HomeFarm AnimalsNordic Ministers Focused on Green Transition at Meeting in Iceland

Nordic Ministers Focused on Green Transition at Meeting in Iceland

Date: 27.08.2019 Author: Sara Landqvist Category: Farm Animals, Forest, Plants

While Scandinavia and Finland could enjoy summer temperatures and a bright sun shining from a blue sky, Iceland invited to a ministers meeting accompanied by rain and a chilly wind. But the agricultural ministers were given a warm welcome to the meeting. Among other things, the ministers were informed about the status for NordGen and decided that a new program period for PPP is to be prepared.

Only a few days ago, the Nordic prime ministers adopted the Vision 2030 for the Nordic cooperation. The vision concludes that by 2030, the Nordic region shall be the world’s most integrated and sustainable region. When it comes to the transition to a more sustainable society, NordGen has an important role to play.

– In this green transition we still need to feed a growing population. NordGen is important in this aspect as we need to make sure that we have plants that can thrive in the extreme weather that comes with climate change, says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

NordGen prioritized

In the ministers’ meeting, the participants were informed about budget allocations leading to NordGen getting added funding of 10 million DKK over five years.

The fact that NordGen is prioritised in the Nordic Cooperation is important, both nationally and internationally. It is something we can be very proud of, says Olaug Vervik Bollestad, Norwegian Minister for Agricultural of Food.

The funding is reserved for handling the backlog NordGen has developed due to lack of resources the last years.

Well received Climate Change report

Many of the meeting points involved climate change in one way or another. For example, NordGen’s and NordForsk’s mutual report “Nordic Agriculture and Climate Change” was part of the meeting package. The report lists nine specific recommendations for how food security in the Nordic countries can be supported by facilitating the development of new crop varieties adapted for future needs.

After the drought last summer, it became evident that we need to prepare the Nordic agriculture for the future. Cooperation between the Nordic countries has the possibility to not only mitigate climate change within agriculture but also to find possibilities. This is stated in the report, which I am happy to say was well received by the Nordic ministers at today’s meeting, says Lise Lykke Steffensen, Managing Director of NordGen.

Among other things, the report recommends that a Nordic center of excellence with the aim to facilitate research, screening and breeding of genetic resources is established. It also underpins the importance of cooperation between Nordic public and private institutions in the field of plant breeding (PPP).

The PPP-cooperation continues

On that subject, a report evaluating the PPP-project (public-private partnership for pre-breeding) was presented. The PPP-project was commenced after the recognition that the large, multinational plant breeding companies didn’t have any interest in investing in the small market of the Nordic countries with their particular needs and challenges, due to for example short summers with many hours of light.

Our society needs to handle climate change, reduce emissions from the agriculture and at the same time meet the consumer’s demands on nutrition and taste of crops. This means that we in the Nordic countries ourselves have to develop new and robust plant varieties. No one else will do it for us, says Birgitte Lund who is chair of the PPP steering committee and the author of the report.

The Nordic ministers agreed and decided that the PPP-cooperation is to be continued.
 Next step now is that a possible development of the project will  be evaluated and an agreement for the new program period will be prepared.