Exploring the Northern Dimension

The Northern Dimension (ND)

The Northern Dimension (ND) is a joint policy of four equal partners: the European Union (EU), Russian Federation, Norway and Iceland. It was initiated in 1999 and renewed in 2006. The EU member states also take part in the cooperation in their national capacities. Belarus, which is part of the Baltic Sea catchment area, participates in practical cooperation. The USA and Canada hold observer status in the ND.

The ND policy aims at supporting stability, well-being and sustainable development in the region by means of practical cooperation. The Northern Dimension covers a wide range of sectors, such as the environment, nuclear safety, health, energy, transport, logistics, promotion of trade and investment, research, education and culture, to name a few.

The Northern Dimension operates through four partnerships; the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP), the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS), the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL) and the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC). The structure, nature and tasks of partnerships vary from project-centered financing to expert-oriented cooperation.

The Northern Dimension Institute, the Northern Dimension Business Council and the Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum complement the cooperation and increase awareness of the ND within the wider society.

The ND works in close collaboration with the regional councils and other cooperation arrangements in the Baltic Sea and Barents regions. Four regional councils operating in the North are the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Arctic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. They are all intergovernmental cooperation forums that operate in their own geographical region and support the implementation of Northern Dimension projects in various ways. Actors cooperate by identifying joint priority areas, building on the work already done and seeking a more systematic approach to foster synergies and avoid overlap of activities.

International financial institutions (e.g. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Nordic Investment Bank, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation) are important actors in the projects implemented within the Northern Dimension. In addition, the ND implements the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) with countries outside the EU.

For more information on the Northern Dimension, please visit ND’s official site on European External Action Services’ website.


This website generates, gathers and disseminates knowledge and information on the Northern Dimension. The website is maintained by the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI), which is an open network community of universities and research institutes.

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