Exploring the Northern Dimension

NDI Policy Brief 10: Symbolic resources of the Russian North in the global experience economy

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This Policy Brief gives recommendations for the development of cultural products and creative entrepreneurship in the Russian North through the conceptual lenses of symbolic resources and the experience economy. The global experience economy has changed the value chain logic of the cultural market from the traditional production and consumption of creative products and services into co-creation of cultural experiences. This co-creation implies that symbolic resources, such as the cultural heritage, are interpreted in a novel way that transforms them into experiences connected to time and place. Cultural projects, which started in the Russian North-West in late 1990s and follow the logic of the experience economy, have proved their sustainability on the regional and global cultural scenes. Their success is explained by common features of the artistic content and organizational models. These features include the artistic interpretation of Northern cultural symbols and the formation of comfortable spaces for creative interaction of actors with different backgrounds.

Maryin Dom 1

Opening of the artistic residence "Maryin Dom" in Shakola village, photo by Irina Efimova

The Policy Brief gives the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1. New visions of the Northern Russian heritage as the valuable resource for cultural innovation should be promoted and supported in the spheres of service design, creative tourism and event management.

Recommendation 2. Creative places of the Russian North hosting experimental art activities, as well as traditional cultural and commercial events need to be promoted as powerful territorial brands.

Recommendation 3. Applied research on management and organizational issues of the “unorthodox” cultural products development and on the implementation of hybrid symbolic meanings to the traditional landscapes will help to share the best practices of cultural entrepreneurship.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:

Anna Soloveva, professor at the World History Department, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia, a.soloveva[at]narfu.ru


NDI POLICY BRIEF 11: Arctic shipping needs anti-avoidance rules to mitigate environmental disasters

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Global warming will accelerate the melting of ice and release some of the Arctic territories for shipping. On the one hand, it will have a positive impact on world trade but on the other hand, the risk of ship accidents and environmental disasters will increase. In the period from 2010 to 2019, 512 ship accidents in Arctic Circle Waters were reported, not without damage to the environment. However, today's legal structure of the shipping industry makes it virtually impossible to make the ultimate owners of ships liable and responsible for environmental costs. There is no international regulation that would pressure the shipping industry to increase its corporate responsibility and to make more sustainable decisions of using clean fuels, improving the environmental friendliness of ships, or recycling old ships.

  • Recommendation 1. To improve availability and transparency of ultimate beneficial ownership data in the shipping industry.
  • Recommendation 2. To develop mechanisms to hold the ship's ultimate beneficial owners liable for maritime incidents such as oil spills.
  • Recommendation 3. To design anti-avoidance rules applicable to the use of flags of convenience and last-voyage flags (in the spirit of anti-tax avoidance rules).

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:
Dmitry Erokhin, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, erokhin [a] iiasa.ac.at

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020. 

NDI POLICY BRIEF 12: Wind Energy is a key solution for remote area energy supply in the High North of Russia

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The energy supply in the Russian Federation is characterized by a large number of remote northern settlements which are powered by imported fossil fuel, mostly diesel fuel. Therefore, sustainable development of remote northern territories is a major challenge. One solution to this challenge is to increase the use of wind energy. The replacement of a majority of diesel power plants with wind power plants would reduce economic costs and environmental risks, and thus contribute to the sustainable development in the High North.

  • Recommendation 1. To invest in the construction of wind power plants in the High North with the plant capacity corresponding the demand of electrical capacity of the settlement. Initial investments represent the largest part of the wind power plant costs. These investments are paid off by using a natural renewable energy source.
  • Recommendation 2. To support research on the icing of wind power plants and the development of de-icing systems. Solving the icing problem is the key to the sustainable operation of wind turbines in the north.
  • Recommendation 3. To integrate wind power plants to existing power supply networks to create a smart grid system. This system would eliminate the risk of energy shortages caused by possible wind instability.
  • Recommendation 4. To raise public awareness about the benefits of clean and renewable energy through distributing information on television, organizing training courses for companies, and providing education in schools and universities.

