the project The project…
Nordic transport infrastructure: how to strengthen the cross-border planning?
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. Nordregio and Umeå University researchers conducted a project analysing how to strengthen the cross-border planning practices across the Nordics, based on interviews with transport infrastructure planners and the desk study comparing planning systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The project results will be presented and discussed on 20 June in the webinar organised by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). Cross-border transport planning experiences in the Nordics 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 NORDINFRA (Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination) is a research project that aims to increase knowledge about cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region. The project sets out not only to identify barriers to cross-border transport infrastructure planning but also to highlight opportunities and propose measures to facilitate cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The project is led by Nordregio and conducted…
Launch of the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region
The Nordic and Baltic countries are among the most digitalised and innovative in the world. To leverage our competitive advantage, the ambition is for the region to continue its digital integration. Our vision for the Nordic-Baltic region is that it becomes the most integrated region in the world. To achieve this, collaboration on digital solutions is essential. Welcome to the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region! While many successful projects, use cases and trials are already taking place in the Nordic-Baltic region within digital development and integration, access to information is difficult to get and is scattered over several means of dissemination. “We identified a need to showcase more of what is being done when addressing these questions, in a common platform, to enable existing knowledge to be shared and to become more accessible. With these considerations in mind, the Nordic-Baltic Digital Hub was initiated”, says Nordregio researcher Ana de Jesus. The Nordic-Baltic DigiHub is a shared platform that showcases the projects “Digital inclusion in action” and “The Nordic-Baltic 5G monitoring tool” funded by The Nordic Council of Ministers and run by Nordregio. “The hub aims to promote collaboration, digital integration, and sustainable development in the region by sharing knowledge, tools, research, and facilitating exchanges among stakeholders. It focuses on addressing key questions related to emerging digital technologies, environmental impact, societal challenges, and aligning innovation with societal needs”, says Nordregio researcher Nicola Wendt-Lucas. The goal is to support a green, competitive, and socially sustainable digital transformation in the Nordic and Baltic countries, in line with their vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world by 2030.
Exploring the Nordic electric aviation horizon
Nordic countries have ambitious plans and commitments to promote sustainable flight solutions by introducing electric aircraft for short-haul domestic and cross-border flights. How far is it becoming a reality? What infrastructure, policies, interests and concerns are a help or hindrance? Join the discussion about the Nordic electric aviation development, inspired by three newly conducted Nordregio studies in collaboration with Nordic Energy Research and the University of Akureyri. Which Nordic routes will be the first to go electric? Earlier this year, Nordregio published an accessibility study that identified over 200 potential electric aviation routes in the Nordics. This would significantly cut travel time compared to those going by both car or public transportation and yet be a more sustainable mobility solution. However, the feasibility of introducing the necessary infrastructure crucially depends on energy demands and availability. What stands in the way of electric aviation in the Nordics? The Nordic countries are known for their low population density, breathtaking geography with fjords, lakes, and mountains, and a strong focus on sustainable energy. However, each country’s context varies. Take Finland, for example. Electric aviation could improve connections to remote areas and improve regional competitiveness and tourism, yet substantial investments will be needed. Norway could reduce the environmental impact of travels connected to medical care, family and recreation. In Iceland, support for electric aviation is strong, both for environmental reasons and to further regional development. At the same time, an important concern is electrical safety. “It is exciting how soon electric aviation could become a reality in domestic flights in the Nordic countries. For instance, Icelandair has stated that the 30-seat electric airplane, developed by Heart Aerospace, could be used on all domestic routes, and it is estimated that it will be used for passenger transport in 2028,” says Sæunn Gísladóttir, Researcher at the University of Akureyri Research…
Gender Equality in the Blue Economy
Captain Sigríður Ólafsdóttir Twenty years ago several studies in Iceland revealed that women‘s access to decision making on natural resource extraction related to fishery management was inequal disfavoring women. No women were involved in the transformation of the fishery management system by being appointed to committees of officials engaged in the work or implementation. In spite of a long history of marine female experts, their role was not visible or officially decisive. The fishery sector is an occupational world where males have reigned. Across the circumpolar Arctic there is a long tradition for the perception that it is difficult to find decisive women to engage in public committees for the sector, and that very few women are shareholders within the fishery sector, not as quotaholders nor as owners of companies, if they were present it was primarily through pension funds (Sloan et.al 2004, Karlsdóttir, 2004). Gender presence in public bodies related to fisheries and aquaculture in Iceland, 2004 Examples of governmental bodies Total number of female staff Thereof, female Researchers, experts Total number of male staff Thereof, male Researchers, experts Ministry of Fisheries 11 0 10 1 The Marine research.Inst. 42 4 84 5 Icelandic fisheries lab. 34 5 20 2 Directorate of fisheries 20 0 74 1 Ministry of Agriculture 14 0 10 1 Directorate of freshw. fisheries – – 2-5 1 Inst.of freshwater fisheries 5 2 13 7 Processed from various public sources combined with interviews 1 August 2004 (Karlsdóttir, 2004). However, we are now in 2023 – things might have changed. Administrative changes have also happened in the meantime. Examples of governmental bodies Total number of female staff Thereof, female Researchers, experts Total number of male staff Thereof, male Researchers, experts Ministry of food 27 9 29 13 Marine and Freshwater research.Inst.* 63 41 112 45 Directorate…
Why is it so hard to switch to healthier diets?
