The event gathered approximately 95 participants from projects and other programmes, international organisations and stakeholders working with economic development in the Arctic.
The day was chaired by Mr Snorri Björn Sigurdsson, Director of the Development Division in the Icelandic Regional Development Institute. The morning session included speeches by the Icelandic Minister for Regional Development, Mr Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, and the Mayor of Akureyri, Mr Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson. Mr Kim Kuivalainen from the European External Action Service presented the Joint Communication on the EU Arctic Strategy.
The session "The Potential of the Arctic regions and their neighbours" focused on work carried out by the Nordic-Arctic working group for sustainable development from the Nordic Council of Ministers, presented by Ms Anna Karlsdottir, Nordregio. Mr Chris McDonald from the OECD gave a presentation about the economic development in rural and remote areas, which are not always lagging behind more urban regions. This was followed by a presentation on new opportunities for the Arctic food sector, by Mr Ólafur Reykdal from Matís.
The next session "The people's perspective" included the perspective of young people in the Nordic Arctic, presented by Ms Anna Karlsdottir, Nordregio. The importance of involving indigenous communities in regional development was highlighted by Mr Chris McDonald, OECD. Ms Kristiina Jokelainen from the Regional Council of Lapland presented the smart specialisation strategy for her region, with a focus on balancing competing interests.
A panel discussion was moderated by Mr Ole Damsgaard about the role of the European programmes operating in the Arctic and the benefits of collaborating. The first panel consisted of representatives from the Arctic Council, Arctic Economic Council, International Barents Secretariat, Northern Dimension Partnership for Health and Social Wellbeing, Nordregio and the OECD. The second round focused on European programmes, where the ENPI Kolarctic cross-border programme was represented. Reflections were offered by Dr Irene McMaster from EPRC, and Ms Katerina Kring from INTERACT.
Four brief project presentations were held: Circular Ocean (NPA Programme), Our Shared Northern Heritage (Kolarctic Programme), AnimalSense (Botnia-Atlantica Programme), and Northern Cereals (NPA Programme).
In the closing session, Mr Igor Kapyrin from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the Russian perspective on regional development in the Arctic. The final keynote speech was provided by Ms Anu Fredrikson, Director of the Arctic Economic Council Secretariat. She highlighted the importance of promoting a more balanced picture of the Arctic.
We would like to thank all participants and contributors for their active contributions. We kindly ask all participants to complete the evaluation form for the event.
Presentations can be found below.