Nordic youth panel recommendations shared with regional ministers and the OECD at recent events
How can rural areas become attractive for youth? The Nordic Youth Panel has the answer. The panel’s recommendations were presented at a recent webinar on regional attractiveness organized by OECD, and for the Nordic Ministers of Regional Affairs in Reykjavik during a meeting last week. Research Fellow Mari Wøien Meijer had the possibility to present the work of the Nordic Youth Panel during the webinar “Enhancing regional attractiveness for resilient development: a dialogue amongst practitioners”. The webinar was arranged by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities and gathered various practitioners and experts to discuss enhancing regional attractiveness for resilient development. The event aligned with the OECD’s ongoing efforts to understand and promote regional attractiveness due to evolving global challenges like climate change, technological shifts, and the quest for more strategic globalisation objectives. Key drivers of regional attractiveness are attracting talent, investors and visitors to regions grappling with challenges like outmigration. In the Nordic region, many rural municipalities face demographic challenges with ageing populations and the migration of young people to urban areas, resulting in less diverse labour markets and services. Adapting to these trends while attracting young residents is challenging due to the superior educational and employment opportunities in cities. This situation leads to reduced funding for services, especially for the elderly and youth, further diminishing the appeal of rural areas and creating a vicious cycle of decline. What can we do to make rural areas more attractive for young people? Key areas of focus as identified by the Nordic Rural Youth Panel include improved transportation options, affordable and diverse housing, accessible education linked to local labour markets, mental and physical health support, funding for public meeting spaces, and communication using accessible language and platforms. “The Nordic region’s aim is to become the world’s most sustainable and…
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…
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…
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…
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.
Making Europe – and especially rural areas – climate neutral
What kind of transformational changes are needed, effective and just to reach climate neutrality by 2050? EU-funded SHERPA project has just published a new position paper “Climate change & Environmental Sustainability” that focuses on finding answers to the: How do policies facilitate the transition? And what research gaps still exist? Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The special thing about the SHERPA project is how it works with the local stakeholders and generates policy-relevant research together at the local level and delivers information to the EU level. Nordregio is a partner in the SHERPA project and steers the work of several of these Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MAPs). The MAPs have identified local threats and challenges to living and working in ways that will enable transitions towards climate neutrality, and opportunities which could be created and pursued. Based on these discussions, the new Position Paper highlights pathways for a just green transition, including adaptation to climate change. Read the latest Position Paper “Climate change & Environmental Sustainability” Nordregio has been part of several SHERPA publications: Slätmo, E., Löfving, L. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Sweden) – Digitalisation in rural areas. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7243911 MAP_PP-SW_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) AND MAP_PP-SW_Swedish-version_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Stjernberg, M., Salonen, H. (eds.) (2022) MAP Position Paper (Finland) – Digitalisation in rural areas. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7235125 MAP_PP-FI_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Mändmets, A., Kärk, K. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Estonia) – Social dimension of rural areas DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7249600 MAP_PP-Estonia_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Ormstrup Vestergård, L., Refsgaard, K. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Denmark) – Land use and climate change. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7251683 MAP_PP-DK_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) AND MAP_PP-DK_Danish.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu)
Exploring the bioeconomy status quo in the Baltics
The BioBaltic project has published a storymap series that overviews the bioeconomy development in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition of utilizing them for generating social and economic benefits through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as in manufacturing and related sectors such as tourism. As we transition into a green economy, there is a huge potential for innovation to develop new goods and services from biological resources while creating value locally. In the past year, the project partners across the Baltics have investigated the state of the art of bioeconomy and developed their visions for further bioeconomy development. Their learnings have been summarised in the following storymaps. Press on the picture to access the storymaps: About the project The BioBaltic project provides a platform for generating awareness of different bioeconomy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. This collaboration will enable knowledge generation and exchange on different aspects of the bioeconomy transition, including financing aspects, industrial partnerships and symbiosis or the opportunities of digitalisation. Project partners from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are running so-called “Mobile Learning Hubs” and the overall project is coordinated by Nordregio. Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the project runs from October 2021 until September 2023.
