Photo: Salvör Gissurardóttir
Much of the Nordic Region lies within the Arctic region. Historically, the Nordic countries – both individually and collectively – have helped put the Arctic on the international agenda. As part of this work, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme has in recent decades contributed to new knowledge about the environment, economy and social conditions in the Arctic region.
The co-operation programme is, therefore, an important part of the work to promote Nordic international co-operation in the Arctic. The programme for 2022–2024 will be the ninth since 1996 and the first under Our Vision 2030. The programme period has been shortened from four years to three in order to align with the Vision 2030 Action Plan 2021–2024.
The main objective of the programme is to continue to focus on sustainable development. Conscious, systematic and continuous co-operation is required to ensure that development in the Arctic is based on peace, stability, protection, growth and prosperity. The Arctic is a region where both development and conservation must go hand in hand. The Nordic Council of Ministers has observer status on the Arctic Council, and the Arctic Co-operation Programme contributes directly to its projects and initiatives.
Over time, the Arctic agenda has expanded to include both managing and adapting to climate change as well as highlighting the population’s living conditions – specifically, the desire to keep on improving them through economic development, improved business opportunities, innovation, entrepreneurship, education and skills enhancement.
The breadth of the programme and the ability of Nordic co-operation to reach smaller actors and stakeholders in the Arctic are two of Nordic co-operation’s great strengths. At the same time, the individual parts of the programme are sufficiently targeted and focused that they are able to make a concrete contribution to the overall goal of sustainable development in the region.
The programme facilitates partnerships designed to contribute to concrete solutions to needs in the Arctic and to the challenges the region faces. It serves as the basis for setting up and running networks and meeting places that can help to enhance mobility, integration and exchanges of experience in relevant areas.
Photo: Visit Faroe Islands
Co-operation programmes and activities under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers contribute to fulfilling Our Vision 2030 – i.e. the Nordic Region becoming the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The Arctic Co-operation Programme helps achieve the three strategic priorities – a green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region and a socially sustainable Nordic Region – and the 12 objectives set out in the Action Plan 2021–2024 for Our Vision 2030.
Together, we will promote a green transition of our societies and work towards carbon neutrality and a sustainable circular and bio-based economy. We will:
The strategic priority area A green Nordic Region is linked primarily to the following Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Together, we will promote green growth in the Nordic Region based on knowledge, innovation, mobility and digital integration. We will:
The strategic priority area A competitive Nordic Region is linked primarily to the following Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: 4, 8, 9 and 11.
Together, we will promote an inclusive, equal, and interconnected region with shared values and strengthened cultural exchanges and welfare. We will:
The strategic priority area A socially sustainable Nordic Region is linked primarily to the following Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 5, 10 and 16.
Photo: Visit Faroe Islands
As part of Our Vision 2030, the Nordic Council of Ministers is working on Agenda 2030 and the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The sustainable development goals help to steer the work on the Arctic Co-operation Programme 2022–2024, as reflected in the priorities below. At the same time, however, the programme has a clear link to Our Vision 2030 and its focus on the three elements of social sustainability, the environment and the economy.
The priorities are based on developments in relation to
In this way, the programme contributes to realising Our Vision 2030 and to achieving the 12 secondary objectives set out in the Action Plan. The Arctic Co-operation Programme must also be seen in the context of the strategies for gender equality and for children and young people that the Nordic Council of Ministers applies in all of its sectors.
The following sustainable development goals are relevant to the Arctic Co-operation Programme under the heading PEOPLES: SDG #3 (good health and wellbeing); SDG #4 (quality education); SDG #5 (gender equality); SDG #11 (sustainable cities and communities); SDG #16 (peace, justice and strong institutions); and SDG #17 (partnerships for the goals).
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme will seek to implement sustainable development goals relevant to the theme PEOPLES in order to facilitate and strengthen co-operation projects and communication in the following areas:
The following sustainable development goals are relevant to the Arctic Co-operation Programme under the heading PLANET: SDG #6 (clean water and sanitation); SDG #7 (affordable and clean energy); SDG #11 (sustainable cities and communities); SDG #13 (climate action); SDG #14 (life in the sea); SDG #15 (life on land); and SDG #17 (partnerships for the goals).
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme will seek to implement sustainable development goals relevant to the theme PLANET in order to facilitate and strengthen co-operation projects and communication in the following areas:
The following sustainable development goals are relevant to the Arctic Co-operation Programme under the heading PROSPERITY: SDG #2 (zero hunger), SDG #4 (quality education); SDG #7 (affordable and clean energy); SDG #8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG #9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure); SDG #11 (sustainable cities and communities); SDG #12 (responsible consumption and production); and SDG #17 (partnerships for the goals).
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme will seek to implement sustainable development goals relevant to the theme PROSPERITY in order to facilitate and strengthen co-operation projects that focus on sustainable business and economic growth for the benefit of the indigenous peoples and communities in the Arctic in the following areas:
The main sustainable development goals relevant to the Arctic Co-operation Programme under the priority PARTNERSHIPS are SDG #16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG #17 (partnerships for the goals), which serve as instruments for increased co-operation and the development of partnerships in the Arctic, with a focus on:
The Nordic Prime Ministers have overall responsibility for Nordic co-operation. In practice, this responsibility is delegated to the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation (MR-SAM) and to the Nordic Committee for Co-operation (NSK), which coordinates the day-to-day work of Nordic inter-governmental co-operation.
The Nordic Council of Ministers was set up in 1971 and, despite its name, actually consists of several individual councils of ministers. There are currently 11 ministerial councils as well as the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation. All decisions in the Nordic Council of Ministers must be unanimous.
Arctic co-operation is part of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ international co-operation, which falls under the remit of Ministers for Nordic Co-operation.
Co-operation projects must first and foremost contribute to and assist in the implementation and development of the global sustainability agenda in the Arctic, with a view to achieving visible regional and local results. Our Vision 2030 is an important instrument in this work.
As a rule, co-operation projects must involve three Nordic countries. This partnership can also be supplemented with one or more non-Nordic countries – for example, one or more of the other Arctic states (the USA, Canada and Russia). When assessing applications, the emphasis will be on whether the project:
The fiscal year for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ budget is the calendar year. The budget for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme will follow established budget procedures of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The budget is formally approved at the annual Session of the Nordic Council in week 44 of each year.
The budget for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme consists of two main parts:
The annual budget for the Arctic Co-operation Programme, as well as the budget breakdown into these two parts, will be reflected in the budget for the fiscal year concerned.
MR-SAM has overall responsibility for the Arctic programme, including its implementation and administration. A Nordic Arctic advisory committee (NRKA) has been set up to assist in the annual implementation of the programme. The task of administrating the open round of funding applications may be outsourced to a third party. Further information on the management and administration of the Arctic Co-operation Programme is available on the Nordic Council of Ministers’ website.
For further general information about the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Co-operation Programme, please contact the Secretariat’s international team and the relevant advisors for the area concerned.
ISBN 978-92-893-7167-4 PDF
ISBN 978-92-893-7168-1 ONLINE
© Nordic Council of Ministers 2021
Layout: Mette Agger Tang
Coverphotos (pdf): Unsplash
Coverphotos (online): Unsplash, Visit Faroe Islands and Mads Schmidt Rasmussen
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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