Sustainability and climate change were the main issues discussed when the Nordic prime ministers met in Reykjavík on 20 August. Their new vision for the Nordic Council of Ministers articulates clearly that they want Nordic co-operation to be a more effective instrument in efforts to make the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The other agenda items were also addressed in the light of the climate situation.
The challenges faced by the planet and the climate concerns being expressed more and more strongly, especially by the younger generations, must be taken seriously, according to the new vision.
“The Nordic countries have the opportunity to take the lead in global climate efforts. We’re ready to take on this role,” said Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who chaired the meeting.
Nordic co-operation is based on values, and those shared values make it easier for decision-makers in the region to agree on the most important steps to take.
The prime ministers stressed that all parts of Nordic co-operation will need to adopt new and clearer priorities to make the region greener, more competitive, as well as socially and culturally more sustainable, and that this will entail joint initiatives on innovation, education and research.
“We know that it’s difficult to prioritise, but we must accept our responsibility. We have to show people, and not least the younger generations, that we mean what we say, and that we practice what we preach,” says Jakobsdóttir.
A carbon-neutral region
Earlier in the year, the prime ministers agreed to pursue carbon neutrality. This goal is high on the list of issues to which they see Nordic co-operation making a contribution. The measures required to achieve it will have an impact on most areas of society.
Nordic CEOs ready to assume responsibility
It is not just the public sector in the Nordic Region that has a high profile on sustainability and environmental issues. While in Iceland, the prime ministers also met with Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future.
In a joint declaration the prime ministers and CEOs presented an extensive list of necessary and urgent measures if the Nordic Region is to live up to its commitments under the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030.
In keeping with the prime ministers’ new vision for Nordic co-operation, the joint declaration calls on the Nordic Council of Ministers to draw up proposals for concrete measures to achieve these goals at Nordic level.
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The joint declaration ends with the following pledges:
“The Prime Ministers and the CEOs agree that collaboration and common actions focused on the areas of climate change, smarter climate-based consumption and production, and ensuring an equal and fairer society are the most pressing. Therefore, we commit to:
- pursue climate diplomacy in international forums to deliver solutions with impact on global emissions and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- getting more done, faster, in light of the importance of making progress towards 2030
- being global leaders and advocates for climate action
- taking common steps to deliver towards SDGs 5, 12 and 13
- explore a common action-led agenda at the meeting of the Nordic Prime Ministers in Stockholm October 2019”
Prime Ministers and Premiers present at the meeting represented Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Aaland. German Chancellor Angela Merkel participated at the press conference.
Source: Nordic Co-Operation
Photo: Nordic Co-Operation. Photographer Sigurjon Ragnar