The paper does not aim to develop a complete Nordic Adaptation Strategy, but identifies the key elements that would be needed for one, as well as integrated priorities that Nordic decision-makers may consider for action. It addresses two questions in particular:

  1. What is the current state of adaptation in the Nordic countries?
  2. What are the potential benefits and weaknesses of a Nordic strategy for adaptation?

The paper includes a review of current state of adaptation in the Nordic countries, which shows that Nordic countries have been active on adaptation, both at the national level as well as at the municipal level. Still, there are challenges in terms of implementing policy and ensuring that adaptation issues are considered in the wider policy realms.

The potential benefits of a Nordic strategy emerge from the fact that the countries are facing similar challenges in terms of climate change impacts, such as increases in precipitation, sea-level rise, and heightened flood risks. Nordic countries also have similar political and economic backgrounds and a long history of collaboration on other issues.

A possible pitfall of a common Nordic strategy is that it could conflict with, or detract from, strategies that emerge at other scales, such as the forthcoming EU adaptation strategy. If a Nordic strategy is pursued, careful consideration must be placed to the areas in which a Nordic strategy can contribute the most. Finally, a common Nordic strategy is likely not to be legally binding, so its impact could be very limited if it is not strongly supported by national-level action.

Should the Nordic countries choose to formulate a collaborative strategy to address climate change adaptation, this white paper outlines a number of issues they should take into consideration. These include, amongst other things, reviews of European adaptation policy; of common Nordic policy in other realms; of benefits and barriers to adaptation in the Nordic countries; and of existing and proposed policies and adaptation measures in the individual countries.

Download the paper (PDF, 402kb)