The Nordics cooperate to meet extreme weather

The extremely hot and dry summer prompted the Swedish minister for Rural Affairs Sven Erik Bucht to gather the Nordic ministers in the agriculture and forestry sector to discuss how to cope with future weather related crises. NKJ can have an important role in the future work.

From the left: Dagfinn Høybråten, Anna Tofften, Mads Frederik Fischer Møller, Åsa Danell, Sven-Erik Bucht.

 

The reason for the meeting September 19th was the extreme weather, with heat and drought, during the summer that hit many of the Nordic countries hard.

The impact on agriculture and forestry reported

The countries reported about their situation and how agriculture and forestry have been affected. Several different policy initiatives have been taken to remedy the crisis. For example, the countries in the European agricultural policy have opened for harvesting of fallows and other areas that would otherwise have been left until later in the year. Norway has opened for imports of feed from Iceland.

The extensive forest fires were also discussed. There is a need for continued discussion of increased cooperation. This applies not least to the technical side, for example, by avoiding limitations on the movement of technical equipment between countries and cooperation on helicopters with heavy lifting capacity.

Discussion must go on

The General Secretary of the Nordic Council of Ministers recommended the countries to continue the discussion of potential cooperation opportunities to deal with future crises. Already today there are cooperative bodies in Nordic Council of Ministers that can play an important role in that work, including NordGen, the Nordic Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest research (SNS).

The Nordic countries are already collaborating on several fronts about the primary sector and the climate. This applies, for example, to road maps for Nordic forest issues, Nordic Forest Solutions and the project Kol i Mark, which deals with the possibilities for increasing carbon dioxide storage in agricultural and forest land. The summer of 2018 has shown that in addition to these measures, it is necessary to start work on adaptation in the short and long term.

Working group

The Council of Ministers decided to set up a Nordic working group to meet the challenges of agriculture and forestry in a future with more extreme weather. Discussions will be followed up in the continued work of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Text: Per Hansson, per.m.hansson@slu.se