Exploring the Northern Dimension

Maritime activities in the Baltic Sea assessed in HELCOM report

HELCOM released in March 2018 the most comprehensive assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea region currently available – covering distribution of activities at sea, developments over time, related environmental issues as well as future perspectives and scenarios. The vast number of activities addressed include operational and accidental pollution from maritime traffic, fisheries, aquaculture, offshore energy production, cables and pipelines, submerged hazardous objects, and leisure boating.

Read the HELCOM Maritime Assessment 2018here.

NCM Publication: Baltic 2030 Bumps on the Road: How the Baltic Sea States are performing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The report Baltic 2030: Bumps on the Road provides an overview of the 2030 Agenda implementation in the Baltic Sea Region, aimed at informing strategy and prioritisation discussions for national and regional collaboration. For each of the region’s eleven countries, performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is examined and five selected SDGs are discussed at the indicator level. Based on this analysis, the authors recommend seven avenues for action where greater collaboration in the region can support SDG achievement. The report was commissioned by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and is jointly published by CBSS and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM). It was drafted by the advisory firm Nordic Sustainability and follows the previous Bumps on the Road to 2030 report published by the NCM in 2017.
 

NCM published Nordic Bioeconomy Programme: 15 Action Points for Sustainable Change

Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat have published the Nordic Bioeconomy Programme: 15 Action Points for Sustainable Change, which combines environmental, social and economic ambitions for a more sustainable Region. The bioeconomy is of fundamental importance to the national economies of the Nordic countries, and especially important for rural development in large parts of the Region. The programme aims to create new industries and value chains and to facilitate and guide the transition of bio-based industries into technology advanced industries, and to optimise the production and value creation of biomass. The programme sets out a vision for the Nordic bioeconomy based on four pillars:
  • competitive bio-based industries
  • sustainable resource management
  • resilient and diverse ecosystems
  • inclusive economic development
To reach this vision, the programme defines 15 action points under three thematic areas: Innovate – Accelerate – Network. The focus is on development of new policies on regional, national and Nordic level, for increased funding, better education, labelling and certificates, bioeconomy clusters and several other areas. The programme also contains an appendix with sustainability principles that can be seen as a step towards developing common ground and good practices for a sustainable bioeconomy in the Nordic Region.
 
Read the Programme at the NCM website.
 

ND Newsflash 1/2016 is published

The latest issue of ND Newsflash 1/2016 is published on March, 2016.  

ND Newsflash gives a floor to ND actors and their stakeholders to raise their voice in topical issues close to their heart within the ND thematic focus areas. In the ND Newsflash a broad scope of viewpoints is presented ranging from ND Partnerships, ND Business Council, academic actors, policy makers and NGOs.

Read the ND Newsflash 1/2016

NDI BACKGROUND PAPER 2: Polar Code and other measures to improve safety of shipping in the Arctic

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Summary: The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, better known as the “Polar Code”, came into force on 1 January 2017 to improve safety for ship operations in remote waters of the polar regions. It was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a legally binding international framework that builds on existing mandatory regulations set by IMO in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The goal for implementing the Polar Code is “to provide for safe ship operation and the protection of the polar environment by addressing risks present in polar waters and not adequately mitigated by other instruments of the Organization” [10].

This paper gives an overview of how the regulations have contributed to enhancing the safety of ship operations and mitigating environmental risks in the Arctic. At the time of writing (November 2020), the Polar Code has been in force for more than three years, so it is time to assess how its implementation has affected the safety of shipping and how it takes environmental issues into account. We identify a number of issues that hamper the effective implementation of the Polar Code, including inadequate maritime infrastructure in the Arctic, the discrepancy between national requirements and those of the Polar Code, and too descriptive requirements concerning, for example, survival equipment and resources. Other areas that need improvement relate to the training of ship crews, and to the bringing the environmental regulation for marine traffic in the Arctic to the same level as in the Antarctic waters. We further examine additional ways of ensuring the safety of polar shipping and protecting polar waters in the era of increasing marine operations, taking into account the on-going work of IMO. 

Read more and download the Background Paper here (link).

For more information, please contact the author:
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia, s.kuznecova [a] narfu.ru

NDI Policy Brief 10: Symbolic resources of the Russian North in the global experience economy

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This Policy Brief gives recommendations for the development of cultural products and creative entrepreneurship in the Russian North through the conceptual lenses of symbolic resources and the experience economy. The global experience economy has changed the value chain logic of the cultural market from the traditional production and consumption of creative products and services into co-creation of cultural experiences. This co-creation implies that symbolic resources, such as the cultural heritage, are interpreted in a novel way that transforms them into experiences connected to time and place. Cultural projects, which started in the Russian North-West in late 1990s and follow the logic of the experience economy, have proved their sustainability on the regional and global cultural scenes. Their success is explained by common features of the artistic content and organizational models. These features include the artistic interpretation of Northern cultural symbols and the formation of comfortable spaces for creative interaction of actors with different backgrounds.

Maryin Dom 1

Opening of the artistic residence "Maryin Dom" in Shakola village, photo by Irina Efimova

The Policy Brief gives the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1. New visions of the Northern Russian heritage as the valuable resource for cultural innovation should be promoted and supported in the spheres of service design, creative tourism and event management.

