#UnordinaryIdeas #communityspirit #agriculture #horses #nativebreed #macrobiotech

Learning about many fascinating initiatives in a small and remote archipelago like the Faroe Islands might induce the question of how all this can be made possible. One of the enablers is the intensive and strong collaboration between the Nordic countries in a range of different areas, e.g. in economic development and environmental challenges. Since long the Faroe Islands have played an active role in such regional cooperation projects, as a part of the Nordic family of nations, through cooperation in the West Nordic region and across the North Atlantic. (The Nordic Region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.

More details and useful information about the Nordic Region and each of its countries, click here.

Keeping Innovation Supplies Coming In: NORA – an example for successful collaboration

NORA (Nordic Atlantic Cooperation) is an intergovernmental organization under the regional cooperation program of the Nordic Council of Ministers and it brings together Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Coastal Norway. Despite extreme distances and very few direct flights between the NORA countries involved, these are nevertheless strongly interlinked by their geographic location, shared traits and common challenges, in addition to multiple historical, institutional and cultural ties. According to Jákup Sørensen, adviser to NORA from the Faroe Islands (and a conference ambassador of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings), the collaboration is very smooth and constructive.

NORA contributes to reinforcing regional cooperation with a view to making the North Atlantic a strong and dynamic Nordic region, characterized by robust sustainable economic development. The organization’s initiatives include strengthening cooperation between the business sector and research and development bodies across national borders.

NORA is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers with supplementary contributions from the four participating countries. The main NORA secretariat is located in Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands, while four contact persons are available in Greenland, Iceland, West Norway and North Norway. The co-operation between 1 country (Iceland), 2 self-governed nations under the Danish reign (Faroe Islands and Greenland) and 9  regions within a nation (Norway) is working against all possible political odds very well, with the mentality and situation of the people being very similar.

NORA offers project funding opportunities to concrete cooperation projects involving partners from at least two NORA countries. NORA as an organization is not a project partner, but can offer financial support if a project is deemed to contribute to achieving the aims described in NORA’s Strategic Program. There is a general focus on strengthening cooperation between business and industry actors in the four countries in the NORA region.

NORA receives funding applications twice a year.

One of their recent projects is about the Digital Nomads program stretching over Iceland, Greenland, Norway and the Faroe Islands – we have published an article about the initiative in the “Vágur – village with a vision” series Part III.

The project leader in Digital Nomads is the Blue Bank project in Thingeyri in Iceland

A second example for the sustainable focus and the creativity involved was a MacroBiotech project – with the main partner Ocean Rainforest. (across Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland).

The project has established a full-scale plant to document the technical and commercial opportunities for seaweed farming in the North Atlantic. It also develops harvesting methods that will help ensure high quality of the finished products. In addition, the project analyzes the content of the seaweeds, with a view to optimal utilization within e.g. food production, energy production and other commercial products, such as fodder for fish.

Other projects funded by NORA and related to Sustainable Business Development are: 

a)      The Development of Agricultural Cluster Collaboration across all partners through sustainable tourism (between Norway, FI, Iceland and Greenland)

The Faroese Agricultural Agency Búnaðarstovan is the main project partner. The project looks into an adequate combination of agricultural clusters and tourism projects. The purpose is to develop and test models for sustainable development of local clusters in the North Atlantic, which are partly characterized by being geographically far away from knowledge resources and having a limited number of companies in the same industry segment and / or value chain. A flexible model is developed for growth of the clusters and collaboration between local / regional clusters and at the same time ensure a lasting cluster effort across the North Atlantic. The model must be adaptable by burgeoning cluster initiatives in other areas of the North Atlantic and in other fields.

b)     Native Breed (of horses) Tourism (between FI, Iceland and Norway)

Main Partner is the College of Agriculture and Rural Industries Norwa. Horse tourism is a popular niche in the tourism industry, especially in Iceland where they have been skilled at using their national horse breed as an asset. Based on the Icelandic experience of riding the horses in their original surroundings this project is developed for the rest of the North Atlantic region. At the same time, the project focuses on the preservation of the national horse breeds: the Icelandic horse, the Norwegian fjord horse and the particularly endangered Faroe horse – with a total number of less than a hundred animals at this time.

Despite labeled as “Horse Tourism” the Faroese horse program can be a great part of any event or conference related to a matching topic. Single horses can be adopted in future and thus visitors can support the project and the revival of this breed, which is at #5 of endangered species list. With money from horse-riding programs, the farmers are helped to keep the horses and hence the breed alive.

The NORA project language usually is Danish or Norwegian. English is only used when other partners are involved, like in the Economuseum project, which includes Canada as partner. The project aims to establish a North Atlantic network of Economuseum companies for value creation, tourism and cultural experiences, as well as to provide a basis for skills enhancement, exchange of experience, market cooperation and profiling of Traditional Fish and other craft products from the North Atlantic. Economuseum is a Canadian concept for smaller (food) producers who, by opening to visitors, create a variety of open workshops. It is a sustainable attraction for visitors and focuses on traditionally based crafts.

The Economuseum is also a project under the Northern Periphery and from this several other projects have risen. All focusing on local crafsmanship and artisan production in remote areas.


More about knowledge clusters on the LinkedIn company profile of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings and on www.tmf-dialogue.net