For 20 years, the NPA programme has provided a framework for regions to work together with a focus on promoting sustainable development in remote and sparsely populated communities. The next generation will continue to do this, focusing on those themes and types of activities that are deemed to benefit most from transnational cooperation between the regions in the NPA area. The process to identify such themes and activities started approximately one year ago and involved experts, project practitioners, politicians as well as anybody with an interest in the NPA area.
Preparing the Cooperation Document
In the Spring of 2020, the preparations for the NPA 2021-2027 started under the guidance of the Programme Planning Group (PPG), which consisted of national and regional representatives from 7 countries (Member States Finland, Ireland, and Sweden in cooperation with the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway) and observers from Canada, Russia, NORA, and the Arctic Council’s Indigenous Peoples Secretariat.
As a first step, during the summer of 2020, an area analysis was carried out by the European Policies Research Centre, which provided the context for transnational cooperation in this part of Europe. This analysis looked at the main joint challenges in the programme area, taking into account: economic aspects and innovation, green development and the environment, connectivity and networks, community and people, lessons learnt from past experience, as well as complementarity with other forms of support and territorial strategies. Based on the analysis, the PPG agreed on a range of themes for the future NPA programme, organized in Priorities and Specific Objectives.
The NPA programme has a tradition of involving regional and project stakeholders in the drafting process, to ensure that the programme’s approach is rooted in the needs of the programme area. For this reason in February-March 2021, a consultation of the draft Priorities for the forthcoming NPA 2021-2027 took place, including 3 consultation workshops entitled “Shape the future NPA”. Valuable input from the consultations was used to update the Priorities.
The Priorities are one of the key elements of the Cooperation Programme, the official document describing the strategy, focus and financing of the next Northern Periphery and Arctic, from 2021 until 2027. Besides the Priorities, other chapters of the draft Cooperation Programme document were presented to the Programme Planning Group at their meeting on 14th and 15th April 2021. The PPG agreed to an advanced draft document which was made available for a public consultation between April and May 2021. The input collected from the consultation helped to compile the final draft Cooperation Programme document, which was approved by the Shadow Monitoring Committee 2027 on 8th June 2021.
On 18th June, the Cooperation Programme was submitted for approval at national level, the final step, prior to submission of the document to the European Commission in the autumn of 2021.
The shadow Monitoring Committee will meet again at the end of September to agree on a range of topics in preparation of a potential First Call in late 2021.