A map of Russia presenting mean wind speeds in the area A map of mean wind speeds in Russia

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact the author:
Dr Pavel Maryandyshev, NARFU, Arkhangelsk, Russia, p.marjyandishev [a] narfu.ru

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI POLICY BRIEF 13: Analysis of subjective wellbeing is important for wellbeing development in the Northern Dimension area

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Actors in the social and health care often aim to improve wellbeing of the population in various interventions and development projects. The evaluation of their outcome is usually based on objective wellbeing criteria only, although people’s subjective wellbeing (SWB) is the foundation of the wellbeing of the population. Therefore, the viewpoint of families and experiences of individual people should always be essential and deeply considered whenever wellbeing is evaluated. This is feasible, as subjective wellbeing can be directly measured by qualitative interviews and questionnaires, and many large international research programs have studied subjective wellbeing.

This policy brief is based on a current study on the subjective wellbeing of Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians, which was investigated on European Social Survey data from 2006 to 2016 with 48 000 interviewed respondents. The results show that subjective wellbeing was improving slowly during the period of investigation, and that there were several factors connected to subjective wellbeing. The most important ones include health, income, trust, religiosity and not being unemployed. The results allow making the following recommendations for actors in the health and social care, and for the work under the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing.

  • Recommendation 1. Subjective wellbeing should be acknowledged in all development projects, decisions, interventions and studies addressing health and wellbeing. Health is an important part of SWB, but not the only one.
  • Recommendation 2. Data from large-scale international studies can be helpful in the evaluation and interpretation of final outcomes of wellbeing development projects. If the outcome is not easy to assess, SWB measured in existing studies would help to detect the change in wellbeing.
  • Recommendation 3. Cross-sectoral co-operation and information exchange are beneficial for the assessment of wellbeing outcome of development projects and for research.

A figure about subjective wellbeign of  Estonians, Latvian, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians in 2006-2016

Figure: Subjective wellbeing of Estonians, Latvian, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians in 2006-2016 (scale 0-10),
presented in yearly means of wellbeing scores of 48000 interviewed respondents according to ESS data.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here (link).

For more information, please contact the author:
Paula Vainiomäki, PhD (Medicine), MSc (Social Politics), University of Turku, NDPHS PHC, pavaini [a] utu.fi

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI POLICY BRIEF 14: Healthy ageing policy in Russia needs to consider gender, age, and territory

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The Russian government has adopted various national policies and programs in the last decade in response to population ageing in the country. We analyzed the targets and actions of two ongoing healthy ageing policies, and how their effectiveness could be improved. We suggest the national (Federal) level authorities to take the following recommendations into account:

  • Recommendation 1: To separate program targets and indicators by gender, and to develop different actions for men and women on the national level, taking into account regional differences in demographics across the Russian Federation.
  • Recommendation 2: To separate program targets and indicators by age between the younger and older elderly, and to tailor different supportive activities for each sub-group in the highly heterogeneous category of older population.
  • Recommendation 3: To create a mechanism for collaboration between the social service and health care sectors to enable the development of a comprehensive and long-term care system. In this development work it is important to analyze best practices from the international experience, and to adapt them to the Russian context.
  • Recommendation 4:To take the urban-rural dimension and the urbanization process into account in the program design. Many good practices and successful actions have been developed in large cities, and therefore need to be carefully analyzed to adapt them to the conditions of remote sparsely populated and rural territories in Russia.

Download the policy brief: Healthy ageing policy in Russia needs to consider gender, age, and territory (pdf) 

For more information, please contact the authors:
Anastasia Emelyanova, University of Oulu, anastasia.emelyanova [a] oulu.fi
Elena Golubeva, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangesk, Russia, e.golubeva [a] narfu.ru

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI POLICY BRIEF 15: Accident information is needed to prevent emergencies in the Arctic waters

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Increasing economic activity in the Russian Arctic has resulted in the growth of vessel traffic related to trade, exploration and research, marine tourism, and natural resource extraction activities. This has heightened the risk of maritime accidents. Navigation and rescue response are challenging in the High North due to its harsh weather and ice conditions, long distances, and vulnerable nature. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about the potential risks in order to prevent accidents. Here, the analysis of previous accidents in the Arctic waters provides valuable lessons for the future. Such analysis requires summarizing, visualizing and openly sharing accident information. This is not yet the case for the Russian Arctic and therefore it would be valuable to develop public digital sources that contain such accident information.