We need to eat healthier and more sustainably – we know that. But why is it so hard to change behaviour? This was the topic when nearly 150 professionals gathered for a Nordic workshop to discuss and brainstorm ideas for effective measures to facilitate change, focusing on possible policies that can be implemented to improve food choices and dietary habits. The interest in the workshop “Behaviour change for sustainable food consumption” was huge and nearly 150 people from all over the Nordics gathered both physically and online to learn and discuss behaviour change in diets. For one afternoon, the participants could dive into the theme in the company of several speakers: Michael Minter (CONCITO’s Food Program), Therese Lindahl (Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics), Pierre Chandon (European Institute for Business Administration), Minna Kaljonen (Finnish Environment Institute), Alexander Dubois (Formas) and Rasmus Lillelund Lovring and Jeppe Deleuran Kristensen (Aarhus municipality). Less meat and more plant-based meal options We are facing several sustainability challenges. Four out of nine planetary boundaries are already crossed: biodiversity, biochemical flows, land use and climate change. In the future, we must feed more people on less land. The single most important transformation is shifting diets. This was highlighted by Michael Minter from the think tank CONCITO. The key elements in the food transition are eating less meat and dairy, eating more vegetables and fruits and introducing new plant-based products. The key drivers in the shift are research, education, opinion-building, retail, the food industry and agriculture. When shifting to more sustainable and healthy diets, we must also focus on a just transition. Minna Kaljonen from the Finnish Environment Institute highlighted that the broad societal changes needed will have significant social, economic and cultural effects. Some changes might seem unfair to the farmers and the consumers. “The societal discussion space…
Which electric aviation routes would be most beneficial in the Nordics?
Nordregio launched the accessibility study that identifies over 200 routes in the Nordics in which electric aviation would shorten the travel time by at least 1,5 times, compared to the same route by car or public transport! A Norwegian fisherman Bjørn has just returned to Tromsø after his winter fishing in Andenes. It was supposed to take around 7 hours by car to bring the Atlantic cod home, but since the winter conditions were not the best, it took him much longer than expected. If there were an electric plane route connecting Andenes and Tromsø, the travel time and distance would shorten significantly (from nearly 500km to around 100km), and the environmental impact of such a trip would be reduced. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural 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 mean that they would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplanes compared to other modes of transport, such as car, bus or train. About the project 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. The study analyses effects on the local communities, labour market, environment and climate, and the need for developing infrastructure and policies.
New Secretary General Karen Ellemann visits Nordregio
“Just going up the stairs, gives a great impression – I love to see maps, how you visualise all the research projects that you do,“ says Karen Ellemann, new Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, on her first visit to Nordregio. Karen Ellemann started her new prime position on the 2 of January 2023. She has previously been Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Nordic Co-operation in her native Denmark, and also a member of the Nordic Council. During her first 100 days as Secr. General, she aims to visit and familiarise herself with all Nordic institutions across the Nordic countries. “It is my first priority, to get to know the Nordic family, to listen, and get smarter. And strengthen the cooperation between us all,” Ellemann adds. Nordregio’s research spans a variety of topics within regional development, including timely issues such as green transition, rural service provision, competence mobility, and social inclusion. Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, presented the institute and its role in the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development, coordinating and conducting research for three thematic groups of policymakers within urban, rural and regional development. Senior Research Fellows Carlos Tapia, Nora Sánchez Gassen and Anna Lundgren then presented our current portfolio of green transition projects, all aiming for inclusion. See more information about the projects here: https://nordregio.org/research-topics/green-transition/# As final remarks, Karen Ellemann highlighted her ambition for the coming years: to create a stronger and more solution-oriented Nordic collaboration and succeed in communicating the results and impact of this work. “We need to focus on output, improve our Nordic storytelling, and remove the most harmful obstacles against the common Nordic labour market,” she concluded.
