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Northern Dimension

The Northern Dimension (ND) is an instrument of cooperation between four equal partners: the European Union, Russian Federation, Norway and Iceland. Geographically the ND covers Northwest Russia, the Baltic Sea region and the European Arctic areas, including the Barents region.

Revontulet. Kuva: Visit Finland, Miikka Niemi
The Northern Dimension embodies several areas of cooperation which are of concrete importance to the citizens of the area. Photo: Visit Finland, Miikka Niemi
The Northern Dimension policies seek to strengthen stability, well-being and sustainable development in the region by means of practical cooperation. In addition to governments, universities, research institutes and the business community also participate in the ND cooperation.

In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs coordinates the policy of Northern Dimension.

The Northern Dimension partnerships model

The ND partnerships vary greatly. However, all of them aim to combine policies, expert work and practical-level project work. Because of their diverse working methods, they have proved to be viable for concrete cooperation.

ND cooperation takes place within four partnerships:

Activities are also pursued through the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) and the Northern Dimension Business Council (NDBC).

The ND policies' own bodies convene on a regular basis to discuss the development of policies. Partner countries' MPs also meet every other year at a Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum to discuss the development of activities.

Funding of the Northern Dimension

EU-funding earmarked to projects carried out under ND partnerships creates stability and continuity in the ND cooperation. ND cooperation is based on the principle of co-financing. Funding is provided not only by the participating states but also via the EU's funding instruments and programmes and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP)

Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership addresses issues relevant to the region's environment: the protection of water bodies (Baltic Sea and Barents Sea), nuclear safety and special issues such as waste management and district heating projects. The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership was established in 2001. Its objective is to support and co-ordinate funding for priority cross-border environmental projects in the ND area.

To support the partnership, the NDEP Support Fund was established by the initiative of International Financial Institutions. Partners involved are the European Union, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. By 2015, a total of EUR 347 million has been allocated to the NDEP Support Fund, in which contributions to environmental projects total EUR 181 million and funding of nuclear safety projects EUR 166 million.

The Fund supports environmental and energy efficiency projects in Northwest Russia and Kaliningrad and nuclear waste projects especially in the Kola Peninsula.  An example of one of the most concrete environmental projects is the treatment of waste waters in St Petersburg. The main accomplishment of the project is that now 98.4% of all waste water brought into the Gulf of Finland is treated.

Environmental cooperation has also been extended to Belarus, which belongs to the catchment area of the Baltic Sea. In the sector of nuclear safety, projects under way relate to the processing of radioactive waste and the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Operators in the ND Environmental Partnership area include International Financial Institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO).

Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS)

The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being was established in 2003 to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and prevent life-style related diseases, to promote well-being and quality of life of people living in the area and to support cooperation in the health and social sectors.

The core of the partnership is formed by expert groups which focus on the following:

  2. primary health and prison health systems
  3. alcohol and substance abuse
  4. non-communicable diseases related to lifestyles

The NDPHS Secretariat is located in Stockholm.  The partnership does not have project financing. Instead, interested parties provide funding for projects on a case-by-case basis.

Northern Dimension Partnership for Transport and Logistics (NDPTL)

Transport is one of the developing priority areas of the Northern Dimension. Improvement of transport infrastructure is important for the economic development of the area.

The Northern Dimension Partnership for Transport and Logistics was established in October 2009. The partnership is geared to accelerate projects related to northern transport routes in the Baltic Sea and the Barents regions.

In addition to projects, the partnership serves as a forum for harmonising policies and practices relating to transport and traffic issues.  To provide funding for projects, a fund has been established on Finland's initiative.  The NDPTL Secretariat operates in Helsinki.

Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC)

The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture was established in May 2010. The Partnership promotes the creation of economically viable cultural activities and exchange of information on cooperation and financing opportunities. The aim is to increase international awareness of the cultural heritage of the Northern Dimension area.

Cooperation across various creative industries has also been strengthened through the partnership.

Northern Dimension Institute (NDI)

The Northern Dimension Institute, established in November 2009, is a university network focusing on themes of Northern Dimension. The Institute aims to strengthen and promote the themes of Northern Dimension in the areas of science, education and research.

The Northern Dimension Institute is open to all interested higher-level educational institutions, researchers and research institutes – in the area of Northern Dimension or elsewhere.

NDI is coordinated by the Center for Markets in Transition of Aalto University in cooperation with Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Northern (Arctic) Federal University.

Northern Dimension Business Council (NDBC)

Northern Dimension Business Council promotes networking between companies and dialogue between business and government structures in the Northern Dimension area. Practical work is carried out in sector- and theme-specific working groups, which are all co-chaired by European and Russian chairmen.

 Sectoral working groups include cleantech, pharmaceutical industry, machine building (components for cars) and creative industries. Thematic groups focus on energy efficiency, funding and education/labour issues. All forms of cooperation are open to interested companies irrespective of their size or country of origin.

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