1 Cooperation 2014-2020 Interreg Botnia-Atlantica and Interreg Nord Proudly Presents Borderless
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 2
© County Administrative Board of Västerbotten Address: 901 86 UMEÅ www.lansstyrelsen.se/vasterbotten © County Administrative Board of Norrbotten Address: 972 38 LULEÅ www.lansstyrelsen.se/norrbotten Produced by: Henson AB, Skellefteå Printed by: Ågrens Tryckeri, Örnsköldsvik 2022 Images: Cover by: Zdeno Dvorak Image page 2–3: Sjöberg bildbyrå Images page 11, 17, 21, 48, 55, 61: Shutterstock Other images by courtesy of project parners. Funded by: European Regional Development Fund
Borderless Interreg Botnia-Atlantica Interreg Nord 2014–2020
7 When thinking about cross-border cooperation, it is first and foremost the words trust and respect that come to mind. Working across national borders requires trust between partners. This trust cannot be forced, it demands long-term effort from all partners to build. Despite similarities between our three countries and Sápmi in terms of culture, language and history, there are also differences. This is where respect becomes important. We must understand each other’s differences and respect them. This way we can build a sustainable cooperation that generates new ways of working, long-term networks, new business opportunities and creative innovations. The first Interreg programmes in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Sápmi started in 1995. Since then, the programmes have contributed to numerous projects that have generated long term cooperation between several actors in our programme areas. In this book we would like to highlight a few projects that have been approved in the Nord and Botnia-Atlantica programmes during the programme period 2014-2020. With these examples our ambition is to display the diversity that cross-border cooperation has generated in the programme areas. For the programme period 2021-2027 we now welcome Interreg Aurora. A brand new programme, in which the two former programme areas have become one large area with plenty of possibilities for exciting cooperation across our national borders. Luleå and Umeå April 2022 Iiris Mäntyranta Jenny Bergkvist Programme Director Programme Director Interreg Nord Interreg Botnia-Atlantica The Programme Directors take the floor
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 8 14 borderless projects
9 184 cross-border projects that made a real difference. In many places, in many areas and to many people. This is the result of the Interreg BotniaAtlantica and Interreg Nord programmes that took place between 2014 and 2020. In this book, we celebrate the work that has been done within these projects. They show us that when we work together, the possibilities and results are truly borderless. What is a border? The encyclopedia states that it is a real or artificial line that separates geographic areas. Borders separate countries, provinces, counties, cities, and towns. But what happens when we try to imagine a more borderless world, and instead focus on cooperation with our neighbours? This is the idea behind Interreg, one of the key instruments of the European Union, supporting cooperation across borders through project funding. The aim is to tackle common challenges and find shared solutions. Interreg Botnia-Atlantica and Interreg Nord 2014-2020 are cross-border cooperation programmes that funded projects between north and central parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland and Sapmí. The overall goal has been to strengthen the competitiveness and attractiveness of the programme areas. The projects within Interreg Botnia-Atlantica and Interreg Nord have formed an ecosystem that contributes to cross-border cooperation. The initiatives have created innovative research environments and strengthened small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, they have preserved and promoted cultural heritage, and preserved and restored natural environments and their habitats. The initiatives have also developed circular economy and promoted cross-border employment and labor mobility. Among other things. To everyone who has been involved we want to say thank you. In the following pages, we showcase 14 of the 184 projects. A small sample that really demonstrates the width and diversity of the projects. We hope that they inspire many more exciting things to come. Enjoy! INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA The Botnia-Atlantica area includes six regions and one municipality in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Interreg Botnica-Atlantica has funded 66 projects within the priority areas Innovation, Business, Environment and Transport. The total funding for the Interreg Botnia- Atlantica programme is 67 million Euro, including EU-funding, Norwegian IR-funding and national co-funding. www.botnia-atlantica.eu INTERREG NORD Interreg Nord includes northern Sweden, northern Finland, northern Norway and Sápmi. The Nord programme is divided into two geographical sub-areas, sub-area Nord and sub-area Sápmi. Interreg Nord has funded 118 cross-border cooperation projects in four priority areas: Research and innovation, Entrepreneurship, Culture and environment and the Common labour market. The total funding for the Interreg Nord programme is 112 million Euro, including EU-funding, Norwegian IR-funding and national co-funding. www.interregnord.com Cross-border projects that made a difference
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 10 The app that helps seniors find meaningful social activities online @GEING ONLINE Lead partner: Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Project partners: Umeå University, Sweden and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Priority area: Innovation. The goal was to develop a launch-ready social application for older people in the Kvarken region. But @geing Online has gone one step further – the app is not only developed, but launched and available for use. – We really see this as a great success, says Johanna Nordmyr, coordinator of the project. @geing Online is an Interreg Botnia-Atlantica cross-border innovation project. The main focus of the project was to develop a social app that supports opportunities for maintaining social networks, relationships, and activities for older adults at risk of social isolation. An important starting point was that everyone should be able to use the app – even those who were not very used to technology. Therefore, the design and development process involved older people of varying ages, various public actors from the social and health areas on both sides of the Kvarken area, as well as IT companies. – We are very happy that we managed to create forums to gather people and groups who do not always meet, says Johanna. Some of the older people they met were not at all familiar with the internet. – For some, it was the first time they sat with a tablet computer in front of them. We felt a great responsibility to create a comfortable and constructive environment for them to test and comment on the app prototypes. The feedback from the people who have been involved has been very positive. Anna Forsman, Johanna Nordmyr and Madeleine Blusi from the @geing online project met with Dagny Carlsson (Swedish blogger, who at the time was 105 years old) at MVTe, Conference for welfare technology and e-health in Stockholm 2018.