The Nordic Council of Ministers is set to fund a total of 22 co-operation projects in the Baltic Sea region and Northwest Russia. Funding will amount to DKK 10 million.
The purpose of the funding is to strengthen civil society and cross-border co-operation, and thereby contribute to the development of the region. The projects awarded funding focus on social services and healthcare, children and young people, education, culture, gender equality, the environment, civil society, democracy, and human rights.
Project partners in the Nordic Region and the co-operating countries include NGOs, universities, and local authorities. Partners outside the Nordic Region come from the Baltic Sea region, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Northwest Russia, and Belarus. The Nordic Council of Ministers received a total of 100 applications from various partnership projects in the Nordic countries and Northwest Russia.
“I’m pleased to see the great interest in people-to-people co-operation between NGOs in the Nordic countries and the countries around the Baltic Sea. Nordic-Russian co-operation is also continuing, with many good projects,” says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“This regional collaboration is of great importance for the exchange of ideas and experiences in the professional fields, and it is also valuable to understand each other’s societies and living conditions. Co-operation projects between Nordic and Northwest Russian partners are important both for the Nordic countries and for Russia,” continues the Secretary General, who recently visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, where interest in co-operation was reaffirmed at a high political level.
The following projects will receive funding:
1. Strengthening Nordic-Russian networks for promoting climate change mitigation for local development. The project brings together environmental NGOs in Northwest Russia and Nordic countries to discuss, evaluate and promote measures to combat dangerous climate change.
2. Nordic and Russian NGOs rendering high-quality social services. This project will enhance the potential of Nordic and Russian NGOs, and their support to socially disadvantaged groups, by developing new services.
3. Leaving no one behind: making the SDGs work for Saami communities in the Murmansk region. Building on the best practices of indigenous communities in Nordic states, the ‘Leaving no one behind’ project aims to operationalise the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Saami communities in the Murmansk region in accordance with indigenous values and knowledge.
4. Human Rights Lens. The project challenges young people to reflect on their everyday reality from a human rights perspective. By taking pictures of their surroundings, participants share their views on the issues they care about, and reflect on the human rights situation in their own and neighbouring countries.
5. Turning sustainable development into reality: A human rights-based approach to localising Agenda 2030. SDG localisation aims to empower all local stakeholders to make sustainable development more responsive and relevant to local needs and aspirations. Localisation will be of crucial importance for sustainable development.
6. Dance connection. The objective of the project is to strengthen co-operation between young people in the Nordic countries and Russia, by organising a series of events in 2019/2020. These include networking in Helsinki and a dance summer camp in Pskov in July 2020.
7. Men’s talk: Nordic-Russian partnership on prevention of gender-based violence and exchange of best practices in working with men. The project aims to develop long-lasting co-operation between professionals, NGOs, researchers, and civil society leaders working on gender-based violence prevention in the Nordic countries and in Northwest Russia.
8. Gender mainstreaming for social well-being: Nordic-Russian networking for skills development and knowledge building. The project aims to combat gender discrimination and violence in all spheres of life, and improve social services and wellbeing for vulnerable women, by spreading Nordic research findings and knowledge about best social practices among specialists, experts and researchers.
9. Health and sustainable development of society. The project will exchange knowledge on equal opportunities, reproductive rights, culture and sustainable development in health care, with a focus on both women’s and men’s health and how culture can be used in health care.
10. NordCompostEd. ‘NordCompostEd’ is a project focusing on awareness-raising and environmental enlightenment in relation to organic waste in the pilot cities: Petrozavodsk, Kaliningrad, Saint-Petersburg, Helsinki and Copenhagen. Another significant aim is to create a basis for an efficient organic waste management system through a network of relevant stakeholders.
11. Soft Power: Support of female entrepreneurship. ‘Soft Power’ is an educational project for women who run or who want to start their own businesses. The objective is to solve problems of gender inequality in the entrepreneurial sphere by developing skills, using the example of the creative sector of the economy. The project will contribute to female economic independence and gender equality by developing business skills.
12. Waterfront, neighbourhood and community. The purpose of the project is to promote Nordic-Russian dialogue on the ecology of big cities. The focus will be on urban development and community and neighbourhood involvement in the creation of environmentally friendly public spaces and private living areas along waterfronts.
13. Cultural Crossroads: International Olympiad on intercultural interaction. Cultural Crossroads’ is a project on intercultural interaction between schoolchildren aged 14-16 from seven schools in the Nordic countries and Russia. Participants will present their culture and traditions through storytelling and social stories.
14. Nordic-Russian bioeconomy initiative. The project aims to establish sustainable Nordic-Russian partnerships between entrepreneurs focused on the potential for a bio-based economy in Northwest Russia. The focus is on innovative production and the use of wood-based building materials.
15. Equal opportunities – a way to social welfare. This is an educational project in the Baltic Sea Region that improves the knowledge and skills of NGO experts, NGO participants and decision-makers regarding available instruments for social rights, including the European Pillar of Social Rights, and on their use to promote equal opportunities for women and men.
16. Building on the experience of Nordic and Baltic states in developing investigative journalism in Belarus. This project aims to raise the profile of investigative journalism in Belarus, and implement showcase investigative journalism projects with the help of Russian-speaking Nordic and Baltic media experts.
17. Baltic Climate Festival: NGO collaboration to promote regional climate change adaptation. This project aims to raise public awareness about the current state of the science of climate change, its causes, risks and local/regional effects, and promote climate change adaptation measures available and applicable in the Baltic Sea Region.
18. Building capacity to use roleplay games in the Peipsi Lake border region, as a tool for increasing environmental awareness in education. This project is an environmental educational project that focuses on the Nordic live-action roleplay games as an innovative tool that could be used to improve environmental education in the Estonian-Russian border region.
19. Network of social services for disadvantaged women in the Baltic Sea region. This project is working to set up and develop a network of non-state social services for women from Northwest Russia, Baltic and Nordic countries, Belarus and Poland. The network will arrange co-operation activities, build capacity, exchange best practices, thereby ensuring more effective protection of the rights and interests of disadvantaged women.
20. Music without barriers 2: Co-operation of the Baltic Sea Region NGOs on creative development of opportunities for children and young people with special needs. This project is the second stage of the partnership between Finnish, Latvian, Polish, Russian and Swedish NGOs. It aims to improve equal opportunities for children and young people with special needs, enabling them to integrate better in society through music and performance.
21. Youth and democracy festivals in the Baltic Sea Region. This is a democracy project that will design and test 4-6 experiments/prototypes aimed at new ways of participation through the lens of young people. The results will be communicated in an open source guide. The experiments will focus on giving young people positive experiences with democratic actions.
22. Docs for Change 2. ‘Docs for Change 2’ is an innovative project that brings together human rights defenders and documentary filmmakers to present underrepresented human rights issues on the big screen, as well as strengthen civil societies in Belarus and the Baltic Sea Region.