- 2023 January
- Nordic Region
Longing for a cultural Christmas holiday? Going on a trip above the Arctic circle might be a good idea!
Are you late with your Christmas presents this year and wondering what to get? No time to knit your loved ones a personalized Christmas sweater? The answer to your panic could be a cultural experience. But where? Nordregio’s new map showing access to culture will guide you to the hidden gems in the Nordics! After several years of Covid restrictions with not much to do, we are eager to go out and about to experience some culture during the Christmas holiday. Nordregio has ranked the Nordic municipalities according to their accessibility to culture – in this case, a cinema or a museum. The map shows where the population, on average, has under 10 km to a cinema or a museum. This is considered to be “good” according to Nordic standards. In the Nordics, access to culture is not limited to big cities. The map highlights top-performing rural municipalities where people on average have less than 5 km to a cinema or a museum. So, what can we say about combining cultural experiences with rural cosiness? Well, going for a trip above the Arctic circle might be a good idea! The Norwegian municipality Berlevåg with the best overall ranking, can on average offer you a museum or cinema experience in less than 2.14 km from your home. So how come, what does Berlevåg do to be such a culture-friendly place? When zooming in on the town with 906 habitants, it becomes pretty evident that its cinematic history plays an important part… In 2001, the Norwegian film director Knut Erik Jensen made a documentary film about the men’s choir in the town, Berlevåg Mannsangsforening. The movie was called Heftig og begeistret, which means Cool and Crazy, and it became a big hit in the country. Apparently, the cinematic love is still going strong! The cool and crazy municipality of Berlevåg knows how…
- 2022 December
- Nordic Region
Locally produced energy: Solar energy on the rooftops in Nacka and a windmill park in Bornholm
The project Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems explores how local engagement can facilitate the transition towards green energy production. In this article, you can take a deep dive into two of the project’s cases: a housing cooperation in Nacka, Sweden, with an annual production of up to 500,000-540,000 kWh from solar panels, and an offshore windmill park in Bornholm, Denmark, with the aim to make the whole island self-sufficient on renewable energy. The project has conducted field research during 2022, and below, you can read about two of the cases: Igelbodaplatån in Nacka, Sweden, and Bornholms havvind in Bornholm, Denmark. Igelblodaplatån, Nacka The housing cooperative Brf Igelbodaplatån in Nacka, Sweden, was constructed in the late 1960s and consists of about 450 apartments. In the past decade, it has undergone a few energy projects, among others, an installation of solar panels on all six housing units’ rooftops in 2020. In total, it produces up to 500,000-540,000 kWh per year. Brf Igelbodaplatån is the 52nd-largest facilitation of solar energy production in all of Sweden. All households in the housing cooperatives jointly owns the housing cooperative which means that all residents together own the energy projects such as the solar panel production through their indirect ownership in their apartments. Bornholms Havvind On the Danish island of Bornholm, a group of local citizens has initiated a large-scale renewable energy project: Bornholms Havvind: 100% lokalt- og folkeejet – Bornholm Offshore Wind: 100% locally and citizen-owned. The goal is to establish a 100 MW offshore windmill park off the coast of Bornholm that will be 100% owned by local citizens, companies, and organizations. The aim is to make the island, with around 40.000 citizens, self-sufficient in renewable energy, where the projected increase of energy consumption in the years to come is taken into account. With…
5G applications in public services: What to envision for Nordic-Baltic cross-border collaboration?
