NSPA calls for a key role for the regions in EU’s work towards a sustainable Arctic

The NSPA has submitted a response to the European Commission's public consultation on “Streamlining EU funding in the Arctic” for the continued work towards a sustainable growth in the Arctic area.

The NSPA (Northern Sparsely Populated Areas) has submitted a response to the European Commission's public consultation on "Streamlining EU funding in the Arctic" for the continued work towards a sustainable growth in the Arctic area. In the response, the NSPA expresses appreciation for the EU level interest in the Arctic issues. The NSPA is pleased to note that the European Commission emphasizes the need for dialogue between the member states, Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders. However, the NSPA stresses that the regions - representing the people who live in the arctic areas - should be considered as one of the key stakeholders and included in the discussions concerning the EU Arctic strategy and respective EU financing instruments. 

In the response, the NSPA welcomes EU acknowledgement of the importance of the different EU financing instruments, especially structural- and investments funds, in the development of the European Arctic. The European Arctic is more densely populated compared to other parts of the Arctic, and can show many examples of excellence in research and industry. Furthermore, the NSPA provides good practices for sustainable development and the bio economy, and integrating raw-material industries and new growing sectors such as tourism and indigenous people's interests. The NSPA emphasizes that the strategies on how to use the EU funding instruments must start with the regional stakeholders in the regions concerned, in close cooperation with the EU institutions.

Challenges and opportunities in the Arctic according to NSPA
From the NSPA point of view, the main future challenges will be the development of the logistics in the regions to ensure the functioning of internal and external connections. Easy access to and from the region is essential for the exchange of goods and knowledge. Also, increasing the level of refinement of raw materials in the region and using the natural resources as the main source for jobs and growth is a challenge. The European Arctic should not be left as a reservoir and the local societies should benefit from the valuable raw materials in the region.

The European Arctic and its enormous raw material deposits offer a significant input not only for the jobs and growth possibilities in the NSPA, but they also bring a substantial added value for European competitiveness and growth. The potential of the regions should be taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of the EU financing instruments applicable for the Arctic.

Regional research should be given priority
Research, development and innovation funding plays an important role for the development of the European Arctic. The NSPA stresses that actors in the North provide excellence and value added for the European level research and development in a range of topics such as: cold climate research and technology, raw materials and new materials, e-solutions, climate change adaption and green technology. It is important to secure resources for mapping the trends, changes and development in the European Arctic. The research institutions of the NSPA are world leading in polar research and knowledge of the Arctic and play a key role in disseminating and supplying the EU with this knowledge. In the EU's continuing work towards the Arctic issues, the research institutions in the North should be a given a significant role which can also contribute to the NSPA region's growth.

For further reading, download the NSPA response to the public consultation on "Streamlining EU funding in the Arctic" here. If you need more information or have any questions about the NSPA's response on the consultation of EU funding in the Arctic, please contact any of the NSPA offices.

12 Dec 2014