A summer with many extreme weather events across Europe has already provided us all with a hint. We need to move faster when it comes to sustainable transition and a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The newly published baseline report, “THE NORDICS – a sustainable and integrated region?” backs what nature has told us this summer.
Green transition is the greatest challenge we are facing – also in the Nordic Region. And if the Nordic countries are to meet the vision as the world’s most sustainable region, set by the Nordic Council of Ministers, then action is needed.
- We have eight years to achieve the vision, so we have no time to waste. If we are to succeed in this, the whole of the Nordic region must move in the same direction. This year's climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, will be an important place to continue our co-operation across politics, business, civil society, and citizens, says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers
Reading through the report it is outlined how the Nordic Region’s progress on several sustainability parameters, including climate and the environment. The conclusion is clear; there is still some way to go before the Nordic Region can live up to its vision as the world’s most sustainable and integrated region.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the Nordics are still too high, and biodiversity is under pressure. Moreover, the report shows that the Nordic countries also face the challenge of overconsumption and overproduction.
- The Nordic Council of Ministers has shown strong leadership by setting clear indicators for Our Vision 2030 and committing to monitoring progress over time. With the baseline and the strong involvement process of Nordic civil society, the Nordic Council of Ministers has given us a strong tool to promote and fulfill the vision set by the Nordic Prime Ministers, says Christine Lunde Rasmussen from Ramboll Management Consulting.
Christine is Market Manager working with sustainability in Ramboll and has been responsible for developing the baseline report.
When it comes to green innovation and green growth, the Nordic Region is well underway. And especially renewable energy sources are gaining ground. According to Christine Lunde Rasmussen those positive results must be used as steppingstones:
- When a whole region can move as fast as the Nordics have done over the last years within the area of renewable energy, that just goes to tell, that sustainable change is possible when the right conditions and opportunities are made available.
With the Nordic Council of Ministers vision of becoming the world’s most sustainable and integrated region and also adopting an action plan that outlines the initiatives to support sustainable development and integration - some of right conditions and opportunities are already in place.
Being a sustainable region also means, that the wellbeing of citizens is important, and therefore the baseline also looks at the social sustainability aspect.
As with the green transition there are also both good and bad news, but on a general level the region is doing well on social sustainability. Across the region there are challenges relating to gender equality and equality between individuals in society. The Nordic labour market does not have a good gender balance, and the integration of non-EU citizens is stumbling.
On the other hand, the Nordic countries are doing well when it comes to competitiveness, in areas such as education, research, and innovation. And Nordic citizens enjoy good health, a high degree of economic equality, strong social trust, and a vibrant cultural life.
In August 2019, the Nordic prime ministers adopted a new vision for Nordic co-operation which aims to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.
In the report you can find an overview of the baseline for the for the three strategic areas of the Nordic vision.
The baseline was compiled for the Nordic Council of Ministers by Rambøll Management Consulting and measures the progress of the work on sustainability in the Nordic countries across 45 indicators, within the three strategic priorities 'a green Nordic Region', 'a competitive Nordic Region' and 'a socially sustainable Nordic Region’.