As part of the 5G Techritory Forum in Riga on 29-30 November, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Digitalisation and Nordregio arranged a session dedicated to Nordic-Baltic collaboration on the 5G rollout. Nordregio researchers Ana de Jesus and Oskar Penje were there to present the 5G Nordic-Baltic Monitoring tool project and to gather the project reference group. The 5G Techritory Forum gathered over 2000 participants online and physically to meet leaders and policymakers to discuss the 5G ecosystem trends and co-create the industry’s future. The session “5G applications in public services: What to envision for Nordic-Baltic cross-border collaboration” was hosted by Stefan Eriksson, head of the Nordic Council of Minister’s office in Riga. Project manager Oskar Penje talked about the 5G ecosystem and trends in the Nordic-Baltic countries. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Heidi Himmanen (Chief Adviser, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom), including Annika Svensson (Project Manager, Luleå University of Technology), Markku Niemi (Business Tampere), and Elīna Lidere (Latvijas Mobilais Telefons). Different perspectives were shared as Annika Svensson gave her views on 5G innovations in sparsely populated areas, Markku Niemi discussed 5G as a cornerstone for smart cities, and Elīna Lidere added to the debate on creating connected and data-driven cities using 5G technology. Some of the overarching questions addressed were: What can 5G offer to public services in the Nordic-Baltic countries? What are the benefits for society? What are the success factors in building partnerships and collaborations in 5G? What are the main barriers and limitations to further collaboration? The session is available here. Also, don’t miss the interview with Annika Svensson and Heidi Himmanen. There is a need to showcase more of what is being developed 5G has real benefits for society and solves real problems. It can empower more efficient and…
Urban challenges in the green transition hashed out during Nordregio Forum 2022
How can we use urban planning to create greener, healthier, and more inclusive cities? This was the core question explored on the second day of the annual Nordregio Forum hosted last week in the Innlandet region of Norway. More than 130 Nordic professionals and policymakers came together in the budding town of Hamar, which is known for its stunning bike trials and impressive diving tower in Lake Mjøsa. This proximity to nature is what Erik Vieth Pedersen, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, argued citizens value most in a city. “It seems we like to live in cities, but we also long for green spaces,” he said in his opening remarks. Serving people and nature This theme was expanded on by Nordregio Senior Researcher Luciane Aguiar Borges who presented the NORDGREEN project, which looks at how high-quality green spaces in cities can promote equity, health and wellbeing. She noted that urbanisation is a key challenge for public health, and that even before the pandemic around 27% of the adult EU population suffered from mental health problems. “Green public spaces are resources for improving well-being and preventing illnesses, but smart urban planning is the key,” Aguiar Borges explained. One city that has embraced innovative tools for green space planning is Espoo, the second largest city in Finland. With funding through the NORDGREEN project, they have carried out a map-based survey that has reached more than 6,600 Espoo residents, including 2000 children. “We asked them to mark places that are meaningful to them on the map, as well as ideas for development and almost 70,000 marks were made in total,” stated Johanna Palomäki, former Espoo city representative in the project. She explained that together with Aalto University they were able to analyse a significant amount of…
Nordregio Forum 2022 tackles the green transition and the mismatch in the labour market
Last week, more than 130 Nordic professionals and policymakers descended on the evolving town of Hamar in the green heartland of Norway for the annual Nordregio Forum. Once again an in-person event, participants delved into the green transition and what it means for jobs and cities in the Nordic region. “Even though Norway and the Nordics are among the best places to live, there are clouds on the horizon,” explained Gerd Slinning, Deputy Director General at the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, in her opening remarks. She noted that Hamar is a city that has been through profound changes in last 15 years and is a good example of the possibility the Nordics have in the green transition, but recruiting a competent workforce is a daunting challenge. Tackling the labor market mismatch was the focus of the first day of the forum and Even Aleksander Hagen, Innlandet County Mayor, explained in his keynote speech that they have big dreams for their region. “We have Norway’s highest mountain, longest river, and biggest lake,” he boasted and explained they hope to create 25,000 jobs in the bio-economy. But he acknowledged they are facing an uphill battle in matching the skills with the available jobs and hope to address this mismatch with re-education and attracting new inhabitants. A panel discussion followed where Nordic experts reflected on the reasons for and potential solutions to the labour market mismatch and the effects of the green transition. Kresten Olesen, Director of RegLab in Denmark, noted that the speed with which the green transition is happening is a real challenge as developing new skills takes time. Meanwhile, Jimmy Sand from the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research argued that for the green transition to work we need to tackle the gender segregation problem in…
New publication: Combatting long-term unemployment among immigrants
Nordregio researchers, in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Welfare Centre, published a new report Combatting long-term unemployment among immigrants. The publication aims to identify key policy measures, institutions, civil society actors, and initiatives that have been used to address the situation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrants were more likely to face long-term unemployment than their native-born peers across all Nordic countries. The new publication describes the extent of the challenge posed by long-term unemployment among immigrants in each Nordic country before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. “The challenge ahead is to improve matching on the labour market. There are many jobs available in the Nordics. Job-seekers need up-skilling and training that meet employers’ needs,” said Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The research highlights local practices that have proved successful in helping long-term unemployed, non-European, often poorly educated immigrants improve their skills and find work – and analyse what these practices have in common and what we can learn from them. “It’s clear that there are common traits in training programmes and initiatives that are successful in getting long-term unemployed back to work. We collected them in a ‘Checklist’ of Nordic learnings to inspire policy-makers and programme designers to make more holistic and effective programmes and avoid pitfalls,” said Åsa Ström Hildestrand, Head of Communications and Project Manager Agenda 2030 at Nordregio. (You will find the Checklist in the final chapter of the publication). The report also elucidates how long-term unemployment and labour market inactivity among immigrants have been discussed and approached at the national level in each Nordic country during and after the pandemic.
