Norwegian presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment

Nordic co-operation matters: together the Nordic region is stronger than each country on its own. We have common interests and values, not least in climate- and environmental matters. Together, the Nordic region can find better solutions and have a stronger voice globally.

In 2017 Norway holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the official intergovernmental body for co-operation  in the Nordic region. The Nordic region consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as Aaland, Greenland and The Faroe Islands.

The Nordic Council of Ministers is composed of several council formations. In the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment, "MR-M" the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen meets his Nordic colleagues. MR-M's work follows the Nordic Environmental Action Plan (2013-2018). In addition, each presidency sets its own priorities.

Norway's priorities for the Nordic climate and environmental co-operation

The programme for the Norwegian Presidency is structured along three headings: "the Nordic Region in transition", "the Nordic Region in Europe" and "the Nordic Region in the world".

The overall aim of the Norwegian presidency is to strengthen the Nordic region's ability to grasp opportunities and meet challenges in a climate- and environmentally friendly manner. Close co-operation on the follow-up of the Paris Agreement is of course a major topic.

  • "The Nordic Region in transition" concerns e.g. the competitiveness of the Nordic region and the transition to a low-emission society. Minister Helgesen will invite his Nordic colleagues to discuss green competitiveness and possible common actions. Former EU-commissioner Connie Hedegaard who co-chaired a Norwegian expert committee on the subject,  is invited to present the Report on green competitiveness.
  • "The Nordic Region in Europe": Norway aims at further strengthening the Nordic co-operation on European matters. A special area of interest will be climate and transport: Can the Nordic region push for European emission standards or other measures for greening the heavy duty vehicles segment of transport?  
  • "The Nordic Region in the world": this concerns the co-operation of the Nordic countries on international climate- and environmental topics. An important initiative is the reduction of marine litter and microplastics both in Europe and globally, e.g. by contributing to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP and former Norwegian Minister of Environment is invited to a MR-M meeting.

Presidency projects

Norway has proposed several presidency projects, two of them in the environmental area:

  • "Oceans and blue bio-economy" looks at consequences of marine litter and microplastics for the blue bio-economy and wants to find out about the role of the marine ecosystem in sequestering carbon.  
  • One of the aims of the "Attractive Nordic cities"-project is to develop a common Nordic strategy pursuing "good living conditions" in cities and urban areas

For more and updated information on the Norwegian presidency see also the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website.