STOCKHOLM, 31 October 2019 – Nordic approaches to issues on the OSCE agenda, including human rights and environmental concerns, have been underlined by a high-level Parliamentary Assembly delegation at the 2019 Meeting of the Nordic Council.
OSCE PA Vice-President Margareta Cederfelt (MP, Sweden) and Special Representative on Arctic Issues Torill Eidsheim (MP, Norway) are representing the OSCE PA at the meeting taking place at the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament, in Stockholm on 29-31 October.
In her address to the plenary session, Vice-President Cederfelt highlighted the many areas of common interest between the OSCE PA and the Nordic Council and praised the efforts of Nordic countries on important international issues. “We highly welcome the Nordic leadership on key topics such as the promotion of human rights, of gender equality and the protection of the environment; their best practices serve as an example for us to take and bring on our wider international forum comprising 57 countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” Cederfelt said.
Attention also focused on the increased engagement of the OSCE PA on the Arctic, especially with the appointment in May 2019 of a Special Representative on Arctic Issues, which followed a visit of the President and the economic and environmental committee’s leadership to the Svalbard Islands. Special Representative Eidsheim reiterated that addressing the environmental dimension and the climate crisis of the Arctic is the main priority for the region.
“As the ‘refrigerator of the world,’ what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. We need international focus on climate change and need to turn awareness into action, including by legislative means in our own countries,” Eidsheim said.
She added however that hopelessness is not the answer. “While it is true that we need more action, and that we need it quickly, we also have to re-build trust in institutions and individuate an all-of-society approach to promote effective policies to mitigate the effects of climate change on society,” she said. To this end, she held a productive bilateral meeting with representatives of the Nordic Sustainable Development Committee, exchanging views on the needed action in the international arena and discussing the role of parliamentarians.
All Nordic Council Members are also part of the OSCE and the presence of the PA Delegation was aimed at underlining the importance that the Assembly attaches to its Northern region and to its challenges and building synergy between the two organizations.
On the margins of the Council, the OSCE PA delegation held productive exchange of views with the Swedish Nordic Council President in office Hans Wallmark (Sweden) and with the incoming President Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir (Iceland), agreeing on enhancing the exchange of information between the two organizations and on providing inputs to each other’s work.