  • Recommendation 1: To develop an effective mechanism for the utilization of risk analysis and accident data to improve emergency preparedness and safety level in the Arctic waters.
  • Recommendation 2: To introduce a digital platform for sharing information about maritime accidents happened in the Russian Arctic and emergency resources available. This platform could be linked to other relevant platforms already existing in Russia and other Arctic countries.
  • Recommendation 3: To make sure that all actors involved contribute to the analysis and sharing of data related to accidents, and control the quality of the data as to their format and accuracy.


The map and data service of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

Download the policy brief: Accident information is needed to prevent emergencies in the Arctic waters (PDF)

For more information, please contact the author:
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangesk, Russia, s.kuznecova [a] narfu.ru

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI Policy Brief 16: Decarbonizing road passenger transport in the ND area

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This policy brief elaborates recommendations for road passenger transport decarbonization in the Northern Dimension (ND) area. On the one hand, road transport emits 25% of total greenhouse gas in ND countries and produces dangerous local pollutions, and the share of passenger transport of these emissions is more than 75% [1] Nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide and particular matter emissions are the reason for numerous lung and breathe diseases of city inhabitants. On the other hand, road transport gives people invaluable freedom of movement, as people commute every day to work, study and leisure. Average motorization rate is over 50% in ND countries [2, 3]. This raises the key question: How can people keep their freedom of movement but pollute less? There are several ways to decarbonize road passenger transport, such as optimizing driving needs according to ecological criteria, remote work or study, using 2 and 3 wheelers empowered by human or electricity, sharing mobility services with others, and driving less polluting cars such as hybrid, electric or gas vehicles. All these options influence traditional behavior, which needs to be considered in developing policies for road passenger transport decarbonization.

  • Recommendation 1. Inform people about climate and ecological issues and thus influence positively consumer behavior, and popularize ecomobility.
  • Recommendation 2. Develop infrastructure and services for carbon-free mobility and sharing. Support eco infrastructure.
  • Recommendation 3. Balance between economic, ecological, and social needs. Limit the use of polluting transport wherever and whenever it is possible. Ensure access to mobility for people living in remote areas and for low-income people.
  • Recommendation 4. Make a realistic long-term vision, which includes support for R&D, development of carbon footprint trackers that find the optimal ecological and economic model of sustainable transport system, as well as learning from international experience.
  • Recommendation 5. Support more intensive technology transfer, joint research, pilot projects, and NGO initiatives among ND countries.

Download the policy brief: Decarbonizing road passenger transport in the ND area (PDF)

For more information, please contact the authors:
Natalia Sarakhanova, Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, sarahanova.n [a] unecon.ru
Dmitry Vasilenko, Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, dvasilenko [a]  finec.ru
Vasily Zinin, National Gas Vehicle Association, v.zinin [a] ngvrus.ru

This policy brief was written as a part of the NDI Policy Brief Training held in October 2020.

NDI Policy Brief 7: Systemic biomonitoring needed to mitigate Arctic health risks

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Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 7 - December 2019

Systemic biomonitoring needed to mitigate Arctic health risks

This Policy Brief highlights the need for biomonitoring to assess the risks of public health disorders and negative demographic implications caused by the ingestion of hazardous pollutants into the human body. These pollutants can accumulate in food chains and spread with migratory species of commercial fish, birds and wild animals. Consequences of climate change increase the ingestion risks, and the dependence of indigenous peoples on the resources in their environment makes them particularly vulnerable. Hence, the relevance of this issue for Russia and the Arctic countries is obvious and requires attention.

The mitigation of negative effects of climate change on the health of indigenous people in the Arctic requires the establishment of systemic biomonitoring at the legislative level.


