OECD Territorial Reviews: Northern Sparsely Populated Areas

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Northern Sparsely Populated Areas

The northern sparsely populated areas (NSPA) of Finland, Norway and Sweden are becoming increasingly important to the geopolitical and economic interests of these countries and the European Union. These regions have unique geographical characteristics - low population density and a harsh climate - and face specific challenges due to an ageing population, long distances from markets, and high-cost land transport. However, high productivity growth is possible in low-density regions. This report sets out policy recommendations at cross-border, national and regional scales to enhance prosperity and well-being across the NSPA. This includes closer co-operation with national governments to address shared challenges and opportunities such as improving east-west transport connections and reducing occupational and skills barriers to labour mobility, and addressing barriers to business growth such as access to finance.



Addressing the shared policy challenges of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas

The purpose of this chapter is to provide recommendations about shared policy challenges facing the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) and how to more effectively address them through enhanced cross-border co-operation. It begins by setting out a framework for understanding the growth of low-density economies followed by a diagnosis of the growth performance of the NSPA regions and factors influencing economic growth, productivity and well-being. The second part identifies the common policy challenges facing NSPA regions which shape future opportunities for growth and development. The third part of the chapter discusses how to improve institutional arrangements to enhance a co-operative approach to addressing these challenges.


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