Nordregio celebrates its 25th anniversary
On 15 June, Nordregio gathered the Nordic family and friends from the world of urban planning and regional development to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. More than 100 guests were happy to meet physically and mingle in sunny Hörsalen, Nordregio’s classical meeting hall. The feeling of revival post-Covid was very present as we listened to greetings from Swedish Ministers for Regional development and Nordic collaboration, encouraging us to keep up our work for more research-based policymaking and Nordic knowledge exchange. Filmed on tour by bike, Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretary-General Paula Lehtomäki emphasized our important role in researching solutions for a more effective and just green transition in line with the Nordic Vision 2030. Live speakers included Katarina Fellman, board member and Director of Åsub/Statistics Åland, and three of our Senior Research Fellows (Mats Stjernberg, Anna Lundgren and Elin Slätmo) looking back to 1997 and gazing into the future of regional studies – urban and rural. This was followed by a very interactive map quiz session hosted by our Head of GIS, Thomas Jensen. Clearly, the world has changed quite a bit since 1997. Katarina Fellman recalled some hard work done to deliver the new institute in parallel with her first baby and said that growth and development had been impressive with both parties. Nordregio has moved from a limited team focusing on spatial planning systems and regional governance to a full house of 48 employees, covering all aspects of sustainable regional development and planning: green transition, social and digital inclusion, and economic competitiveness. Skills provision and green value creation in rural regions are emerging topics, as well as digital solutions for healthcare and care. At the same time, our urban areas strive to be healthier and more inclusive. Future solutions must be green, smart, and place-based, continuously developed in dialogue…
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…
Nordregio’s position regarding the funding of research and research collaboration with Russia and Belarus
The Council of Nordic Ministers decided as of March 4, 2022, to immediately discontinue all collaborative efforts with Russia and Belarus. The Nordic Ministers for Cooperation stand united in this decision. This means that programs, projects, and activities in Russia and Belarus are discontinued until further notice. In light of the stance put forth by the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation, Nordregio issues a moratorium as regards the disbursal of project funds, the acceptance of applications, the execution of projects, and the entry into agreements and the like that involve Russian and Belarusian parties. The intention is to end all contacts and collaborative efforts with governmental and public institutions of Russian or Belarusian origin. “Intellectual and cultural engagement between individuals is an important prerequisite to creating cohesion and mutual understanding between countries. It is devastating that this war in this way will affect cooperation in academia, research and culture – fields that are meant to serve as tools for mitigating conflicts, building global understanding across borders and supporting people-to-people contacts. The Director reserves the right to decide whether specific contacts and collaborative efforts are appropriate on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances change in the future,” says Nordregio Director Rolf Elmér. Nordregio has been involved with four projects with one or several Russian counterparts: FemArc, Semper Arctic, WANO and Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia. All of these projects have been halted.
Innovation in rural mobility – new report delivers best practices
Is there a difference between rural Japan and rural Finland? And how does it reflect upon matters of rural mobility? A new report zooms into the issue of how to achieve cost-effective and sustainable access to transport and mobility for people living in rural areas who don’t own a car. “Innovations for better rural mobility” is the result of a collaboration stemming from an International Transport Forum/OECD Working Group that focused on Innovative Mobility for Periphery. Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Linda Randall worked with experts from Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Norway, Poland, and other countries to define and develop international best practices and recommendations for cases when public transport is not viable. Nordregio has experience when it comes to rural mobility, having been an integral part of the MAMBA project that ended in 2020. The initiative focused on the Baltic Sea Regions and strived to develop sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas.
New Nordic study on regional policy and instruments for economic recovery
Nordregio researchers analysed regional policy and examined policy instruments to deal with economic shocks and crises across the Nordics. The study contributes knowledge and experience about the Nordic countries’ regional policies and efforts to deal with economic recovery in regions or municipalities. How do countries define regional policy? What responsibilities do actors in the multi-level system have at different levels? How do actors at different levels interact to handle economic shocks or crises? These and many other relevant questions are the focus and receive answers in this study. According to Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren, what is considered as regional policy, rural policy, and regional development policy differs between the Nordic countries. Regional policy is also complemented with sector policies, such as labour market policy, infrastructure and tax policy, which affect regional development on a large scale. The implementation of regional policy takes place in multi-level governance frameworks adapted to the institutional structure in the individual countries. -The systems to deal with economic shocks or crises in the Nordic countries are place-based and include actors and measures from national, regional and local levels. Well-functioning multi-level governance cooperation and trust among actors are key factors in dealing with economic shocks or crises, says A. Lundgren. The study is based on document studies and semi-structured interviews with representatives from the regional political system at the national and regional levels and with experts in the field. Read the publication here (in Swedish).
