Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme 2015-2017

The Arctic Cooperation Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers has opened up its call for project applications for financial support in 2017 to new project proposals. Approximately 6 mio. DKK will be allocated for this call. 

The call for applications for 2017 is now closed.

Photo: Anders Stenbakken: Tasiilaq/Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson: Siglufjörður

The objective of the Arctic Cooperation Programme is to support processes, projects and initiatives that will help promote sustainable development and benefit the people of the Arctic under the conditions generated by globalisation and climate change.

The Arctic stands on the threshold of major changes which will affect Arctic societies and the Arctic people in a number of areas. Consequently, the Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Cooperation Programme for 2015-2017 has a "people first" approach with a focus on contributing in a concrete way to exploring new paths and possibilities for the populations in the Arctic region in a changing environment, both socially and otherwise.

The Arctic Cooperation Programme is designed to help collate and co-ordinate the work relating to the Arctic within the framework of the Nordic Council of Ministers and its institutions. Within the overall objectives and focus areas introduced below, the following will be prioritised in the period 2015-17:

  • Activities that include Arctic and Nordic involvement and are within the frameworks of the objectives focus areas and criteria set by the Arctic Co-operation Programme.
  • Activities that are in line with current political priorities, including those of the ministerial councils' and of the countries' Arctic strategies, etc.

For knowledge on the Nordic Cooperation in general and Nordic political initiatives more specifically please visit

Areas of cooperation

Four areas of cooperation have been drawn up for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Cooperation Programme 2015-2017:


Photo: Rasmus Ole RasmussenIn response to the challenges posed by urbanisation and lifestyle changes in the Arctic, the Programme seeks to support initiatives aimed at devising constructive solutions to challenges relating to demographics, settlement patterns, town planning and transport. The changes affect women and men differently, and gender equality is a prerequisite for the development of a sustainable society. The Programme supports approaches that ensure access to traditional food, guarantee food and water security, and promote public health. It pays particular attention to protecting the way of life of indigenous peoples, to facilitating adaptation to the new conditions caused by climate change and globalisation and to exploring new economic opportunities. The Programme funds initiatives that build cultural and social capital among the people of the Arctic, as well as initiatives that support children and young people’s participation in, and influence on, society. The Programme adopts a cross-sectoral and an inter-agency approach and seeks to bring together and co-ordinate all of the work done on Arctic issues by the Nordic Council of Ministers and its various institutions and working groups.

Sustainable economic development

Photo: Rasmus Ole Rasmussen

The Programme seeks to promote sustainable economic development, provide support for potential new circumpolar business opportunities and address challenges related to increased economic activity and a more diverse economy. It aims to support the sustainable use of natural resources, innovation and green growth, e.g. in shipping, maritime safety, fisheries, tourism and renewable energy. Interaction between business and the community, e.g. through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is of vital importance..


Environment, nature and climate

Photo: Rasmus Ole RasmussenThe Programme promotes initiatives that counteract environmental changes caused by human activity both in and beyond the Arctic, as well as initiatives that seek to preserve the unique natural environment and biodiversity of the region. It supports initiatives that enhance knowledge of the environmental challenges faced in the Arctic, and that address what can be done at local and regional level to stop the destruction of the region’s environment, nature and seas. The impact of global climate change is particularly severe in the Arctic. As a result, the Programme supports initiatives that generate and spread knowledge of the causes of climate change and its effects in the region. It supports initiatives designed to devise adaptation strategies and determine what can be done at local and regional level to curb the negative effects of global warming, greenhouse-gas emissions and pollution.

Education and skills enhancement

Photo: Rasmus Ole Rasmussen

The Programme supports initiatives that promote education and skills enhancement, including at grassroots level and through Arctic-based organisations. This includes improving learning networks and fostering the competences needed to participate in democratic processes at local, regional and international level; developing competences and building capacity in local and regional governance; developing local competences in information and communication technology (ICT) and other initiatives designed to help the people of the Arctic develop a sustainable society.




Read more about the programme

Download in English

"Sustainable development in the Arctic"
The Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme 2015-2017

Download in Norwegian
"Bæredygtig udvikling i Arktis"
Nordisk Ministerråds arktiske samarbejdsprogram 2015-2017

Download in Finnish 

Download in Icelandic

Nordic Council of Ministers' website
Nordisk Ministerråds Arktiska samarbetsprogram 2015-2017

Nordregio administers the NCM Arctic Co-operation Programme

The Nordic institution, Nordregio, is administrating a yearly budget of app. 6 million DKK aiming at supporting initiatives and projects within the framework of the Programme. The administration  was first delegated to Nordregio, from the 2009-2011 NCM Arctic Co-operation Programme and onwards,  where the original intention of NCM aimed at keeping the administration and the professional overview within the same administrative unit. The programs objectives and strategies should be met in the proposals applied for. Furthermore they should rhyme with one or more of the Nordic cross-sectoral strategies. I.e. the Nordic Strategy for sustainable development, the Nordic strategy for gender equality, and/or the Nordic strategy for children and youth, and/or involve issues in relation to the Nordic Action on Climate Change.

Download template for the final progress report for the Arctic Cooperation Programme:



Anna Karlsdóttir

Senior Research Fellow