25th Sep 2023


Dialogue and action – Nordic cooperation and view on COP26

  • At COP26 (from left) leaders of the Faroe Islands Bárður á Steig Nielsen, Finland Sauli Niinistö, Sweden Stefan Löfven, Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Greenland Mute B Egede, Denmark Mette Frederiksen and Norway Jonas Gahr Støre (Photo: Peter Sandground/
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The Nordic countries launched several initiatives at the Glasgow climate conference COP26 which will have a real impact on the ground.

To mention a few; the prime ministers of the Nordic countries' announced an initiative by Nordic and UK pension funds to invest $130bn [€115bn] by 2030 in clean energy and climate initiatives. Another major announcement was that Greenland will join the Paris Agreement.

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A key outcome of COP26 was that countries are to revisit their commitments and align them with the global temperature goal in the Paris Agreement by the end of 2022. In order to achieve the global goal, and to keep 1.5 alive, a systemic shift is needed.

For the first time the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decision highlighted the nexus between the climate change crisis and biodiversity loss. Although the wording on nature based solutions was eventually dropped, it was evident in the interaction amongst stakeholders that this holds a huge mitigation and adaptation potential going forward. In this context the Nordic Council of ministers funded initiative on nature-based solutions gained much attention.

Nordic countries go for 1.5 degrees

Although weakened, there is now a reference to fossil fuels in the Glasgow Climate Pact decision text. In this context the Nordic Council of Ministers funded activities on Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform that has been carried out by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) leveraged much attention as well as the Nordic financial ministries collaboration to align their investments with the 1.5 temperature goal.

At COP26, the Nordic Investment Funds also displayed their strategic frameworks showing how they align their investment portfolios to the 1.5 degree goal.

Led by Denmark and Costa Rica, the "Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance" (BOGA) was launched during COP26 to pursue efforts to limit the global temperature to 1.5 degrees. Sweden and Greenland are also members of the alliance. This sends a signal that investing in fossil fuels is in the past.

Climate dialogues at Nordic pavilion

The Nordic Council of Ministers has been present at COPs as observers for many years, and was present also in Glasgow. The Nordic pavilion has through the years been a platform for exchange and dialogue amongst countries, governments, youth groups, indigenous peoples' groups, business and industry. The mix of perspectives and approaches to problem solving that has been highlighted through the events has proven to be very appreciated.

During thematic days, different Nordic activities have targeted everything from very COP26 negotiation-specific issues (like Article 6) to phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies and investing in zero-emission energy technologies, to cooperation on the ground in all parts of the world where displayed.

The dialogues at the Nordic Pavilion at COP26 put into the spotlight the different Nordic countries' paths to carbon-neutrality and the Nordic Vision to become the most integrated and sustainable region in the world.

The Nordic countries and Article 6

An outstanding issue since Paris was to agree on the rules for Article 6 on market mechanisms and the outstanding rules for the transparency framework which is the framework through which countries have to report their emissions as well as tracking progress towards achieving their nationally determined contributions.

Thereby the rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement is now completed. During a dedicated day on the 9 November the Nordic Initiative for Cooperative Approaches (NICA), which aims to pilot future co-Nordic article 6 activities was highlighted by the Nordic Environmental Finance Corporation (NEFCO). The Nordics wish to see the new rulebook in action on the ground with real emission reductions as output.

The Nordic council of ministers' wishes to strengthen the knowledge base about the implementation of the Paris agreement to spur action and climate policy through reports and policy briefs through the Nordic Working Group on Climate and Air.

Strong youth presence

The Glasgow Climate Pact also stresses indigenous people, human rights, gender and youth, which are all core values which the Nordic countries want to strengthen. During COP26 the Nordic Pavilion and the "sister hub" in Helsinki held a specific focus on gender and climate as well as youth involvement. For example: the youth task force to engage youth groups in Stockholm+50, which is supported by the NCM, was launched by Sweden.

The Stockholm+50 is a UN high-level meeting in June 2022 to commemorate that it is fifty years since the first United Nations conference on the human environment – the 1972 Stockholm Conference.

Nordic climate diplomacy continues

The Nordic cooperation at COP26 demonstrated their commitment, through their national positions and through jointly-funded activities and initiatives. Several of the Nordic countries had their minister facilitating key issues that were negotiated during the second week, such as Article 6, climate finance, ambition and efforts to keep within 1.5 degrees Celsius and adaptation.

The Nordic countries will continue to pursue Nordic climate diplomacy in international forums to deliver solutions with impact on the global emissions.

Author bio

Marie Karlberg is senior adviser on environment and climate to the The Nordic Council of Ministers, forum for official Nordic Co-operation, which involves Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. It aims to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world.


This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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