Recommendation 2. Creative places of the Russian North hosting experimental art activities, as well as traditional cultural and commercial events need to be promoted as powerful territorial brands.

Recommendation 3. Applied research on management and organizational issues of the “unorthodox” cultural products development and on the implementation of hybrid symbolic meanings to the traditional landscapes will help to share the best practices of cultural entrepreneurship.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:

Anna Soloveva, professor at the World History Department, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia, a.soloveva[at]narfu.ru

 

NDI POLICY BRIEF 11: Arctic shipping needs anti-avoidance rules to mitigate environmental disasters

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Global warming will accelerate the melting of ice and release some of the Arctic territories for shipping. On the one hand, it will have a positive impact on world trade but on the other hand, the risk of ship accidents and environmental disasters will increase. In the period from 2010 to 2019, 512 ship accidents in Arctic Circle Waters were reported, not without damage to the environment. However, today's legal structure of the shipping industry makes it virtually impossible to make the ultimate owners of ships liable and responsible for environmental costs. There is no international regulation that would pressure the shipping industry to increase its corporate responsibility and to make more sustainable decisions of using clean fuels, improving the environmental friendliness of ships, or recycling old ships.

  • Recommendation 1. To improve availability and transparency of ultimate beneficial ownership data in the shipping industry.
  • Recommendation 2. To develop mechanisms to hold the ship's ultimate beneficial owners liable for maritime incidents such as oil spills.
  • Recommendation 3. To design anti-avoidance rules applicable to the use of flags of convenience and last-voyage flags (in the spirit of anti-tax avoidance rules).

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:
Dmitry Erokhin, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, erokhin [a] iiasa.ac.at

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020. 

NDI POLICY BRIEF 12: Wind Energy is a key solution for remote area energy supply in the High North of Russia

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The energy supply in the Russian Federation is characterized by a large number of remote northern settlements which are powered by imported fossil fuel, mostly diesel fuel. Therefore, sustainable development of remote northern territories is a major challenge. One solution to this challenge is to increase the use of wind energy. The replacement of a majority of diesel power plants with wind power plants would reduce economic costs and environmental risks, and thus contribute to the sustainable development in the High North.

  • Recommendation 1. To invest in the construction of wind power plants in the High North with the plant capacity corresponding the demand of electrical capacity of the settlement. Initial investments represent the largest part of the wind power plant costs. These investments are paid off by using a natural renewable energy source.
  • Recommendation 2. To support research on the icing of wind power plants and the development of de-icing systems. Solving the icing problem is the key to the sustainable operation of wind turbines in the north.
  • Recommendation 3. To integrate wind power plants to existing power supply networks to create a smart grid system. This system would eliminate the risk of energy shortages caused by possible wind instability.
  • Recommendation 4. To raise public awareness about the benefits of clean and renewable energy through distributing information on television, organizing training courses for companies, and providing education in schools and universities.

A map of Russia presenting mean wind speeds in the area A map of mean wind speeds in Russia

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:
Dr Pavel Maryandyshev, NARFU, Arkhangelsk, Russia, p.marjyandishev [a] narfu.ru

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI POLICY BRIEF 13: Analysis of subjective wellbeing is important for wellbeing development in the Northern Dimension area

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Actors in the social and health care often aim to improve wellbeing of the population in various interventions and development projects. The evaluation of their outcome is usually based on objective wellbeing criteria only, although people’s subjective wellbeing (SWB) is the foundation of the wellbeing of the population. Therefore, the viewpoint of families and experiences of individual people should always be essential and deeply considered whenever wellbeing is evaluated. This is feasible, as subjective wellbeing can be directly measured by qualitative interviews and questionnaires, and many large international research programs have studied subjective wellbeing.

This policy brief is based on a current study on the subjective wellbeing of Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians, which was investigated on European Social Survey data from 2006 to 2016 with 48 000 interviewed respondents. The results show that subjective wellbeing was improving slowly during the period of investigation, and that there were several factors connected to subjective wellbeing. The most important ones include health, income, trust, religiosity and not being unemployed. The results allow making the following recommendations for actors in the health and social care, and for the work under the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing.

  • Recommendation 1. Subjective wellbeing should be acknowledged in all development projects, decisions, interventions and studies addressing health and wellbeing. Health is an important part of SWB, but not the only one.
  • Recommendation 2. Data from large-scale international studies can be helpful in the evaluation and interpretation of final outcomes of wellbeing development projects. If the outcome is not easy to assess, SWB measured in existing studies would help to detect the change in wellbeing.
  • Recommendation 3. Cross-sectoral co-operation and information exchange are beneficial for the assessment of wellbeing outcome of development projects and for research.

A figure about subjective wellbeign of  Estonians, Latvian, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians in 2006-2016

Figure: Subjective wellbeing of Estonians, Latvian, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians in 2006-2016 (scale 0-10),
presented in yearly means of wellbeing scores of 48000 interviewed respondents according to ESS data.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here (link).

For more information, please contact the author:
Paula Vainiomäki, PhD (Medicine), MSc (Social Politics), University of Turku, NDPHS PHC, pavaini [a] utu.fi

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

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