Iceland assumes presidency of NCM

Friday, 01 October 2010

Iceland assumed the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers on 1 January 2009. The Presidency rotates between the five member states and an annual programme for co-operation is published. Iceland intends to focus on safety at sea in the North Atlantic and, in these times of crisis, on the Nordic welfare model.


Iceland published its programme for the 2009 Presidency at the Session of the Nordic Council in October.In addition to shipping and welfare, the red thread is far closer co-operation on research and innovation, especially in the climate, energy and environment sectors.

The Icelandic Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Björgvin Sigurðsson, says that his country's priorities reflect the major ambitions outlined in the Nordic prime ministers' globalisation initiative.The prime ministers have initiated fourteen globalisation projects so far, including closer co-ordination in the run-up to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen later this year.

"One of the most important tasks we face is to draw attention to Nordic know-how in the fields of environmental technology and renewable energy - know-how that will help counteract climate change," Sigurðsson says.

"Iceland also prioritises a co-ordinated approach to the protection of marine ecosystems and attaches great importance to the Nordic Region establishing a contingency plan for environmental disasters in the North Atlantic similar to the system already in place for the Baltic Sea," he adds.

Iceland has taken the initiative for a series of co-operation projects during the Presidency, including:

  • a risk map for the North Atlantic, which will pave the way for a joint contingency plan for coping with environmental disasters
  • multisectoral co-operation to boost entrepreneurial culture at all levels of the education system
  • efforts to improve cultural and linguistic understanding between the Nordic countries.

The programme (The Nordic Road Map) has four sub-themes: Driving Force, Strengths, The Climate Challenge and A Globalised Region - see


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