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A green Nordic Region

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our era, but the transition to a climate-neutral circular economy also provides opportunities if we manage and use natural resources well. The Nordic Region should continue to be at the forefront of a competitive and innovation-driven transition, both at home and abroad, by promoting Nordic green solutions in the rest of the world. By working together and sharing experiences of good methods and effective tools, Nordic business – at both local and national levels – can help cut emissions and introduce climate-adaptation measures while simultaneously bolstering Nordic competitiveness.
Climate and environmental questions are global issues. The Nordic countries should continue to speak with a strong, clear voice to promote effective solutions in international environmental and climate negotiations. In 2024, a new global agreement on plastic pollution is set to be adopted, and the Nordic countries have a leading role in this process. The Presidency will prioritise closer Nordic co-operation under the new framework for biodiversity, on nature-based solutions and on preventing and combating the spread of invasive species in the Nordic Region. The Nordic countries have worked successfully together for many years at the Nordic, EU and international levels to minimise the risks to humans and the environment from chemicals, and the Swedish Presidency will continue to focus on this issue.
Transitioning the transport sector is crucial for a competitive Nordic Region and central for the Nordic countries to achieve their climate and environmental goals. The Presidency will, therefore, continue to prioritise the electrification and digitalisation of the transport system. In the Fredrikstad Declaration of November 2022, the Nordic transport ministers undertook to increase co-operation on promoting innovative zero- or low-emission technologies. Among other activities in line with the declaration, the Swedish Presidency will act for enhanced understanding of an increased integration of electric vehicles in the electricity grid in the Nordic Region and explore how the Nordic countries can promote sustainable land transports to and from ports, to complement the on-going work on green shipping corridors. The Presidency will also highlight the completion of the vision projects on accelerated electrification and sustainable Nordic freight transport.
Rural, coastal and urban development are important for the development and competitiveness of business and for the overall quality of life in the Nordic Region. The way in which society has developed in recent years has led to rapidly changing economic, demographic and social conditions. New industrial ventures driven by the green transition present both opportunities and challenges that affect the whole of society and the natural environment. These developments require good coordination and effective planning in terms of infrastructure, house building, skills supply, etc., as well as access to commercial and public services, culture, and health and social care. More pooling of experiences will help ensure that Nordic societies continue to develop in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.
We need to generate more fossil-free energy to facilitate the large-scale electrification that is one of the keys to the climate transition. In the Nordic Region, work is underway on new fossil-free electricity from onshore and offshore wind, solar and nuclear power. It is vital that we seek out and make good use of collaborative solutions involving various stakeholders in these areas. The Nordic electricity market co-operation is unique and one of the world’s most integrated forms of regional co-operation. The Nordic Region is also a world leader in sustainable energy and climate-smart solutions. However, we must further develop the Nordic electricity market to reduce the climate impact and break with the European reliance on Russian fossil-fuel-based energy. The Swedish Presidency will make this a particular priority.
To achieve the vision of a green Nordic Region, we must continue to promote the sustainable, competitive use of natural and genetic resources. The development of bio-based industries in fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture, food and forestry and their production capacity are critical to the green transition, employment, food supply and contingency, as well as open landscapes and the attractiveness of rural areas. The Nordic transition relies on the bio-based industries maintaining their level of innovation. To make the most of Nordic innovation, the work in this area will focus on operational activities, specifically generating higher knowledge while integrating traditional craftmanship methods related to soil, forests and fisheries. The Presidency will also continue efforts to develop more intersectoral initiatives. In agriculture, the focus will remain on the climate, carbon storage and long-term viable and competitive production. The Nordic Fisheries co-operation will increase the focus on the sustainable production of blue food products and identifying positive synergies for the coexistence of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors with other interests in the ocean. In terms of forestry, questions of resilience, preparedness, land use, climate change and digitalisation are topical.
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The Nordic Region should continue to be at the forefront of a competitive and innovation-driven transition, both at home and abroad, by promoting Nordic green solutions in the rest of the world.