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Northern Europe's path to a sustainable future

A seminar linked with the Finnish Presidency of the European Union is bringing together experts in the Northern Dimension to Dipoli at Aalto University.
Tulevaisuusfoorumin esitteen kansi.

Northern Dimension became a part of external relations of the European Union at the initiative of Finland in 1999. Seven years later it was revised as a joint policy among the European Union, Russia, Norway and Iceland. Year 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Northern Dimension.

Human and technology-based solutions to big challenges

The Future Forum ‘Fresh and Sustainable Experiments of the Global North’ that will be held at Aalto University on 28 November will examine sustainable development from the points of view of human well-being and health, new technology, and business activities. The event is being organised by the Northern Dimension Institute together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Professori Riitta Kosonen Kauppakorkeakoulun käytävällä.
Riitta Kosonen heads the Northern Dimension Institute.

Aalto University Professor Riitta Kosonen is responsible for the arrangements. ‘Participants in the event include both decision-makers and experts, as well as citizens who are interested in northern issues. At the forum we will raise solutions that have been put forward in the northern region concerning sustainable development and a good life. We think good operating models and practices could be implemented on a broader scale in the world’, Kosonen says.

The theme of the day’s first panel discussion is pathways towards more sustainable future. Representing Aalto University among the panellists are Minna Halme, Professor of Sustainability Management, who is a trailblazer in the study of sustainable innovations in Finland, and Otso Sillanaukee, an entrepreneur, writer, student, and the founder of the Nollahukka (Zero Waste) blog. 

‘We will also discuss how technology can support a good life and how to activate people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle’, Kosonen says.

The Northern Dimension Institute offers information to support decision-making

The Northern Dimension is aimed at promoting well-being and sustainable development in Northern Europe from the Arctic region all the way to the Baltic Sea. The themes of the activities are divided into four groups: environment, health, transport, and culture.

Universities and knowledge gained from research play a big role in collaboration in the Northern Dimension. Aalto University coordinates the Northern Dimension Institute, a network comprising 33 universities around the world. The Institute works to meet the information needs of actors and decision-makers of the Northern Dimension, seeks out experts, and coordinates research on important topics.

Professor Riitta Kosonen is the director of the Center for Markets in Transition (CEMAT) and directs the operations of the Northern Dimension Institute.
‘We want to bring research closer to decision-makers. Important topics that have arisen recently include the digitalisation of transport, emerging trade routes, the ageing of the population, the role of creative industry in solving social problems, and of course, climate change’, Riitta Kosonen says.

‘The European Union, Russia, Norway, and Iceland have many issues in common and the Northern Dimension offers an excellent tool for handling them’, Kosonen says.

The seminar ‘Fresh and Sustainable Experiments of the Global North’ is part of Finland’s term holding the Presidency of the European Council and will be held at Aalto University on 28 November. Registration for the event has already closed.

Photos: Roope Kiviranta / Aalto University

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