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Projects within the Nordic Council of Ministers' Nordic Demography Programme 2014-2015

Mit Hjem er hvor mit Ø Hjerte banker– part 2 / Home is where the Island Heart beats – part 2

Lead Partner: Austurbrú, Iceland
Countries: Iceland, Denmark, Norway

The project is based on the results of the project 'Mit hjem er hvor mit hjerte er – Home is where the heart is' . The main outcome of the project was the idea that the resources that young people's activities on the island (Bornholm)  bring about can be divided into five categories:

  1. Direct economic resources
  2. Indirect branding through participation in events
  3. Role-models for young people that still live in Bornholm
  4. Ambassadors for Bornholm
  5. Mobile knowledge-capital

As a result of the previous Home is where the heart is project, it became evident that more knowledge is needed in order to develop a more practical application of the project conclusions in local policies and initiatives. The aim of the current project is to develop analytic tools which can be used to evaluate the value of emigrated young people as resources, in economic, social and cultural terms.

Demographic challenges in Hedmark and Dalarna – phase 2

Lead Partner: The Border Committee of Hedmark-Dalarna
Countries: Sweden, Norway

Phase 1 of the project was implemented in 2013 and the main focus was on competence development, network building and sharing of good examples. After the end of this phase, the steering committee of the Border Committee of Hedmark-Dalarna decided to continue to focus on demographic challenges in the two counties. Phase 2 of the project has a focus on  attractiveness through a planning process based on an analytical instrument developed by Telemarksforskning in Norway. The attractiveness model was previously used to analyse historical development, but here it was used for future projections. The objective was to project how jobs and population would develop at varying levels of attractiveness. The projections proved to be the most interesting parts of the analysis of the five municipalities. There were striking similarities between the challenges facing Norwegian communities and the driving forces for development, even if the structural traits of development differed between the two countries.

Regional collaboration on the theme of migration / demographics for maintaining employment and tax base

Lead Partner: Jämtland county council, Sweden
Countries: Sweden, Finland, Iceland

Region Härjedalen-Jämtland, the Regional Council of Kainuu and Fjórðungssamband Vestfirðinga have initiated a partnership on demographic challenges that all of the regions are facing.Populations with a declining share of working-age people and a rising share of elderly affect the foundation of the tax-financed welfare systems. The project has therefore worked on a new working method that highlights and understands the underlying structures that consciously and unconciously determine the regions' efforts on employment and demography issues. The method also serves as a starting point for a joint working model that will make it easier for the regions to focus on the right objectives. The project aims to take a holistic approach to break the population decline for maintaining tax-funded welfare for citizens and an attractive business environment. To achieve this objective the different stakeholders in the county should establish a common view of the regions possibilities for settlement and work.

Participation and innovation in remote areas - focusing on an academic support system for local entrepreneurs

Lead Partner: The Research Center for Social Development (Granskingardepilin fyri Samfelagsmenning), Faroe islands
Countries: Faroe Islands, Iceland

The project is a follow-up on the project Participation and innovation in remote areas – focusing on local production, art, culture, and tourism carried out in 2013. This projectintroduces the Bygdastovan model, which is based on the population's concrete need for support while offering a professional, political and practical foundation. The model is expected to be ready for implementation in the spring of 2016. It will include everything from mentorship and a local presence to quality and product development. Although the final results aren't presented yet a few lessons have been learnt already. One is that it is possible to transer models from one local area to another eithin the Nordic. Another is the possibility of creating a feeling of solidarity between countries by focusing on a simple and concrete subject. The final results of the project are expected 2016-2017.

"Money of my own" – How to Earn a Living for Young People in the Arcipelago and Other Sparsely Populated Areas

Lead Partner: Nordiska Skärgårdssamarbetet
Countries: Sweden, Åland, Finland

The project highlights people, ideas and how communities can promote participation and opportunities for young people in sparsley-populated areas. Two things stand out for success: courage and adults who dare to listen to young people. The project has put together a written "idea bank" as a specific tool for others to use and be inspired by when working in their own municipalities and regions. The final conference can be found and watched here: Just här är det möjligt.

Next stop – the small islands

Lead Partner: The Association of Danish Small Islands (Sammenslutningen af Danske Småøer)
Countries: Denmark, Sweden, Finland

There is a general trend of depopulation of areas outside the urban centres in the Nordic countries. This development is not only characterized by a reduction of the population in rural areas but also by an unbalanced population structure with a surplus of older persons and a lack of women. This demographic situation is especially pronounced in small island communities.

The overall ambition of the project is to create a new way of thinking and add new energy to the discussion of how small island communities can attract new inhabitants. With an analysis of the current demographic situation in small island communities in Denmark, Sweden and Finland as the starting-point, the aim of this project is two-folded:

  • Exchange of experiences on challenges and opportunities in developing the small islands to become stronger local communities. The long-term goal is that the population structure should be close to the national average.
  • The three partners in project shall inspire each other in the development of strategies.

The aim is that the analysis and conclusions of the project can be used by local decision-makers and civil servants and inspire them to be more innovative when developing their small island communities.

The project has three main themes: 1) Branding and marketing of the island communities, 2) Job creation and 3) Basic conditions for living in the island communities such as schools,
public transport, housing and rescue services.

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