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Editor : John Hille



The Nordic Council

Official Nordic co-operation is channelled through two organisations: the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Council, formed in 1952, is the forum for inter-parliamentary co-operation. The Council has 87 members, representing the five countries and three autonomous territories.

The members of the council are members of national parliaments, are nominated by their respective political parties and elected by the parliaments. There is thus no procedure for direct election to the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council, which is led by a presidium, has held annual ordinary sessions since 1996. It also arranges so-called theme sessions for comprehensive treatment of selected issues. Continuous work on policy issues in the Nordic Council is conducted via five committees and four political party groups.

Since 1998, when the Nordic Prime Ministers decided to develop a Nordic Strategy for Sustainable Development, the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) has worked ambitiously and effectively to present an encompassing strategy in order to promote sustainable development within the Nordic region. By 2001, the strategy was presented to the member states of the Nordic Council and formally adopted by the Council in April 2001. The purpose of Nordic strategy is to complement the Nordic countries' national strategies as well as other international and regional strategies for sustainable development, and thereby help strengthen efforts in the international arena. By this means, the Nordic countries can promote closer, binding international co operation for sustainable development.

The strategy, "Sustainable Development - New Bearings for the Nordic Countries" focuses on those areas where high priority is given to a common Nordic effort to implement sustainable development. These are climate, biodiversity and genetic resources, the sea, chemicals, and food safety. In addition, it focuses on making the idea of sustainable development intrinsic to the efforts in the prioritised sectors of energy, transport, agriculture, trade and industry, fisheries, hunting and aquaculture, and forestry.

The cooperation among the Nordic Ministers for the Environment builds on four-year action programmes for the environment. This plan forms the framework for the Nordic countries' environmental cooperation both within the Nordic area and in relation to the neighbouring areas, the Arctic, the EU and other international forums. The Nordic Environmental action plan 2005 - 2008 strongly emphasizes the need for integrating the various sectors and for collaboration among the various working groups in environmental matters.

The Environmental Action Plan focuses on four major themes: the environment and health; the sea; nature, the cultural environment and outdoor life; and sustainable consumption and production.

In the Nordic Council the Environment and Natural Resources Committee is responsible for questions regarding sustainable development.
Here you can find more information about The Nordic Council's work on sustainable development

[Last updated: 22.03.2006]