Concentrating Nordic efforts to step up preparedness in food supply and forestry

The declaration, signed by the Nordic ministers for fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, food and forestry at their meeting in Karlstad, is a response to the experiences in recent years of extreme weather, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, which have highlighted vulnerabilities in societal preparedness and resilience. 

“My Nordic ministerial colleagues and I want to strengthen and deepen our common knowledge base and our co-operation for a more robust Nordic Region with increased resilience in our sectors and supply chains. That’s why I’ve taken the initiative to issue this joint declaration, which will be called the Karlstad Declaration,” says Minister for Rural Affairs Peter Kullgren. 

Our co-operation is our strength

In the declaration, the ministers emphasise the importance of securing the supply of food for future generations, which will demand a lot of Nordic co-operation.

“We want to strengthen and deepen our common knowledge base for a more robust Nordic Region with increased resilience in our sectors and supply chains,” the ministers write in the declaration.

The ministers are seeking to pursue robust logistics chains; develop co-operation between the public and private sectors; conduct vulnerability analyses for fisheries and aquaculture; strengthen work within One Health (encompassing human and animal health, food, and the environment), as well as co-operation for crisis preparedness in agriculture and forestry, and safeguard the work of the Nordic Genetic Resource Center in respect of biological infrastructure. 

From the Haga Co-operation to the Karlstad Declaration

The Karlstad Declaration also stresses the need to harmonise new initiatives with earlier co-operation on crisis preparedness and builds on the Haga Co-operation (2009 and 2013) and the declaration on crisis co-operation issued by Ministers for Nordic Co-operation (2022). 

“I welcome the Karlstad Declaration, which is an important political guide for our preparedness and resilience work. It transcends sectors and countries, and that’s exactly what is needed. Many thanks to the visionary ministers for adopting the declaration,” says Karen Ellemann, General Secretary for the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Preparedness issues are relevant to all the ministerial councils and sectors in Nordic co-operation, and this focus will be reflected in the upcoming co-operation programmes to be published in the autumn of 2024.

The Nordic ministerial meeting in Karlstad on 19 June was organised as part of the Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The meeting also addressed area conflicts – both on land and at sea – which all the Nordic countries face, the gastronomic movement New Nordic Cuisine, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, as well as important discussions on the fight against food waste.