Nordic Climate Action and the Road to COP29

During COP28, the Nordic Pavilion in the blue zone served as a platform for transparent dialogue, supporting initiatives aimed at enriching the knowledge base for policy development and climate action in both the Nordics and the global arena.  

– The Nordic Co-Operation is aiming not only at transforming the Nordic region but also providing a blueprint for the world. That is a big part of why we have been actively engaged in the UN Climate COPs for many years”, says Ellemann.

Over 50 initiatives were presented in the Nordic Pavilion, many of which are poised to continue towards COP29.  

The Nordic Co-Operation is aiming not only at transforming the Nordic region but also providing a blueprint for the world. 

Karen Ellemann, Secretary-General at the Nordic Council of Ministers

Key Achievements and focus areas at COP28 and beyond:

  1. Nordic Stocktake Report: Reveals a need for more progress towards carbon neutrality, prompting a ministerial declaration.
  2. Climate Adaptation Policies: Emphasize coordination and economic measures for effective adaptation.
  3. Renewable Future: Nordic countries support triple efforts in renewable energy production and spearheads green energy innovation and transition.
  4. Loss and Damage Financing: A Nordic study explores much needed innovative financing solutions to support developing countries.
  5. Climate Finance Institutions: Nordic Investment Bank, Nordic Development Fund, and NEFCO actively contribute to sharing examples of innovative and effective climate finance during COP28.
  6. Sustainable Food Systems: Nordic countries push food systems on the agenda, linking healthy diets to a healthy planet.
  7. Gender Equality: Integral to Nordic climate action, promoting women’s leadership and inclusive policies.


The Nordic Stocktake

Despite the Nordic countries being considered leaders in climate mitigation, the Nordic Stocktake Report, presented at COP28, underscores the long journey ahead towards climate neutrality. In a declaration, the Nordic Climate and Environment ministers take note of the recommendations of the report and commit to intensify the cooperation, recognizing the Region’s special responsibility and advantageous position to significantly increase fossil-free and renewable energy by 2030, advocating for a global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies. 

In recent years, the Nordic region has experienced extreme weather events such as forest fires, droughts, and floods. Moving forward, preparedness and strengthening the resilience of societies will continue to be a focal point, as well as transboundary climate risks, such as disturbances in supply chains and food commodities. Questions of responsibility, capacity, and vulnerability are being actively examined, and new ways to address different aspects of adaptation issues are being explored and will be presented in 2024.

 At COP28, the framework for the global goal of adaptation was established. The Nordic Cooperation will continue supporting and guiding countries in creating resilient societies. 

Pioneering a Renewable Future

The Nordic countries are at the forefront of green energy innovation, aiming to triple their renewable energy production. Collectively, they are exploring various renewable resources, including wind, hydro, and solar power, and implementing innovative steps to integrate these sources into national grids. Just before COP28 Nordic Council of Ministers launched a platform supporting the work within the Sharm el-Sheikh Mitigation Ambition and Implementation Work Programme (MWP) focusing on the just energy transition. This platform brings together Nordic stakeholders, engaging the private sector, government officials, and knowledge institutions to provide vital input for accelerated solutions to be shared in the Nordic and global community.

Mobilizing Climate Finance

While COP29 is anticipated as the “Mother of all Climate Finance COPs,” climate finance has been at the heart of the Nordic activities for decades with three Nordic Climate Finance institutions driving sectoral change. At COP28, the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) introduced their climate strategy aligning with the Paris Agreement, focusing on concrete, science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through its financing activities and operations. The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) presented work on blended finance while NEFCO showed concrete examples of how they support the private sector in de-risking market expansion, scaling up activities, and implementing innovative business models in developing countries. 

Healthy people healthy planet

Sustainable food systems are crucial for both health and environmental sustainability, and since 2017, the Nordic countries have pushed to include food production and consumption on the climate agenda. With the newly launched Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2023, an indisputable link between healthy people to a healthy planet was made. This connection was recognized by WHO during COP28 and the work continues. 

– If food systems deliver healthy diets for all, we could save 8 million lives per year. Nordic countries have been trailblazers for many policy breakthroughs, including linking climate and nutrition, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, during COP28. 

Climate Policy is Equality Policy

In a few months, a new assessment of Nordic experiences in gender mainstreaming in climate policy and the green and just transition will be published. The report aims to provide valuable input to the evaluation of the UNFCCC Enhanced Lima Work Programme for Gender Equality and its Gender Action Plan at SBI 61 in Bonn in June.

At COP28, the Nordic Cooperation launched “The Nordic Knowledge Hub on Gender and Climate,” bringing together the latest best praxis and research on the crucial importance of pursuing gender equality in climate policy.

Setting a Global Example

Nordic Cooperation is charting a course towards a sustainable and equitable future. With a comprehensive vision addressing the shift from fossil fuels, the promotion of renewable energy systems, and endeavours to enhance social acceptability and inclusiveness of the transition, alongside initiatives supporting gender equality and healthier food systems, the Nordic countries are actively shaping a sustainable future, not merely conceptualizing it. 

– In the face of the escalating climate crisis, the Nordic example offers hope and direction, proving that with unity, vision, and determination, a sustainable future is within reach. Our vision of a climate-neutral society is one of a society in balance – socially and environmentally, a smarter society with inclusive democracy and long-term policies,” says Karen Ellemann, Secretary-General at the Nordic Council of Ministers.

In her speech to the General Assembly on COP28, Karen Ellemann, Secretary-General at the Nordic Council of Ministers, concluded: 

– The transition towards climate-neutral societies needs to be inclusive and just for all. We stand ready to work with you all and to catalyze and accelerate the change needed.

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