Junior Research Fellow within sustainable regional development in rural and urban areas
Nordregio is currently seeking to expand its capacity by adding a new Icelandic speaking Junior Research Fellow to the team. In particular, we are looking for candidates with an educational background and/or experience in one or more of the following fields: Sustainable rural development (e.g. policy analysis and issues concerning challenges and opportunities for rural areas) Innovative and resilient regions (e.g. green transition, resilience, skills, welfare, smart specialisation, and digitalisation) Sustainable cities and urban planning (e.g. issues concerning transport, housing, public spaces, and planning systems) Requirements The position as Junior Research Fellow requires a bachelor- or master’s degree (300 ECTS) or equivalent. The degree should be in a social science discipline aligned with at least one of the research fields above (e.g. economics, political science, sociology, geography, planning or similar). A Junior Research Fellow is expected to have up to two years of relevant experience in research or practice after graduation. Highly motivated with the ability to work independently, as well as the skills to work effectively in a cooperative research environment. Strong analytical skills and the ability to take a creative approach to complex problems. Well-developed communication skills including the ability to network and work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders and partner organisations. Ability and willingness to contribute to Nordregio’s goal of being an environmentally conscious, supportive and equal working place. Fluent in English and Icelandic and if not already fluent in a Scandinavian language, the willingness to acquire a working knowledge of Danish, Norwegian or Swedish within a short period of time. The geographic scope of your fields of interest includes in-depth knowledge of at least one Nordic country as well as a pan-European perspective. Main Work Tasks Participate in research projects under the supervision of senior researchers. Work independently with the collection and processing of…
New project: Local ownership in sustainable energy systems
Uppsala University and Nordregio are starting a new project on sustainable local energy systems in Sweden. The new project, called Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems, is a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). It aims to understand the role local ownership has in facilitating energy transitions and how public participation processes or community-led projects contribute as a success factor. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as essential means for the energy transition and, this project answers these issues with qualitative and participatory research design. -To reach political targets, energy systems within the EU and Sweden are currently undergoing rapid and extensive transformations. Local ownership can help facilitate these changes and promote more socially acceptable and just processes and outcomes, says Project Manager Johanna Liljenfeldt from Uppsala University. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are helping to co-create knowledge on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. – I look forward to co-creating policy recommendations and guidelines with the local communities. It makes the project relevant on policy and practical level, adds Research Fellow Sandra Oliveira e Costa from Nordregio. The project will have its own website this fall, but at the moment, further information is found at www.nordregio.org. For more information, contact:Johanna LiljenfeldtProject Manager, Uppsala Universityjohanna.liljenfeldt (at) geo.uu.se Sandra Oliveira e CostaResearch Fellow, Nordregiosandra.oliveiracosta (at) nordregio.org
Youth leadership practices in the circular economy shared with CBSS
Sustainable management and use of Earth’s natural resources have been at the core of public debates aiming for a fast post-pandemic recovery. In the Baltic Sea region, a lot of focus is drawn on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, food, constructions, plastics and the support to sustainable future proofing companies. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is organizing a seminar to promote knowledge and good practices in the region and to take further steps on circular economy and sustainability. The event “Sustainable and green transformations of the resource-intensive industry sectors in the Baltic Sea Region”, taking place on 26 May, gathers representatives from EU organizations, national ministries, academia and business clusters to discuss how different stakeholders could support the green transition. Nordregio’s Research Fellow Alberto Giacommeti is invited to share perspectives on what opportunities and challenges young leaders face while transitioning towards the circular economy in the Baltic Sea Region: “Stories from young leaders across the Baltic Sea Region reveal a generational readiness for moving towards the circular economy, and also that they are capable of leading this transition. While they are rapidly conquering new grounds, young people remain challenged by mental barriers and access to finance. Supporting young leaders will ensure not only increased sustainability but also innovation and competitiveness.” Find out more about the young bioeconomy entrepreneurs on BeUBio platform and more about the event on CBSS website:
Is territorial governance needed in smart specialisation and maritime planning?
What is the role of territorial governance in supporting smart specialisation? Is maritime spatial planning moving towards policymaking that is inspired by territorial governance approaches? Nordregio’s researchers have published two articles on these topics within the fields of EU regional and EU marine policy. – The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role of local actors and knowledge in helping build regional resilience and deliver effective policies for citizens. Territorial governance and smart specialization can help bring policymaking closer to citizens and rebuild trust in politics. This is particularly important in peripheral and isolated regions where citizens feel like they have been left behind by the forces of globalization and the knowledge-based economy, says Senior Research Fellow John Moodie. Territorial Governance and Smart Specialisation: Empowering the Sub-National Level in EU Regional Policy The concept of territorial governance has received little attention within political science and EU Studies despite being advocated as a central element of European Regional Policy. This article examines the key dimensions of territorial governance, arguing that it is both distinct and complementary to multi-level governance, as it focuses on the mobilisation of regional actor groups and the integration of endogenous knowledge in policymaking. – For example at Nordregio, the local actor groups contribute to our work with their knowledge. They work to improve local life and thus are key players in territorial governance. We work with Local Action Groups members in our Thematic groups, Swedish fishermen in maritime spatial planning workshops and with an activist in a Copenhagen neighbourhood working on URBACT to name a few, explains Senior Research Fellow, Michael Kull. The article further explores whether there is merit in understanding smart specialisation as a territorial governance-based model by using examples of S3 process implementation in four Nordic regions. The article finds that smart specialisation can be considered a territorial governance approach, as it promotes bottom-up EU policymaking driven by regional and local knowledge. Moreover, by empowering the subnational level, a territorial governance lens may help to bring EU Regional policymaking closer to citizens,…
Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?
Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…
During 2017-2020, what did we learn about sustainable rural development?
Each Nordic country is different, but also similar. The similarities make it possible to learn from one another, and differences highlight the meaning and uniqueness of creative local solutions. Nordic cooperation is generally considered to be an extremely important asset when working with rural development. This storymap summarizes the work of the Nordic Thematic Group on Sustainable Rural Development 2017-2020 (TG1). What did we learn? VISIT STORYMAP