Nordic cooperation to cope with extreme weather

Nordic cooperation in situations of extreme weather is about to improve. Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest Research (SNS) launch a project under the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The extremely dry and hot weather this summer clearly demonstrated the need for Nordic cooperation and the benefits of learning from each other when it comes to extreme situations for agriculture and forestry.

“Not only in Sweden, the weather has set the agriculture and forestry areas on difficult tests. In these times, the need for cooperation across national borders becomes clearer than ever, and I see that we in the Nordic Council of Ministers have a natural forum to meet to discuss these issues” wrote the Swedish Minister of Rural Affairs in an invitation to an extra ministerial council meeting between the Nordic ministers in agriculture and forestry areas in September this year.

SNS and NKJ in new project

In the meeting the ministers asked for a summary of the effects of this summer’s exceptional drought and of immediate and future actions. A full picture of the drought impact on harvesting, animal husbandry or forestry is yet to be completed. The project’s goal is to find ways to improve future management of these situations.

Working groups are now established, one for agriculture and one for forestry, with representatives from the Nordic countries including Åland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and a representative of NordGen. Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) secretariats will manage the projects.

Nordic overview

– We start by gathering the latest statistics relating to the effects of the drought. Strategies and measures to cope with the effects of the drought will also be compiled. The working groups will then discuss potential collaborative initiatives, says Maria Tunberg, process manager for the working groups.

– There are both similarities and differences in how the countries have been affected and how they have managed the situation, says Maria Tunberg.

– We can learn a lot from each other and there are starting points for cooperation across national borders.

Report in June

The working groups will produce a report where the countries’ experiences of the drought will be documented. It will also include concrete proposals on how to build a well functioning cooperation and ways to make the agricultural and forest sectors increasingly sustainable in future extreme weather conditions and to reduce the negative effects.

The report will be completed in June 2019 before ministers meet again.

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