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 12 – We see this as important from the perspective of digital inclusion. To create space for people of older age with varying technical skills to be able to participate in the project and give their important views, regardless of their experience of technology and life situation. It was important to us that we succeeded with that, says Johanna. The IT companies have also been positive. – The fact that there was a focus on two important societal challenges: Social meaningful interaction and digital exclusion. The way that the project tackled them made us interested in developing tools that could help remedy this problem, one of the parttaking IT-companies states in the evaluation. IT-companies are not always that familiar with older adults as a customer group. We have received feedback that we have contributed to opportunities for companies to get to know this large target group, and also created forums for companies to meet potential future collaborators in the social and healthcare sectors. This is something we are also happy about, she says. The app has now been launched and is available in two language versions. In Swedish it is called “KomMed” and in Finnish “TuleMukaan”. In the app, you can find social gatherings and also set up your own activities. – If I want to bring together an interest group in my immediate area, I can set up an activity that others can sign up for, says Johanna. A video function is also integrated in the app. – If you think about the pandemic situation that we have experienced, it is an important function, when we do not always have the opportunity to meet in person, says Johanna. @geing Online has been a cross-border project in many ways. For example, the team itself has worked across borders.
13 The project team in Vaasa contributes with expertise in health promotion work, health technology and user-centered working methods. The research team in Umeå contributes with knowledge from the areas of nursing, occupational therapy, and computer science. The project team in Seinäjoki contributes with experience and knowledge of elderly care and groups with special needs. – We all represent different work areas and areas of expertise. It has been very exciting to work together, even though we may have slightly different perspectives. The project team has met older people in cities as well as in sparsely populated and rural areas in both Sweden and Finland. – Considering the contextual differences and related challenges and opportunities is important, says Johanna. Working with both public actors and private IT companies has also been an example of cross-border cooperation. – We have seen structural and cultural boundaries that we have managed to overcome through dialogue and cooperation. The work in the project is also important from a broader EU perspective. – We have a growing older population; it is an EU-common issue. How can the older population be supported? This project is highly relevant to the whole of the EU. Our project provides a concrete example of how we can work together to develop different solutions for this target group, says Johanna. Did you know… The project’s goal has been for the application to benefit as many organisations and elderly people as possible. Therefore, both the app and its source code are available to anyone who is interested – organisations, companies, and individuals.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 14 Moving to another country to work can be quite a process. Interreg Nord cross- border project Arbeta Tillsammans (Working together) works to promote and enhance knowledge about the common labour market area in Finland and Sweden. The main goal is to increase awareness of the opportunities for cross-border mobility in the labour market, and to reduce the factors that hinder labour mobility. Leena Törmälehto, project manager at the Educational Consortium OSAO in Oulu, Finland, says that the project has been successful. – The project has arranged many successful information sessions, language cafes and virtual network visits online. We have also shared information on the specificities of the border area labour market, she says. Jarno Nahkala has participated in the virtual language cafés: Raising awareness about the possibilities of labor mobility ARBETA TILLSAMMANS Lead Partner: Educational Consortium OSAO, Oulu, Finland. Project partners: Vocational College Lappia, Finland, North Calotte Council, Rovaniemi, Finland, Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk), Finland, and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. Priority area: Common labour market. Leena Törmälehto is project manager at the Educational Consortium OSAO in Oulu, Finland for the Interreg Nord project Arbeta Tillsammans. The goal of the project is to increase awareness of cross-border labor mobility. – The virtual cafés highlighted similarities and differences between Finnish and Swedish culture. They have helped lower the threshold for various forms of cross-border communication. The project has had many different target groups: Public sector employment actors, networks operating in northern Finland and Sweden, private sector employment services and employers, teaching staff and jobseekers, soon-to-be graduates and recently graduated persons. By bringing different stakeholders together, like municipalities, employment services, employers and business networks, the project aims to create common understanding about the benefits and possibilities of increasing labour mobility within the Bothnian Gulf and Torne River Valley regions. – We want to proceed from cooperation to co-innovation between organisations, says Leena Törmälehto.
