Sustainable development in the Arctic

- The Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme 2012-2014

The deadline for applications for the Arctic Co-operation Programme for 2012-2014 has ended. The applications are currently being reviewed and responses can be expected at the end of March 2012.

The foci of the new programme are based on the fact that the challenges faced by and in the Arctic have increased significantly and have become more visible over the years. Greater knowledge has been accumulated about the impact of globalisation and climate change, as well as of the opportunities they bring for the Arctic region, the local communities, the people of the region, the environment and nature.

In recognition of the fact that the Arctic stands on the threshold of major changes, which will, in the first instance, affect Arctic societies and the Arctic people in a number of important areas, the people first approach in Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme for 2012-2014 is designed to promote sustainable development. The basic objective of the Arctic Co-operation 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.

Areas of co-operation

Five areas of co-operation have been drawn up for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme 2012-2014:

Population

The Arctic Co-operation Programme is designed to promote sustainable development in the Arctic by meeting the challenges created by urbanisation by supporting initiatives that provide tools for constructive solutions to demographic challenges, patterns of human settlement, urban planning and mobility. The Co-operation Programme is also designed to provide support for initiatives aimed at ensuring social cohesion, including issues related to integration, living conditions, promoting public health – particularly efforts to combat contagious and human-induced diseases – as well as initiatives and knowledge about traditional diets and about guaranteeing food safety. The programme pays special attention to the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, to their living conditions and to their adaptation to the new conditions brought about by climate change, globalisation, potential new business opportunities and other external developments.

The Environment and Nature

The Arctic Co-operation Programme is designed to promote the work to meet the environmental challenges arising from human activity in and outside the Arctic, and work to preserve Arctic nature and biodiversity. The Programme will provide support for initiatives that generate knowledge about environmental and natural processes as well as initiatives directed at promoting knowledge and information about what can be done at a local and regional level to preserve and protect the environment, nature and the seas in the Arctic region.

Climate

The Co-operation Programme is designed to promote initiatives that will help combat climate challenges faced by the Arctic. The programme will support initiatives that generate and spread knowledge about the processes involved in climate change. The focus will also be on local and regional adaptation strategies, including the generation of knowledge and information about what can be done at a local and regional level to minimise the negative effects of global warming and of other local and global impacts on the climate.

Sustainable Business Development

The Arctic Co-operation Programme is designed to promote sustainable business development in the Arctic, supporting the frameworks for potential new opportunities and providing back-up for the challenges caused by a larger and more diversified business structure in the region. The Programme supports the sustainable use of resources with development potential; innovation in and development of business as well as innovative approaches to structural business challenges in the form of e.g. renewable energy, infrastructure, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and development of local service-, production- and processing industries. In this context, focus will be on the interaction between business and society, incl. issues of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Responsibility (CR).

Education and Skills Enhancement

The Arctic Co-operation Programme is designed to promote sustainable development in the Arctic by supporting initiatives that improve education, enhance the skills of the people and strengthen the grass-roots level and the work done by organisations in the region. This involves strengthening learning networks and improving competences to participate in democratic international processes; prioritisation of skills enhancement and capacity building for local and regional government; development of local competences in information and communication technology (ICT), especially e-learning and telemedicine; strengthening indigenous people's and Arctic youth's understanding of the challenges and opportunities posed by globalisation and climate change and other measures designed to help the Arctic people further develop sustainable communities.

Transcending different focus areas, the Arctic Co-operation 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.

More information about the Arctic Co-operation Programme