ND Newsflash No. 1/2015 (Feb)
International Forum within the framework of Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC) CULTURE AS A FACTOR OF GROWTHwas held in St. Petersburg, December 7–9, 2014.
More than 160 participants representing various fields took part in the forum held at the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts to get informed of the initiatives within the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in the Northern Dimension area. The array of participating organizations was prominent including cultural and foreign ministries, universities, cultural and research institutes, companies and intermediaries in cultural and creative industries, museums, tourism industry, and NGOs from the ND area.
Belarus joined Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) in 2010 and the first phase of wastewater treatment projects in Vitebsk, Grodno and Brest has now entered an implementation phase. NDEP grants of EUR 6 million have attracted IFI loans and additional bilateral grants from Finland and Sweden. The total financing package for the three cities is approximately EUR 70 million. Encouraged by this success, Belarus pledged new funds to NDEP to finance the next phase of additional wastewater treatment investments, potentially worth around EUR 56 million. For this purpose, NEFCO signed a Framework Agreement with the Government of Belarus on 20 January in London to step up their activities to protect the environment in the Northern Dimension Area.
The Northern Dimension area comprises a very heterogeneous region in terms of cultural and creative industries (CCI). The heterogeneity stems largely from the fact that the ND countries are at different stages of development considering the CCIs. The Nordic countries are among the pioneers in CCIs and globally acknowledged in e.g. design and gaming. Germany is one of the biggest exporters of creative goods despite having vast regional differences in CCI policies. During the past five years, the growth of CCIs in the Baltic Countries and Poland has been rapid and CCI infrastructure has been developed with the help of EU Structural Funds. In Russia, the concept of creative industries is only emerging and the CCIs’ economic value has fairly recently started to gain recognition.
Tallinn Business Incubators (TBI) has been providing business support in Tallinn, Estonia since 2006. Over the years, it has helped around 170 companies to enter the market and grow their business. However not everyone makes the cut – more than 400 have applied – as TBI needs to be sure that there is return on every invested euro, either via new jobs that have been created or increased export numbers.
TBI offers real support through business support and advice given by our team and wide network of business mentors, including exporters, experienced fashion industry professionals, marketing experts and law specialists. Each incubee has their own consultant who makes sure that the companies receive tailor-made advice. Strategies and plans are always discussed together.
Finland’s two-year Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) started in late 2013 and has now reached the half-way mark. BEAC is a forum for intergovernmental and interregional cooperation in the Barents Region. As the chair, Finland strives to strengthen the exchange of information and dialogue between the different regional fora. The atmosphere in the Council has been constructive and progress has been made in many issues such as the development of Barents Transport Plan and regional climate strategies.
The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) has been highly successful in co-financing projects to improve wastewater treatment in North West Russia. As a result of NDEP’s 14 year cooperation with St Petersburg Vodokanal, the city is now treating 98.4% of its wastewater. NDEP grants of EUR 40 million, combined with loans of EUR 220 million from the EBRD, EIB, NIB and NEFCO have helped to leverage investments worth over EUR 860 million. Since 2011, all major wastewater treatment plants in St Petersburg have been treating wastewater in full compliance with HELCOM recommendations. NDEP has financed similar investments also in other cities in Russia to protect the fragile ecology of the Baltic and Barents Seas area.
The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) can safely be called a pioneer in the field of eHealth. Numerous study trips to the Scandinavian countries as well as to Estonia are proof for the importance of the region in the field.
At Flensburg University of Applied Sciences (FUAS) we have seen our role as that of an “eHealth bridge” in the BSR in the past and continue to do so. We were the first in Germany to offer a master’s degree programme “eHealth” back in 2007 and we are home to the Management Secretariat of eHealth for Regions, the leading network on the topic. FUAS was the lead partner and thus mainly in charge for several projects within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). November 2013 saw both the foundation of the Institute for eHealth and Management in Healthcare and its re-location to new facilities FUAS has further increased its efforts and involvement in the BSR ever since.
The Northern Dimension (ND) has come a long way since it was renewed eight years ago as a common policy of four partners: the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia. Over these years it has helped achieve a variety of important results.