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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.

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Executive summary

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 (EU). The NSPA regions are located on the periphery of Europe and are part of Europe’s gateway to the Arctic and the east of the Russian Federation (hereafter ‘Russia’). A changing climate, access to hydrocarbon and mineral resources, and shifts in relations with Russia are changing the political and economic landscape. The sustainable development of these regions is crucial to managing such strategic risks and opportunities.

English

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