Summary report of the Arctic stakeholder forum consultation to identify key investment priorities in the Arctic and ways to better streamline future EU funding programmes for the region
The report summarises the results of a consultation of stakeholders in the Arctic region on investment priorities for EU support and ways of streamlining EU funding programmes. While conditions across the Arctic vary considerably, there is wide agreement on the main priority for investment – to extend and improve digital infrastructure. There is also wide agreement on the need to strengthen internal and external transport connections and to support local economic activities and their diversification from primary production into related areas, including renewable energy and sustainable tourism.... Investment in all these areas is considered vital for local business competitiveness and sustainable economic and social development. It is equally agreed that it is important to support research into climate change, its mitigation and adaptation to it and into development opportunities, reinforced by global warming, which safeguard the fragile ecosystem and the interests of local communities. While the importance to the region of continuing EU involvement is recognised, there are calls for more information about the instruments to provide that support, for a single entry portal to access this information, the harmonisation of regulations, concentration on the main development opportunities in the Arctic, closer cooperation and coordination between programmes and with national and international initiatives and the involvement of local stakeholders in planning programmes.