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Nordic cooperation

The Nordic Countries share a long-running tradition of environmental cooperation. Cooperation takes place in the areas of

  • climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • the risks posed to humans and the environment by chemicals and chemical substances in products
  • protecting the oceans and marine resources
  • preservation of biodiversity and
  • promotion of circular economy and sustainable consumption and production.

These countries also cooperate in the fields of spatial planning and building.

From the viewpoint of the Ministry of the Environment, the most important cooperation body is the intergovernmental Nordic Council of Ministers. At the same time, the Nordic Council acts as the countries' interparliamentary body.

Within the Nordic Council of Ministers, environmental issues are the responsibility of Ministers of the Environment, who convene approximately two times a year. Nordic cooperation participants include Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, and Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Nordic environmental cooperation is based on the Programme for Nordic Co-operation on the Environment and Climate and the sustainable development strategy of the Nordic Countries and the surrounding areas.

Six permanent working groups have been set up to conduct environmental cooperation. More information of the working groups available from the website of the Environment Council of Ministers. (https://www.norden.org/en/organisation/nordic-council-ministers-environment-and-climate-mr-mk)

  • Nordic Working Group for Circular Economy (NCE)
  • Nordic Working Group for Climate and Air (NKL)
  • Nordic Working Group for Chemicals, Environment, and Health (NKE)
  • Nordic Working Group for Biodiversity (NBM)
  • Nordic Working Group for Oceans and Coastal Areas (NHK)
  • Nordic Working Group for Environment and Economy (NME) (jointly with the finance sector)


The environment prize and the ecolabel

The annual environment prize of the Nordic Council is granted to a person or organisation that has promoted environmental protection. This award's theme varies from year to year.

The purpose of the Nordic ecolabel, The swan, is to provide the most objective information possible on the environmental effect of goods and services. It is the first multinational ecolabel.

Nordic cooperation in Russia, the Baltic Countries and Arctic regions

The Nordic Countries also consider it important to resolve environmental issues in their neighbouring regions. The Nordic Council of Ministers is an observer on the Arctic Council and monitors the operations of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. In their cooperation with neighbouring regions, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council participate in the implementation of the EU's Northern Dimension action plan.

Actions taken by the Nordic Council of Ministers in Arctic areas are directed by the council's Arctic co-operation programme.

The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) are funding environmental projects in the surrounding areas.

Border area cooperation, spatial planning and building

The Nordic Council of Minister engages in environmental border area cooperation on the Kvarken Council and the North Calotte Council. Finland has long-standing agreements on transboundary waters with Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Essential annual meetings of the spatial planning and building authorities include

  • Nordisk Planmöte
  • Nordisk Byggmyndighetsmöte NBM
  • Nordic Build.

Nordregio is a Nordic research institute focusing on regional development and land use planning.

Further information

Kaarina Saramäki, Counsellor, Nordic Cooperation, tel. +358 50 514 9839, firstname.lastname@ym.fi
Published 2013-07-30 at 13:36, updated 2019-05-08 at 13:53