15 Working together is essential in whitewater rafting. The project’s extensive partner network enables diverse collaboration on both sides of the border. – I’m proud of the cooperation between the partners in the project. We’re really making the cultural issues known, says Leena. Together with the North Calotte Council, the project carried out a study on mental border barriers experienced in cooperation between Finland and Sweden. The study resulted in a report in both Finnish and Swedish, Mental border barriers, which was published in the spring of 2021. Mental border barriers can be related to physical, geographical, legal, or political barriers. They are always related to previous experiences, are often collective and they are passed on through stories about the past and stereotypical images of “the others”. – When we are trying to resolve border barriers, we also need to take mental border barriers into account. Solving physical barriers alone is not enough, Leena continues. The project group are planning new measures to address these mental border barriers. – Acquiring truth-based information and sharing it with as many people as possible is really important to reduce mental border barriers. One of these barriers is languages and cultural knowledge. We have organised many language cafés to reduce mental barriers to using language, Leena states. Another purpose of the project is to increase knowledge of the language and culture in neighbouring countries, both Finland and Sweden. Oulu University of Applied Sciences has started courses in the Swedish language and in Swedish culture, one at undergraduate level and a further education.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 16 – 17 enthusiastic students and jobseekers participate in the language training via Zoom. The purpose of the education is to strengthen oral language skills and skills in job search and to provide information about the Swedish labour market and work culture, says Ida Valtonen, project manager and language teacher at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Luleå University of Technology prepares courses in career guidance, open to anyone interested. The University collaborates with Northvolt, a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer, specialising in lithium-ion technology for electric vehicles, who will employ thousands of workers in the area. Utbildning Nord and Vocational College Lappia is in the process of preparing collaboration with the construction industry and the mining industry in the area for information sessions and visits and is also planning information sessions about the municipalities in the region. The Corona pandemic has posed new challenges for the opportunities to work between borders and for the project. In the start-up phase of the project, the countries’ borders were closed in the spring of 2020. Nevertheless, the cooperation within Arbeta Tillsammans has continued. – The project plan was based on live meetings and visits but Arbeta Tillsammans project has been able to find new solutions to enable action in an exceptional situation, says Leena. In 2022, the team is hoping to do real, in- person visits. – Although we have done a great job via online meetings, I think this will make a difference, she says. Did you know… The Mental borders barriers report consists of 21 in-depth interviews with jobseekers, students, employers, 6 longer interviews with representatives of organisations, 2 longer interviews with researchers, 4 interviews with politicians. It identifies six mental border barriers at the border between Finland and Sweden. 1. Long distances and weak social networks hamper employment in another country. 2. National stereotypes are still existing. The notion that society and culture are quite similar makes it easier to work in a neighboring country. 3. There are many similarities between the work culture in Sweden and Finland. But the most common perception is that the work culture is more hierarchical in Finland and more humane and conversational in Sweden. 4. People tend to follow the news of their homeland and know less about the affairs of the neighboring country. Knowledge of differences can create interaction between countries. Lack of knowledge of the neighboring language is a concrete obstacle to taking a job in the neighboring country if it is a requirement in the workplace. 6. The experience of a high threshold. The perception of bureaucracy for those who work across borders can be daunting and there are interviewees who have heard “horror stories” about problems. In order to facilitate work and recruitment across borders, the interviewees suggest, among other things, that the authorities should be more present at the border. Something that would elevate the region and make any practical problems that may arise easier to solve. The interviewees also suggest that language skills should be improved on both sides of the border.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 18 Less talk, more action! The Interreg Botnia-Atlantica project Cleantech Kvarken has takenmany actions to strengthen the conditions for small and medium-sized cleantech companies in the Kvarken region – We have succeeded in building a strong cross-border collaboration, which is very beneficial to the parttaking companies, says Peter Hedman, project manager of Cleantech Kvarken. Cleantech means green technology, clean energy and sustainable solutions. The project called Cleantech Kvarken was active between 2015 and 2018, a project in which the cities of Umeå and Örnsköldsvik in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland were collaborating. The goal was cross-border business cooperation and export of products and services within energy, forestry, and information technology, with environmenBuilding a Finnish-Swedish Cleantech Cluster CLEANTECH KVARKEN Lead partner: Kompetensspridning i Umeå AB, Sweden. Project partners: Technology Centre MERINOVA, Finland, Örnsköldsvik Municipality, Sweden, Vaasa Region Development Company, VASEK, Finland. Priority area: Business. The Cleantech Kvarken Company Catalouge has been a popular product at the project’s events. tal relevance and new technologies as the driving force. – The project was a somewhat new collaboration, our first joint project. It was all about supporting companies with environmentally friendly solutions, says Peter Hedman. Cleantech Kvarken had three focus areas: To market the region and its companies to the outside world, with joint investments in exports to help establish contacts between companies, with the help of business advisories and to connect cleantech companies with public actors. – The things we did to support the companies in our region were very concrete. We arranged matchmaking events, informative events and through our Business Advisory we could listen to the needs and wants from the companies and then take it from there, says Jenny Åkermark, member of the project group.
19 There are many strong cleantech companies in the Kvarken region. In total, the project has collaborated with 200 companies with environmentally friendly solutions. An important, tangible result of the project is the printed and digital company catalogue which included about 200 companies and organisations from both Finland and Sweden. – It was the first time something like this was done. It meant that when we travelled to market the region to the outside world, we had something to show, says Triinu Varblane, who is also a member of the project group. – Among other things, we participated at the All-Energy event, an annual large exhibition and conference in Glasgow, Scotland. There we introduced ourselves as a Finnish-Swedish cleantech cluster representing about 200 companies and got a lot of attention, says project group member Johan Wasberg, The project also organised many events. One example is the “Women with Impact” event, which was organised in Vaasa with 200 participants. It was a high-profile event designed to highlight the inclusion of more women in the Cleantech sector. – I thought we would get a few rows of participants, but the whole room was full! We had no vacancies, says Triinu Varblane. Another example is the international “Energy Business Forum” which highlighted investments and business opportunities in the energy sector in the USA, Great Britain, Chile, Estonia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Scotland, Tunisia and Sweden. It was a unique opportunity to learn more and establish good contacts with growing energy market hot spots. Peter Hedman describes the cross- border collaboration in the project as very successful.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 20 – We have tried to pinpoint the best practices from both Finland and Sweden and combine these to create cross-border added value for the companies. This has really been a cross-border cooperation in the truest sense! Looking back, the project team feels proud. – This project highlighted the possibilities for small and medium sized enterprises to collaborate across the borders in the Kvarken region. It created opportunities that strengthened the growth in the region by supporting the company’s export prospects, says project group member Jeanette Holmlund de Miranda. The project has ended, and it is now important that the results from the project can live on and be utilised also in the future. – It is always a challenge when you develop new ways of supporting business development in projects, to find a mechanism that secures the results being used after the project has ended. And it is important to take advantage of all that is invested in relationships, networks and partnerships, says Peter Hedman. Did you know… There has been a global interest in the Cleantech Kvarken project. “The waves of this project have reached both North and South America, Africa and Australia. Through collaboration with embassies and our network we have been everywhere, from Chile to China, Alaska, Indonesia and Australia and in all these places, we have presented the companies from our region”, says Triinu Varblane. Peter Hedman, project manager at Cleantech Kvarken, presented the Cleantech Kvarken Company Catalogue during the event Energy Business Forum.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 22 What risks and threats does digitalisation bring for small and medium-sized companies? The Interreg Nord cross-border project CYNIC is working to increase awareness of this very issue. With webinars, close collaboration with companies, safety labs – and a card game – the project has made a real difference for many companies. Most companies nowadays rely on IT-systems to carry out their business, but in a world of hackers and malware, the threats to digital security never cease. CYNIC is an initiative in the border area between northern Sweden and Finland that gives small and medium-sized companies in the region deeper insights into – and increased awareness of – information and security problems as well as practical help to reduce risks. – The project should inspire and contribute to creating healthy IT behavior among employees. Instead of the small and mediHelping small and medium sized companies with information security CYNIC Lead partner: Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. Project partner: Centria Research and Development, Finland. Priority area: Entrepreneurship. um-sized companies handing over information security to someone else, the result will now hopefully be more awareness of security in everyday work, says Johan Lugnet, project manager and researcher at Luleå University of Technology. It doesn’t matter what technical solutions a company has unless everyone in the organisation also has a basic understanding of risks and threats. – Only two or three years ago, it was thought that information security was something for the IT department at a company. That is no longer the case. It is up to everyone who handles the digital systems, says Åsa Ericson, researcher at Luleå University of Technology and part of the CYNIC team. – The knowledge about information security is also not something static, but something that must always live in the culture of a company, says Martin Lundgren, researcher at Luleå University of Technology and part of the CYNIC team.
23 The Interreg Nord cross-border project CYNIC increases awareness about digital security for small and medium-sized companies. In the recurring event called CyberNorth, cyber security experts have shared their knowledge with companies. To build self-confidence and develop knowledge, there are two well-established safety labs - based at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden and Centria University of Applied Sciences in Finland. The labs can help companies get an idea of the risks involved. The cross-border collaboration in the project has been fruitful. – We have a very good collaboration with our partners at Centria Research and Development in Finland. Together we have been able to help companies with concrete cases. This is where we have succeeded best, says Johan. Laura Palovuori and Joni Jämsä are part of the project team: – Joint, cross-border webinars have been highlights of the Covid-19 era. The arrangements for the webinars have succeeded well and the events themselves have been epic. Cross border events enabled knowledge and skill sharing across borders with fun and equal cooperation between partners, they say. A big advantage is that the team has different areas of expertise. – The finnish project part Centria have a technical focus, and we at Luleå University of Technology handle the social parts around security issues. We need to combine these focuses, and have been able to complement each other, says Åsa. The borders in Europe look a little different now that the world has become increasingly digital, says Johan. – We see this when we are contacted by other sparsely populated regions in Europe. What we do is also useful beyond the programme area. Some of these results are spreading around the world, he says. The project participates in and arranges events, seminars and workshops designed to promote digital business development and at the same time increase knowledge
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 24 about digital security. For example, CYNIC organized an event called CyberNorth, where cyber security experts shared their knowledge with over 100 participants from Sweden and Finland. The project has also developed a card game that can help companies become more aware of risks. – It is based on gamification and works like a regular card game. The idea is to start discussing the topic of security issues. This can be done in coffee rooms or in meetings. It is a great starting point for discussions, regardless of what level of knowledge you have, says Johan. The team says that they learned a lot during the project. – The Corona pandemic has meant that most companies were forced into a more digital work environment. The lack of knowledge about risks has been an eye opener for us, and we have gained a good insight into where the risks arise, says Åsa. There is no doubt that the project has made a difference to many people. – We have benefited from the cooperation in the Interreg Nord project, as we have at the same time increased our own expertise and thus we can better serve our customers. It has been a pleasure to cooperate with the project, says Tomi Liias, Head of European Sales, Tosibox Oy, Oulu Finland. – Together with the companies, we have looked at how to train staff. We have found some good methods for this. But I also think the meetings and seminars we have had have made a concrete difference. You notice that there is a great deal of interest in these issues. Hopefully, someone has been able to avoid being exposed to threats because we have opened up the discussion, says Johan. – Together with the CYNIC project, we have developed an effective training material that both strengthens our own staff’s competence in information security and that we also use as an offer to our customers in, among other things, the public sector that we help with secure and efficient information management, says Annika Sällström, Business Developer, Agio. Martin Lundgren, Åsa Ericson and Johan Lugnet, researchers at Luleå University of Technology demonstrate cyber security and a card game which the CYNIC project has developed to help companies become more aware of cyber security. Did you know… CYNIC was selected as one out of five finalists in the Regiostars Awards category: ”Skills & education for a digital Europe” in 2020. The RegioStars awards demonstrate excellence of EU-funded Interreg projects in regional development.
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27 Helping local communities tackle global warming What will the sea look like in 2120? The Interreg Botnia-Atlantica cross-border project ECOnnect analyses howmarine nature will be affected by climate change in 100 years’ time in the central Gulf of Bothnia. – It may feel far away, but it concerns our children and grandchildren, says Johnny Berglund, member of the project team. The project’s goal is to produce a concrete and comprehensive future forecast that describes the Botnia-Atlantica region’s future marine nature, in order to improve and streamline both community planning and climate work in the region. Having good forecasts for the future is important. – If you want to take care of our sea areas, it is very important to know what the future will be like, so you can plan for the long term, says Anette Bäck, project manager and marine nature conservation specialist from Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland. Climate change affects key characteristics of the region’s sea area and lead to changes in salinity, visibility depth, ice cover, nutrient load, and sea level, which in turn affects the species and habitats found in the area. – It is getting warmer. What is special about our region is that the sea ice will be significantly smaller. We are so used to there being ice on the sea in this region, but it is not at all certain that there will be ice every ECONNECT Lead partner: Metsähallitus, Finland. Project partners: The County Administrative Board of Västernorrland, Sweden, The County Administrative Board of Västerbotten, Sweden. The Business, Transport and Environment Center in Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland. Priority area: Environment.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 28 Project staff from ECOnnect at a joint meeting to test mapping mussels and seaweed with a remote-controlled underwater drone near Ulvön in Västernorrland. winter, if climate change takes effect as our scenarios show, says Johnny. The results from the project provide a concrete picture of the underwater nature of the future. They enable both a direct comparison between the current situation and the future. The results also enable a closer analysis of the reasons behind the changes, as a direct result of the new digital methods being based on the climate change effects. – One thing I am very proud of is that we have succeeded in collaborating with SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, and FMI, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, who have helped us with the climate scenarios. It is such a topical issue. In connection with, for example, the climate conference in Glasgow, it was extra fun to have access to current data and knowledge, says Johnny. The ECOnnect team has received several surprises during the project. – If you look at our area, we had expected the sea to be much sweeter in the future, with an expected increase in precipitation. But the forecasts from SMHI do not show any major difference in salinity. We had thought that the marine species would move south, but this is not what the forecasts indicate. It is a positive surprise, says Johnny. There is a great deal of interest in the material that the project produces. – Both from private individuals and from authorities. That’s why we produce quite a lot of communication material. Among
29 Did you know… On ECOnnect’s YouTube channel, you can find several animations and films. One film shows how the ocean in the Gulf of Bothnia might look in the year 2082. Search for “Vad kan vi göra för vårt hav?” on YouTube. Project staff watching a video screen that is connected to a remote-controlled underwater drone. other things, we’ve made several YouTube videos and animations, says Anette. The cross-border collaboration in the project has worked excellently. – I am proud that we have such good cooperation between the organisations and across borders. It is important when working with sea areas, says Anette. The forecasts are not only important for the Kvarken region. – If you think about the methods that we test and use here, they will be able to use in many other places, for other sea areas, says Anette. The opportunity to be at the forefront of understanding is something both Johnny and Anette appreciate. – We can try new things, things you might not otherwise have had the opportunity to do, says Johnny. Working with new colleagues is also a great advantage. – We really learn a lot from each other, says Anette.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 30 Promoting electric aviation in the Kvarken region Once the technology is available, the Kvarken region will be ready for electric flights. Interreg Botnia-Atlantica cross- border project FAIR is working to prepare the region and its’ airports for a new chapter. – I think we will be among the first regions in the world with electric aircraft. We may be talking as soon as 2026, says Mathias Lindström, director of the Kvarken Council EGTC, lead partner in the project. Mathias Lindström is director of the Kvarken Council EGTC, whose primary goal is to make the Kvarken region a better place to live and work in. A prerequisite for developing the region is that there are functioning communications and functioning accessibility. A shortcoming in the region is the east-west communications. – On the aviation side, all flights go in a north-south direction. At the same time, we know that the region’s business community needs to get their products out and people need to be able to move in all directions, he says. The technical progress of electric aviation is rapidly advancing. Since electric aircraft does not produce any operational greenhouse gas emissions, it is set to be one of the most climate-efficient modes of transport in the future. At the same time, electric operation means drastically reduced fuel and maintenance costs, which creates very competitive operating costs and thus potential for a completely new regional air system. A few years ago, the idea arose to look at the possibility of early implementation of electric aircraft. FAIR Lead partner: Kvarken Council EGTC. Project partners: Umeå University, Sweden, University of Vasa, Finland, BioFuel Region Umeå, Sweden, RISE, Sweden, Region Västerbotten, Sweden, Midtskandia, Norway, Nord University, Norway. Priority area: Innovation.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 32 – We have many fairly small, regional airports on both sides of the Kvarken strait. Then why not do a collaboration project? We connected universities, chambers of commerce, development companies, public actors and created FAIR, says Mathias. Early implementation of electric aviation in the Kvarken region has the potential to effectively address some of the region’s major challenges such as demographic change and urbanisation, long distances and the lack of east-west communications, and the global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact. The project’s partnership consists largely of actors in the Kvarken region, i.e. the counties of Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, and Central Ostrobothnia in Finland and the county of Västerbotten and municipality of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. There are also partners in northern Norway. The project trusts that the industry will handle the technology – Within the project, we will not develop any technology. We are looking at what we need to do in the region for early implementation and what effects it will have in the region. Initially, the project was met with a lot of skepticism, he says. – In 2019, many were skeptical and said that this will never become a reality until 2030-2040 at the earliest. But in just a couple of years, the discussion has changed. Now everyone is talking about alternative forms of propulsion for aviation. Now, the interest in FAIR is great, Mathias states. – We have been contacted by many organisations that say they want to follow this and are keen on the results we produce. We do not only promote the implementation of electric aviation in our own region. I think it will accelerate early establishment throughout Europe. FAIR Project Managers Isak Brändström and Andreas Forsgren.
33 The Kvarken region is perfect for early implementation of electric aircraft, says Mathias. – We are separated by water areas, have relatively long distances between our cities, and there is no competing infrastructure to all locations. Electric aircraft will be a game changer for the entire market, he says. – There is a possibility that electric flights will be significantly cheaper to fly with than traditional flights. The number of users will increase. We will most likely have profitability on less busy routes. It will create new transport patterns. Many actors contribute to the project in different ways. – We have partners from every corner of the programme area. The universities have looked at routes, RISE at the innovation processes. I am very proud of this level of cross-border cooperation, he says. He is also proud that the FAIR project was ahead of its time. – We have contributed to pushing the commissioning of electric aircraft forward, says Mathias. Did you know… Electric-powered aircraft already exist, and there are several ongoing development projects. In terms of regional flights, a smaller electric-powered aircraft for up to 19 passengers and with a flight range of 400 kilometers would suit the region well. This range is sufficient for commuting, recreation, and cooperation in the Kvarken region. Simon Oja (Biofuel region), Lars Westin (CERUM Umeå Univer- sity), Jeroen Peeters (RISE), Isak Brändström (Project Manager), Pipistrel Velis Electro (Green flight academy), Andreas Forsgren (Project Manager), Ida Norberg (Biofuel region), Carita Roslund (RISE) and Hans-Peter Carlson (MidtSkandia).
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 34 Strengthening the EU-Sápmi relationship Creating a knowledge-platform on EU-Sápmi relevant topics and arranging the first ever EU-Sámi Week in Brussels. These are two examples of how the Interreg Nord cross-border project Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps is making a real difference. – We are a little overwhelmed by the positive response we have received so far. It inspires us to continue working, says Åsa Larsson Blind, project manager from The Saami Council. All Nordic countries have a close relationship with the EU regardless of membership, and EU decisions have a direct and indirect impact on the Sámi way of life. The project is part of a long-term effort to increase knowledge about Sápmi in the EU and vice versa. FILLING THE EU-SÁPMI KNOWLEDGE GAPS: Lead partner: Saami Council. Project partner: Suoma Sámi Nuorat. Priority area: Common labour market. – A lot of work by many people has culminated in this project. It is a great inspiration when we now are working hands-on with these issues, says Åsa. An important part of the project is to establish a think-tank consisting of Sámi experts to develop a strategy for how Sámi issues can be promoted in a more structured, common, and goal-oriented way in EU policy development. – I am happy that the experts have been willing to put in their time and commitment in this work, Åsa says. The strategy will lay the foundation for the content of the EU-Sámi Week, which takes place in Brussels in June 2022. – This is a project with many “first ever”, she adds. Åsa Larsson Blind is project manager for the Interreg Nord cross-border project Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps at the Saami Council.
35 Another important goal is to create job training for young Sámi by offering a Sámi trainee programme with a focus on the EU. – I am very proud of the trainee programme. We have had three employed trainees during the project period. Three young, dedicated people who have come in with their capacity and commitment. It is a fantastic inspiration and we have been able to maintain a youth focus in many parts of the project. It also fits so well for the European Year of Youth 2022, Åsa states. Ánja Márja Nystø Keskitalo from Guovadageaidnu/Kautokeino in Norway is one of the trainees in the project. – I am grateful to have this opportunity to work with topics that I am passionate about in a Sámi and international environment. So far, the traineeship has been a great learning experience, and it is exciting to be a part of shaping the other parts of the project with such a great team, says Ánja Márja. The project has also organized several courses. One topic was “How to go from a project rookie to a project pro”. Another course dealt with entrepreneurship and the EU as a market. – It showed the fantastic opportunities we have in Sápmi and how much we can contribute to the EU market, says Åsa. So far, the response from the EU has been overwhelmingly positive. – We are met with great understanding. Both nationally, regionally, and when we meet the European Commission, they Ánja Márja Nystø Keskitalo is one of the three trainees in the project Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps. In June, 2022 the first ever EU-Sámi Week in Brussels will be organised by the project.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 36 seem to agree that a Sámi voice is needed in the EU. It adds to our feeling, that this work really is needed. Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps is a cross-border project. But working across borders is nothing new to Åsa Larsson Blind, who is Vice President of the Saami Council. – The Sámi culture and Sápmi as a region is divided by national and administrative regional boundaries. Dealing with these boundaries is part of our daily lives. I think that is a strength for us. We can use our experience of cross-border work in the project, she says. The project is also important from a broader European perspective. Åsa Larsson Blind believes that it is a question of democracy. – The Sámi are recognised as a people in Sápmi on a national level. It follows that we should be able to participate with our own voice in decision-making forums. This is the basis of EU cooperation; it is based on democracy and inclusion. 2022 will be a busy time for everyone involved in the project. The EU strategy will finally be formulated and launched and the Sámi EU Week will be held in Brussels. – It feels incredibly inspiring, Åsa concludes. Did you know… Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps was one of the selected finalists in the REGIOstars Award 2021. REGIOstars is an annual competition organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. The competition is open to EU-funded projects that work with regional development in an innovative and inclusive way. The project Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps will create a knowledge-platform on EU-Sápmi relevant topics. The aim is to develop a strategy for how Sámi issues can be promoted in a more structured, common, and goal-oriented way in EU policy development.
37 NY BILD?
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 38 Thousands of new words that strengthen the Sámi languages Over 3000 new words. 351 new linguistic norms. And a new Ume Sámi orthography. These are some of the results from the Interreg Nord project Giellagáldu. – This work is very important to secure the future of the Sámi languages, says Marko Marjomaa, former project manager and Temp Language Affairs Secretary at the Saami Parliament in Finland and interim director of Sámi Giellagáldu. The language boundaries of the Sámi languages do not follow national state boundaries. This means that there is a great need for cross-border language cooperation. This is to prevent linguistic division and to preserve and develop the Sámi languages. – As time goes on, it can become more difficult to understand each other on the different sides of the borders. It is important to use the same words, so that the national borders do not become language borders, says Marko. Giellagáldu was a cross-border project between the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Sámi Parliaments, which operates within the Sámi Parliamentary Council, the cooperational body for the Sámi parliaments. The aim for the project was to secure the future of the Sámi languages and to strengthen and promote the use of the Sámi languages . Currently, there are 9 or 10 Saami Languages, depending on whether one believes that Akkala Saami, spoken SÁMI GIELLAGÁLDU Lead partner: Sámi Parliament in Finland. Project partners: Sámi Parliaments in Norway and Sweden. Priority area: Culture and environment. Marko Marjomaa, project manager for the Interreg Nord project Giellagáldu in Margaretakyrkan at Gammplatsen in Lycksele, Sweden, April 2016 at the ceremony when the ortgrahpy for Umesaami was standardised.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 40 in Russia, has died out or not. The other 9 Saami languages are Southern Sámi, Ume Sámi, Pite Sámi, Lule Sámi, Northern Sámi, Kemi Sámi, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi and Kildin Sámi. Giellagáldu, if translated directly from Sámi, means language and source or spring. Giella means language and gáldu means both water and spring but also figurative source, as in for example source of knowledge. The tasks in the project have included language planning, language development, terminology work, standardisation, and a place name service. The project has employed language workers for South Sámi, Lule Sámi, North Sámi, Inari Sámi, and Skolt Sámi. The language personnel provide guidance and advice in issues relating to the use of the Sámi languages. In addition, the project had an administration project manager from the Saami Parliament in Finland, a senior adviser from the Saami Parliament in Norway and a project secretary from the Saami Parliament in Finland. Svenn-Egil Knutsen Duolljá works as a Lule Saami language adviser at Giellagáldu. – I provide free language advice for many different users like translators, interpreters, journalists, educational institutions, teachers, students, municipalities and also Saami and national administrative organs. I also get a lot of language questions from the general public on Facebook, SMS and e-mail, says Svenn-Egil. The questions are often about spelling rules and abbreviations, how to adapt loanwords to Lule Saami spelling and about Lule Saami place names. I also get questions about Lule Saami spelling of names for public institutions. The language staff came up with proposals for new words and standards. The proposals then went to language sections for the specific Sámi language in all countries where the language is spoken. The sections examined the words, before they became standardised. All in all, a total of 3 370 new words have been developed and 351 new standards have been given for South, Lule, North, Inari and Skolt Sámi. The aim for the Giellagáldu project was to secure the future of the Sámi languages, to strengthen and promote the use of the Sámi languages.
41 – This is a great success, and we are very happy with the results. I think that especially translators, interpreters, journalists, schools, and Saami administrative organs have benefited from the project, says Marko. But the project is not just about standardisation and terminology. – The people who work with these things have been able to meet and make contact. That contact lives on, even though the project has ended, says Marko. The work of Sámi Giellagáldu has continued as cooperation between Sámi Parliaments in Finland, Sweden and Norway since the Giellagáldu project ended in May 2018. Sámi Giellagáldu has operated under the Sámi Parliamentary Council, the cooperational body for the Sámi parliaments. Now, the function of Sámi Giellagáldu is becoming permanent. – We have worked for a long time for this to happen. It was one of the main goals of the project, he says. An important milestone during the project was when the Working Group for Ume Sámi approved the orthography for the language, a decision that ended the development work for the orthography that had been going on for over 20 years. An orthography is a spelling system for written languages. – For instance, it makes it easier to create teaching materials. You know that when you write something in a certain way, it will not change. It is important for the Ume Sámi people, says Marko. The orthography was signed in Margaretakyrkan at Gammplatsen in Lycksele, Sweden in April 2016. – It was very touching! It was an historic event and something you perhaps only witness once in a lifetime, says Marko. Did you know… One example of a new word that is standardised in the North Sámi language section is ”dihtorduolbbus”. In Norwegian it means nettbrett, in Swedish surfplatta, in Finnish tabletti and in English tablet.
INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 42 Keeping the arctic fox alive Thanks to Felles Fjellrev Nord II, the arctic fox is still alive in the Scandinavian mountains. But the situation remains critical. – I am so proud that we still have arctic foxes in northernmost Sweden, Finland, and Norway. But the current situation is a concrete example of what global climate change can lead to. It is a message that I believe everyone benefits from listening to, says David Bell, project manager of Interreg Nord cross-border project Felles Fjellrev Nord II at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten. The arctic fox was once common in the Scandinavian mountains. It has been estimated that there were 10 000 arctic foxes in Scandinavia during the 19th century. Because of extensive hunting, it almost became exterminated. Today, there are only about 450 adult arctic foxes in Sweden, Norway and Finland altogether. Due to the global climate change, life is getting tougher. The arctic fox is dependent on the supply of small rodents, especially lemmings. When the precipitation more and more often falls as rain instead of snow, the ground freezes to ice – a big disadvantage to small rodents. A consequence of this is that the lemming cycles become less reliable, and the arctic fox doesn’t have regular access to food. Rising temperatures also mean that the red fox can spread in mountain areas and compete with the arctic fox by taking over its territories. The cross-border cooperation Felles Fjellrev was created to improve the conditions. Over the years, a handful of projects have gone under the name Felles Fjellrev, focusFELLES FJELLREV NORD II Lead partner: County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, Sweden Project partners: Stockholm University, Sweden, Metsähallitus Lapin luontopalvelut, Finland. Self-financed partners: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Priority area: Culture and environment.