Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 7 - December 2019
Systemic biomonitoring needed to mitigate Arctic health risks
This Policy Brief highlights the need for biomonitoring to assess the risks of public health disorders and negative demographic implications caused by the ingestion of hazardous pollutants into the human body. These pollutants can accumulate in food chains and spread with migratory species of commercial fish, birds and wild animals. Consequences of climate change increase the ingestion risks, and the dependence of indigenous peoples on the resources in their environment makes them particularly vulnerable. Hence, relevance of this issue for Russia and the Arctic countries is obvious and requires attention.
The mitigation of negative effects of climate change on the health of indigenous people in the Arctic requires the establishment of systemic biomonitoring at the legislative level.
The monitoring must
- be implemented on a regular basis
- take into account not only the effect of pollutants to the body, but also the deficiency of vital trace elements, such as iodine, iron, magnesium, etc., which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
- include chemical analysis of environmental samples, animals and birds, which indigenous peoples consume, as well as human biological samples (urine, blood, breast milk, hair, teeth).
Download the Policy Brief Systemic biomonitoring needed to mitigate Arctic health risks
Feel free to contact the team of authors at the Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia, for more information:
Anna Trofimova a.trofimova[at]narfu.ru
Julia Varakina yu.andreeva[at]nsrfu.ru
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 8
This Policy Brief elaborates recommendations for developing digital technologies that improve the safety of navigation and reduce shipping costs in the Arctic. This issue is of utmost importance for Russia and European countries, since the growing freight traffic requires prompt and secure provision of modern and innovative logistics solutions. The Northern Dimension Partnership for Transportation and Logistics provides a platform for cooperation in this area.
The following actions are suggested:
- Organization of a joint digital technology forum for all states interested in the development of the Arctic transport highway to present new solutions that would ensure efficient logistic management of the Arctic seas.
- Establishment of a joint scientific and educational consortium for active collaboration of information technology companies and scientists in the Northern Dimension area. The consortium could form common proposals in the field of safety and rescue at sea for relevant national ministries and international institutions such as the Arctic Council.
- Foundation of a unified “road map” for all emergency services (primarily EMERCOM) explaining the legal and managerial nuances of interaction and response in the event of an emergency.
- Formation of a list of topical issues from suppliers planning or already engaged in the transportation of goods through the Arctic sea, their wishes and suggestions.
The Policy Brief can be downloaded here
For more information, please contact the team of authors at Higher School of Economics, Management and Law of Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia.
Corresponding author Prof. Maksim Zadorin m.zadorin[at]narfu.ru.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 1 - January 2019 Designing innovative public services
Contemporary challenges that ND area governments face are increasingly sophisticated and complex. This is due to the rapid development of technologies that blur the boundaries between the government and citizens, and because of societal changes such as aging of population and increasing immigration flows. The ND Future Forum on Culture* focused on the potential of creative and cultural cross-overs in producing public services that tackle societal challenges more effectively.
Signe Adamoviča, Creativity Lab Latvia
Dr. Päivi Karhunen, CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
Prof. Riitta Kosonen, CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the ND Future Forum on Culture: Creating a better world through cultural and creative crossovers on 15 November 2018 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The event gathered over 50 participants from 11 countries to discuss and share inspiring experiences and lessons learnt on design thinking approach in public service and cultural and creative crossovers addressing societal challenges. The participants represented universities, cultural institutions, NGOs and governmental organizations.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 2 - January 2019
The curbing of black carbon emissions offers many benefits for the Arctic
Black carbon emissions are a global problem with special significance for arctic regions
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising clearly faster than the global average temperatures. The main reason are increasing amount of greenhouse gases, but black carbon, emitted from incomplete burning, contributes to the warming. It may cause some 20-25% of the warming in the Arctic, both through warming of the atmosphere and by accelerating melting due to reduced reflection of sunrays reaching ice and snow. Important sources of black carbon include transport, residential burning of coal and biomass, oil and gas flaring, and open burning of biomass from wildfires or the open burning of agricultural waste.