The monitoring must

  • be implemented on a regular basis
  • take into account not only the effect of pollutants to the body, but also the deficiency of vital trace elements, such as iodine, iron, magnesium, etc., which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
  • include chemical analysis of environmental samples, animals and birds, which indigenous peoples consume, as well as human biological samples (urine, blood, breast milk, hair, teeth).

Download the Policy Brief Systemic biomonitoring needed to mitigate Arctic health risks

Feel free to contact the team of authors at the Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia, for more information:

Tatiana Sorokinat.sorokina[at]narfu.ru

Anna Trofimova a.trofimova[at]narfu.ru

Julia Varakina yu.andreeva[at]nsrfu.ru

NDI Policy Brief 8: Ensuring safety of navigation and reducing transportation costs in the Arctic with digital technologies

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This Policy Brief elaborates recommendations for developing digital technologies that improve the safety of navigation and reduce shipping costs in the Arctic. This issue is of utmost importance for Russia and European countries, since the growing freight traffic requires prompt and secure provision of modern and innovative logistics solutions. The Northern Dimension Partnership for Transportation and Logistics provides a platform for cooperation in this area.

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The following actions are suggested:

  • Organization of a joint digital technology forum for all states interested in the development of the Arctic transport highway to present new solutions that would ensure efficient logistic management of the Arctic seas.
  • Establishment of a joint scientific and educational consortium for active collaboration of information technology companies and scientists in the Northern Dimension area. The consortium could form common proposals in the field of safety and rescue at sea for relevant national ministries and international institutions such as the Arctic Council.
  • Foundation of a unified “road map” for all emergency services (primarily EMERCOM) explaining the legal and managerial nuances of interaction and response in the event of an emergency.
  • Formation of a list of topical issues from suppliers planning or already engaged in the transportation of goods through the Arctic sea, their wishes and suggestions.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here

For more information, please contact the team of authors at Higher School of Economics, Management and Law of Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia.

Corresponding author Prof. Maksim Zadorin m.zadorin[at]narfu.ru.

NDI Policy Brief 9: Preventing premature deaths in the Northern Dimension area

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This policy brief reports key findings of a study carried out by the NDPHS Expert Group for Non-communicable diseases. The study analyzed official mortality data on premature deaths under 70 years of age in eight countries in the Northern Dimension area (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden) and found that the PYLL rate (“Potential Years of Life Lost”) differs considerably among ND area countries. A striking feature is its gender difference, being on average 2.5 times higher for men than for women. Most of this difference is due to external causes of death such as suicides and traffic accidents. Alcohol-related causes also have a heavy male over-representation. The general development in public health outcome was however good in 2003-2013, resulting in an average 26% PYLL reduction. Encouraging trends include a decrease in losses caused by vascular (heart) diseases, cancer and external causes, such as suicides and alcohol-related causes, in all ND countries that participated in the study.

PYLL figure

The results of the study led to the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1. Premature mortality can be prevented effectively by designing and implementing health and economic policies on health promotion and disease prevention. Evidence-based treatment of diseases also makes a difference, but is less effective than the prevention of diseases and accidents.
  • Recommendation 2. Positive changes in male health behavior have an immediate decreasing effect on overall premature mortality. Policies should be targeted towards improving traffic and occupational safety, and decreasing harmful use of alcohol.
  • Recommendation 3. Public health strategies should be intersectoral and involve all stakeholders. Practising Health in All Policies (HiAP), promoting healthy lifestyles and holistic healthcare are crucial for preventing and avoiding many premature deaths.
  • Recommendation 4. PYLL rate was selected in 2015 as the indicator to measure the progress of the current 2016-2020 Strategy of the NDPHS. Continuing this practice in the renewed strategy beyond 2020 is highly recommended. The ongoing ND PYLL-2 study should also pre-assess the 2020 COVID-19 caused years of life lost in order to evaluate its burden on the public health of populations.
  • Recommendation 5.Health policy makers are invited to discuss the results of the PYLL-2 study, launched by the NDPHS NCD Expert Group in 2020, in workshops that will be organized in 2021 in selected NDPHS countries.

The Policy Brief can be downloaded here

For more information contact the author Mikko Vienonen, NDPHS/NCD Expert Group, vienonen.m.[at]gmail.com

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