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NSPA Foresight 2020

The Foresight exercise for the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) of Norway, Sweden and Finland has been initiated by the Brussels offices of East-Finland, North Finland, North Norway, Mid Sweden and North Sweden. It is part of a strategy to profile the NSPA as a resource for Europe, with a substantial potential for growth and development.

Admittedly, the limited size of NSPA local communities and the specialisation in raw material-based industries have made them vulnerable to global economic trends. Small population number and challenging demographic trends imply that ageing has become a critical issue from early on. Combined with a sometimes fragile natural environment, this however implies that NSPA local communities have had to be more pro-active than many other parts of Europe in striving for a development that is economically, socially and ecologically sustainable. There are therefore cases of good practice in the NSPA that can inspire other parts of Europe.

Because of the geographic specificities of the NSPA, general EU policies for growth and development may not be fully adapted. Labour market dynamics are for example different in areas with few potential employers and a limited range of sectors. The peripherality of the NSPA also implies that industrial networks are less developed. With a well-designed policies, the NSPA can however improve their contribution to sustainable growth in Europe. The objective is to define what parameters need to be taken into account and how EU policies could be adapted to the NSPA context.

The project includes the production of an analytical report and the organisation of two successive workshop involving NSPA stakeholders. The final deliveries will be an 'NSPA Vision and Strategy' document and a road map for NSPA policies.

Project leader: Erik Gløersen, former Research Fellow at Nordregio

The project is finalized and the reports are published at the NSPA website