The health effects of black carbon emissions are significant. Black carbon is a component of the fine particles that have serious adverse health effects globally. The combined effects on the climate and health have motivated the Arctic Council and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership to pay special attention to ways of reducing emissions of black carbon. The actions to reduce emissions need to be replicated globally for the positive effects to take effect. Globally residential combustion and transport emissions dominate. In the Arctic region emissions from oil and gas production are also important.
Prof. Mikael Hildén, Finnish Environment Institute and the Strategic Research Council
NDI Lead coordinator: Prof. Riitta Kosonen
*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Environment: Black carbon and climate change in the European Arctic on 19 November 2018 in Brussels. The event gathered researchers, top experts, decision-makers and NGOs to discuss the future challenges as well as solutions available to avert the black carbon impacts of future climate change.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 3 - February 2019
Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro-Asian Transport Connections
Growth in Euro-Asian trade and rising interest in the Arctic call for coordinated policies
Trade volumes between EU and Asia, particularly China, are constantly growing, which challenges the capacity of existing Euro-Asian land and maritime connections. Together with trends in global logistics, such as increasing interest in multimodal solutions, this creates a need to improve existing transportation infrastructure, and opens up opportunities for the development of new routes.
The increase in EU-Asia trade volumes affects countries located along Northern and Southern routes alike, but specific feature of the ND area is its proximity to the Arctic with its fragile ecosystem. The rising international interest in the natural resources of the Arctic together with its improving accessibility due to changing climate conditions are expected to increase traffic in this area. This surges the need for policies that ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of transportation infrastructure in the ND area. Future transportation solutions need to be developed in a manner that are cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly.
The complexity of the Europe-Asia transportation architecture implies that policy-making in the ND area needs to take into account the interests of national, regional, EU-level and external parties. For example, many of the planned transport and logistics investments to the ND area are linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Aligning of sometimes competing interests of different players is not an easy task. Yet, risks associated with increasing transportation volumes are shared, which serves a motivation to jointly develop solutions that help improving the safety and sustainability of Euro-Asian transport connections.
The Policy Brief based on the ND Future Forum on Transport* is now available. You can download the policy brief here: Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro-Asian Transport Connections (pdf).
Dr. Elena Rovenskaya, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dr. Päivi Karhunen & Prof. Riitta Kosonen & Piia Heliste, CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Transport: Emerging trade routes between Europe and Asia – Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on Northern Europe on 20 November 2018 in Brussels. It brought together top researchers, decision-makers and leading transport companies to discuss the future developments in land and Arctic maritime connections between Europe and Asia. The event featured two knowledge arenas consisting of expert and practitioner interventions followed by decision maker comments and a moderated discussion.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 4 - January 2019
Healthy Ageing Calls for a Holistic Approach
Ageing is a challenge and an opportunity
By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years globally. This challenges ageing societies with increasing costs related to population ageing and with a growing need for health and social services, including those related to age-related diseases.
The maintenance of health and well-being of the ageing population is a burning policy issue in countries in the Northern Dimension area, which are among the first ones to face this challenge. Solutions are needed to produce high-quality and cost-effective services for the elderly, and to encourage the citizens to take responsibility of their own health and wellbeing.
Tackling the challenges of ageing calls for viewing it not only as a burden but also as an opportunity. The concept of healthy ageing is about "optimizing opportunities for good health, so that older people can take an active part in society and enjoy an independent and high quality of life".
The promotion of healthy ageing calls for new types of research-based solutions that ensure access to individual health and social services, social activities, and engagement of the elderly in the design of age-friendly environments.
