Sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective are to permeate all the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Mainstreaming these perspectives is a prerequisite to attaining the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision that the Nordic region is to be “the world’s most sustainable and integrated region in 2030”.
In practice, this means that sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective will systematically influence all activities in the Nordic Council of Ministers. The perspectives will be incorporated in all stages of planning, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. Responsibility for this lies with the officials and actors usually involved in the work.
This policy explains what is needed to realise the Nordic Council of Ministers’ ‘Our Vision 2030’ about a greener, more competitive, and socially sustainable Nordic region. These conditions involve ensuring that the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers is sustainable, gender-equal, inclusive, representative, and accessible. The policy also spotlights an approach that accords with international undertakings, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – an approach that is vital for a Nordic sustainability agenda in which nobody is excluded.
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The three horizontal perspectives that are to be mainstreamed in the activities of the Nordic Council of Ministers are sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective. The following is a brief introduction to what mainstreaming these various perspectives in the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers means.
These three perspectives are of different character, and both overlap and complement each other. Sustainable development is an umbrella term that also encompasses gender equality and the opportunities for children and young people to develop.
When considering sustainable development, a big focus in the Nordic region is on ecologically sustainable development, because we are facing particular challenges in this region in view of unsustainable consumption and production, climate change, and the biodiversity crisis. However, the social and economic perspective must be integrated constantly before we can talk about real sustainability.
The social dimension of sustainable development includes a clear diversity perspective, where consequences and inclusion on the basis of gender, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background must be considered. When considering both gender equality and a child rights and youth perspective, it is important to remember that women and men, boys and girls, are not homogeneous groups. In the work, it can be important to consider analyses of different power structures.
In many ways, each horizontal perspective is mutually dependent on the other two. Considering the varied living conditions of boys and girls is, for example, important from all three horizontal perspectives. Together, the Nordic Prime Ministers have emphasised and recognised the importance of gender equality as a condition for attaining Agenda 2030 and the Global Sustainable Development Goals.www.norden.org/sv/node/37458
In addition to being perspectives that must be constantly integrated in the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers, sustainable development, gender equality, and child rights and youth issues are important policy areas in the Nordic co-operation. It is important to remember that the perspectives must always be integrated – including in the cases where the initiative specifically concerns sustainable development, gender equality, or child rights and youth issues, or where children and young people are an explicit target group.
The importance of considering these perspectives broadly in the work of the sectors and institutions is therefore emphasised in this policy.
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Mainstreaming sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective in the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers involves continually analysing your work on the basis of these three perspectives, and allowing decisions to be influenced by the analysis. In practice, it can comprise planning a project or a conference, deciding on funding criteria and allocating funding, formulating assignments for collaboration partners, or evaluating the results and effects of a campaign or initiative.
The overarching responsibility for implementing the policy lies with the Secretary General and the Councils of Ministers. The responsibility for mainstreaming sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective in the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers lies with everyone working in, or on behalf of, the Nordic Council of Ministers, regardless of policy area.
The responsibility applies to:
Mainstreaming as a principle is based on the idea that, because you know your policy area and your work processes, you are in the best position to identify relevant perspectives on sustainable development, gender equality, and child rights and youth issues in your area.
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The work of the Nordic Council of Ministers in accordance with this policy is followed up and evaluated regularly. The Nordic Council of Ministers reports on the work in accordance with the policy to the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation (MR-SAM) and the Nordic Council every second year. The policy is updated as necessary every fourth year in accordance with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Action Plan for Our Vision 2030.
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Nordic co-operation is one of the world’s most extensive forms of regional collaboration, involving Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.
Nordic co-operation has firm traditions in politics, the economy, and culture. It plays an important role in European and international collaboration, and aims at creating a strong Nordic community in a strong Europe.
Nordic co-operation seeks to safeguard Nordic and regional interests and principles in the global community. Shared Nordic values help the region solidify its position as one of the world’s most innovative and competitive.
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Mainstreaming sustainable development, gender equality, and a child rights and youth perspective is a prerequisite to attaining the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision that the Nordic region will become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world in 2030.