What is the future of the Nordic region and is there real inclusion in sight for youth? Those are questions to consider after the joint meeting in Stockholm between 9 youth representatives and the Nordic prime ministers held in October 2019.
The Nordic Council brings stakeholders together from all the Nordic countries and autonomous areas, including the Nordic Prime Ministers and Nordic youth representatives. Sustainable development is of course at the top of the agenda and this year a big step has been taken towards 2030. On the 20th of August a new vision was adopted, which states the goal of making the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The focus priorities include a green Nordic region, a competitive region through green growth, and a socially sustainable region, ensuring inclusion and equality for all. Iceland is currently holding the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and they have decided to focus on youth. This has meant the organising of dialogue meetings and inclusion of youth in different fora.
Today, Wednesday, marks the third dialogue meeting between youth and the Nordic Prime Ministers, where our youth representatives have given their views and opinions on how to make the above vision a reality and how to make progress in the fight against climate change. The representatives from 10 different youth organisations were presenting their points of action to be included in the action plans to achieve the 2030 vision.
Youth was included from the whole Nordic region including Simon Holmström from the ReGeneration 2030 board. He emphasised the youth’s call for a new political
leadership. Along with the other youth representatives, he was able to present his points for action to the ministers including asking the Nordic Council of Ministers should set an end date for the use of fossil fuels in the Nordic region
The joint statement of the youth representatives leaves no uncertainty about the key demand of the youth:
“We, the Nordic youth representatives, consider human-caused climate change as one of the greatest challenges of our time. The climate crisis impacts our existence and is the fateful question that our generation unwillingly inherited from the generations before us. It is now our responsibility we have to share and carry together. It requires an unseen degree of collaboration, courage and will across national borders, sectors of society and generations.”
The statement includes 14 demands among others phasing out fossil fuels, sharing best practices among Nordic countries, doing more to support sustainable consumption patterns, and ensuring an intergenerational and just approach.
Simon expressed mixed feelings after the dialogue meeting, saying that,
”We were disappointed that the prime ministers made excuses claiming that their countries work climate smart when we in the Nordic countries seem to be stuck in the same place.” There is still reason to hope and he also says that “I am pleased that the prime ministers gave an opening to discuss one of our most important requirements, to set an end date for the use of fossil fuels.” He still expect the prime ministers to take the joint statement seriously and use it in the concretisation of the vision.
After the meeting, Simon had a short chat with Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Icelandic prime minister, the current chair of the Nordic co-operation. She was seemingly interested discussing the idea of setting an end date for the use of fossil fuels.
"I hope that this constructive dialogue will continue also after the Icelandic presidency," says Simon, "ReGeneration 2030 is a fantastic platform for that."
Author: Stinne Friis Vognæs