This background paper presents the results of mapping of regional synergies in the North, implemented by the NDI as part of its EC-funded Action Support to the Northern Dimension Institute (2020-2022). The mapping was implemented by looking at the agendas of other regional policies and initiatives in the Arctic, Barents and Baltic Sea regions through the lens of the priorities of the ND thematic partnerships and of ND actors.
Key themes with potential for synergies – and also existing synergetic efforts – were found. Some of them are connected to sustainable development, such as the need for curbing black carbon emissions, promoting decarbonization of transport, and circular economy and green industries. Others address important societal issues such as healthy ageing and wellbeing, and crossovers of culture with other sectors of the society and economy. Finally, the mapping highlighted the people-to-people dimension of regional cooperation with examples of successful engagement of the science community and youth.
The mapping revealed concrete ways in which synergies already are, or could in the future be, implemented. These include sharing of information and knowledge about good and innovative practices, exploiting expertise from other regional initiatives when organizing events, co-organizing events on topics that are on the agenda of several regional initiatives, and avoiding overlapping structures and activities and building complementarities.
The key role in synergetic efforts is played by committed individuals who are engaged in several regional initiatives. Their resources are however limited, and therefore also institutional “linking pins” would be needed to foster coordination and cooperation. On a more strategic level, cross-sectoral cooperation and holistic approach should be encouraged. This is needed to tackle the complex and multidimensional societal challenges of the contemporary world. This can be done, for example, by identifying umbrella themes that cover many sectors. Such cross-sectoral approach is also likely to provide fresh insights by bringing ideas from outside the box.
Download the Background Paper: Mapping Synergies in Regional Cooperation in the Northern Dimension Area (PDF)
For more information, please contact the authors:
Päivi Karhunen, Aalto University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Riitta Kosonen, Aalto University, email@example.com