The Policy Brief based on the ND Future Forum on Health* is now available. Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 4 January 2019
You can download the policy brief here: Healthy Ageing Calls for a Holistic Approach
Prof. Arja Rautio, Thule Institute, University of Oulu
Ms. Minna Hanhijärvi, Aalto University School of Business / CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
Dr. Päivi Karhunen, Aalto University School of Business / CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
Prof. Riitta Kosonen, Aalto University School of Business / CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute
*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Health: Healthy Ageing on 28 November 2018 in Vantaa, Finland. The event gathered researchers, professionals, civil servants and decision-makers to discuss the future challenges and opportunities in providing support, services and environments enhancing health and wellbeing among senior citizens. The event featured three knowledge arenas focusing on the topical themes of loneliness and mental health, managing healthy life-styles and preventing ageing related diseases, and creating environments supporting healthy aging.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 5 - June 2019
Euro-Asian land transport links – opportunities for rail
Growing trade volumes between Asia and Europe, changes in the goods structure and new localization patterns of industries and businesses in Asia and to some extent even in Europe in combination with strategic infrastructure and operational improvements on Euro-Asian land-routes, in particular by China and Russia, are key causes behind increasing rail freight volumes on the Euro-Asian landbridge. There are two groups of land route options, the Northern Routes, passing on some part over Russian territory, and the Southern Routes, bypassing Russia to the South (partly involving sections with ferry/short-sea-traffic via the Caspian and/or the Black Sea).
For the time being,
*only the Northern Routes are fully functioning for rail traffic between China and Europe and there are reasons to assume that they will stay highly competitive against the Southern Routes even once the latter will have been established in full length, i.a. due to a distance advantage to large parts of China.
*the Southern Routes contain important development perspectives i.a. through the possibility to connect to regions and emerging economies in Southern and South-Eastern Asia currently not linked to the Euro-Asian rail landbridge.
Thus, while a certain route competition certainly may arise, the Northern and Southern Routes are also complementary; their (geographical) market focuses have a certain overlap, but are not identical, and their development should be considered with this perspective in mind.
At the same time, there are still serious challenges of infrastructural, organizational and political nature to overcome, until the Southern Routes will be able to show a performance comparable to those of the Northern Routes.
Together the ongoing improvement of the Northern Routes and the gradual evolution of new Southern Routes can be an important impetus and generate a new momentum for the development of rail freight between Asia and Europe.
The Policy Brief authored by Dr. Gerhard Troche is based on his presentation at the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Transport*. You can download the policy brief here: Euro-Asian land transport links – opportunities for rail (pdf).
*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Transport: Emerging trade routes between Europe and Asia – Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on Northern Europe on 20 November 2018 in Brussels. It brought together top researchers, decision-makers and leading transport companies to discuss the future developments in land and Arctic maritime connections between Europe and Asia.
Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 6 - September 2019
Healthy ageing innovations in care for older residents of remote northern areas
The number of older people is rising in all developed societies. Taking care of them is a tremendous challenge, especially in remote and rural areas. Our innovation is based on understanding the needs of older people living in remote communities of Northern Russia. The innovation is called “Foster family for lonely older persons” and suggests proactive identification and planning regarding older persons’ future needs: simplification of the design and delivery of services, and context-sensitive, social and cultural approaches to change their lifestyles and healthy habits.
It allows older people to stay and receive care in their local community, and avoids the relocation stress caused by moving to other areas. In this way, it acknowledges the benefits of an ‘ageing in place’ approach, recommended by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
- Recommendation 1. Introduce a tiered compensation mechanism with greater remuneration packages for caretakers who provide services to older persons with a higher degree of disability. The foster families can represent a more cost-effective way of providing care to older persons.
- Recommendation 2. Make sure that people know about the foster family initiative. Advertise the programme not only on the regional TV but also by radio and social networks to improve dissemination channels.
- Recommendation 3. The bureaucracy is what affects the sustainability of the foster family programme. Make sure to find the balance between ensuring the safety of this programme for the participants, providing support in a way that is not burdening the participants and collecting data despite resource constraints. This will require a tailored monitoring and evaluation package for various foster family types.
The Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 6 - September 2019 is now available.
You can download the policy brief here: Healthy ageing innovations in care for older residents of remote northern areas (pdf).
Learn more about our innovation from the references, or feel free to contact the authors: