Kvarken Council creates cross-border cooperation to accelerate green transition
Cities, regions and counties often work hard to market and develop themselves. The Kvarken Council, however, takes an even broader perspective. It is seeking a stronger, common drive towards progress, even across borders. The Kvarken Council is a Nordic cross-border cooperation platform for three Ostrobothnian counties in Finland and the counties of Västerbotten and Västernorrland in Sweden. The purpose of this cooperation is to enable major development projects in the Kvarken region.
“Our strength lies in the synthesis of many municipalities and cities that are strong enough together to make a real difference”, says Veronica Berg, Development Manager of the Kvarken Council in Umeå, Sweden.
These are interesting times for the Kvarken region. As the world seeks solutions to promote the green transition, more and more people are looking to the Kvarken region. In addition to the existing green energy know-how and supply, major new investments are being made in green transition industries on both sides of the Kvarken.
“There are major investments in the production of battery materials in the region. The Nordic Battery Belt cooperation network connects Nordic mines with Finnish battery manufacturers. Thanks to this network, we are making Kvarken a leading pioneer in the green transition. If you want to actively change the world, I would say that this is the best place in the world to be”, says Berg.
The Kvarken Council develops cooperation from business to R&D to welfare. The most acute need on the Council’s task list is transport links. Berg explains that co-investing in the world’s most climate-friendly ship is an excellent start, but efficient east to west air connections are also needed. The possibility of a fixed transport link, i.e. a bridge or tunnel, between Sweden and Finland is also being investigated.
“With a wall to the east, the need for cooperation between western countries only grows stronger. We are constantly receiving more applications for membership, for example from development companies and universities, which is a real pleasure.”
The role of the Kvarken Council is to identify key development needs and find sources of funding for them. Once the funding has been found, the Council can start stitching together partnerships by leading projects or acting as a platform for them. The Council’s main objectives include improving business conditions and investment opportunities and developing the attractiveness of the Kvarken region for tourism. According to Berg, a fine recent example of this is the Bothnian Coastal Route (BCR), a wide network of tourism cooperation.
“International tourists want more and more experiences and a more diverse mixture of them. The BCR project will increase the attractiveness of this tourist route that skirts and crosses the Kvarken and around the Bay of Bothnia.”
Kuvateksti: “The current global situation increases the need for broad cooperation. In the Kvarken region, we actively seize opportunities and promote them in the most agile way possible”, says Veronica Berg.