The housing of tomorrow: Boverket and Nordregio workshop
The Swedish National Board on Housing, Building, and Planning (Boverket) and Nordregio invited a group of property developers and other housing actors to discuss trends and innovation in housing development and their implications for the future. Boverket presented their project “Housing for the Future”, Nordregio researcher Anna Granath Hansson, landscape architect Annelie Mårtensson, architect Maria Teder, lawyer Assar Lindén, economist Oskar Gramstad and Ida Borg from Stockholm university discussed housing issues in Sweden. “One important input from developers was that novel concepts (or renewed use of older ones) should be applicable not only in new buildings but also in already existing ones, as new construction only accounts for around one percent of the housing stock. There was an interesting discussion on the division between the private, semi-private and public sphere in connection to cooperative and sharing solutions”, said Anna Granath Hansson. Discussions also lead to housing in relation to its neighborhood and how the built environment can contribute to goals like a sharing economy, increased robustness and the green transition. The possible alternative combinations of housing tenure, financing, and management and their relevance in the Swedish context have also been discussed. Experts gave interesting examples of flexible housing from Sweden, Finland, and Germany that might be suited to different residents based on their preferences. Nordregio and Boverket would like to thank all participants for their active contribution to discussions and for many fruitful insights that can be used in projects.
Nordic municipalities are taking local SDG action
On 13-14 October, Nordic municipalities and organisations came to Nordregio for a two-day event of peer-to-peer workshops and matchmaking sessions. Together, the representatives joined forces to establish roadmaps for different SDG partnerships over the next six months. Some municipalities will test different stakeholder engagement methods together and share best practices, others will dive into municipal processes and how to improve information-based decision-making. The event preparation goes back to June 2022, when Nordregio sent out a survey to Nordic municipalities, asking how they are progressing with their local Agenda 2030 implementation and what kind of support is still needed. The responses indicated a clear demand for a workshop with a hands-on approach. Therefore, the programme was tailored to avoid PowerPoint marathons but rather focused on dialogue-based workshops about selected topics. These included governance and steering, citizen and other stakeholder engagement, indicators and monitoring, climate policies and the SDGs. Some of the tools that were explored during the workshops also included the Swedish Kolada indicator set, the SDG sensemaking tool developed by the City of Espoo and the SDG impact assessment tool from the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development/SDSN Northern Europe. On the second day, representatives from the municipalities were matched according to indicated level of local ‘SDG status’, and geography, and with emphasis on a balanced Nordic mix to explore potential partnerships. The sessions allowed the groups to deepen their knowledge exchange, and at the same time co-create different roadmaps for the coming six months. They committed to meeting from time to time and sharing respective learnings on ongoing SDG activities and efforts. In parallel, representatives from the Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic associations of local authorities and regions and other Nordic networks also had a dedicated workshop to strengthen their collaboration on some joint priority areas across the countries. Even though actors at the local level…
Nordregio presents insights on the future labour market in ÅSUB’s seminar
Nordregio contributes to a seminar on the future labour market in the Nordics hosted by the Statistics and Research Åland (ÅSUB). The seminar takes place on Wednesday, October 19, in Mariehamn, Åland. The meeting runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Head of Communications at Nordregio, Åsa Ström Hildestrand, presents current projects within Agenda 2030 and the green transition. Gustaf Norlén, Senior Cartographer/GIS Analyst at Nordregio, provides insights on the future labour market and the potential of remote work in the Nordics from Nordregio’s report State of the Nordic Region 2022. Read more about the programme (in Swedish) and sign up here!