Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC)
Northern Dimension (ND) is a joint policy between the European Union, the Russian Federation, Norway and Iceland. The ND works through four Partnerships focusing on transport and logistics, environment, culture, and health and social wellbeing. The Northern Dimension Institute, the Northern Dimension Business Council and the Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum complement the cooperation and increase awareness of the ND within the wider society. Regional Councils, such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Arctic Councils and the Nordic Council of Ministers are active participants in the implementation of the Northern Dimension Policy. In addition to governments, universities, research institutes and the business community also participate in the ND cooperation.
The ND partnerships vary greatly. However, all of them aim to combine policies, expert work and practical-level project work. Because of their diverse working methods, they have proved to be viable for concrete cooperation.
The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC) was established in May 2010. The Partnership promotes the creation of economically viable cultural activities and exchange of information on cooperation and financing opportunities. The NDPC is an initiative focusing at improvement of operating conditions for cultural and creative industries by bridging the gap between public and private funding, strengthening cooperation between the cultural and creative industries operators and the business community throughout the entire Northern Dimension area.
To meet the aims of the NDPC the Action Plan has been developed, covering measures to support the role of the Partnership as a focal point, a limited number of priority projects focusing on activities promoting cooperation between the cultural and creative industries and other sectors of businesses and entrepreneurs. Cultural production and culture-based services and innovations should be used to promote Northern Europe and its culture for the people in the region and for wider international consumers and thus contribute to social development and economic growth.
Geographically the ND covers Northwest Russia, the Baltic Sea region and the European Arctic areas, including the Barents region. The Northern Dimension policies seek to strengthen stability, well-being and sustainable development in the region by means of practical cooperation.
The NDPC has a Steering Committee with national ministerial representatives from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. The EU has also its own representative at the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is focusing on the development of the conditions for cultural and creative industries in the NDPC member countries and in the EU. Specific attention is given to the fact that cultural and creative industries defy the traditional division into administrative sectors and call upon a cross- sectorial cooperation both on a national and an international level as they involve various policy sectors.
The Northern Dimension (ND) countries have various national development programs and policies and one important issue for the NDPC is to make the ND countries aware of the development in other ND countries in order to avoid policies that could obstruct multilateral cooperation for the cultural and creative industries.
Considering the political and administrative level, one of the major achievements since 2013 is that the NDPC member countries reached an agreement on the so-called Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) stipulating the permanent location of the Secretariat for the Partnership. The Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Riga will remain the permanent location of the Secretariat of the Partnership. For practical reasons this is a very important result of the NDPC Steering Group endeavors. The agreement will secure a financially stable and fully operational framework for the work of the NDPC. Although the LBA still requires internal approval within each signatory country, a big step forward has been made.
Apart from the formal aspects of cooperation, the NDPC has also made significant progress in terms of supporting the creative sector operators. The NDPC has adopted long term strategy, which defines three main areas of cooperation: policies and studies, knowledge sharing and good practices dissemination activities, as well as project support. As to supporting projects, the NDPC has continued granting program for the creative sector operators. 12 cooperation platforms received support within the first round of the Cultural and Creative Industries Platform.
In addition, the NDPC has arranged six international Cultural Forums. The Cultural Forums have gathered professionals from the cultural and creative industries, funding organizations, academia, civil servants and representatives for the Regional Councils in Northern Europe. The objective for the Cultural Forums was to provide information on the NDPC goals and the international policy development for cultural and creative industries.
Funding of the Northern Dimension. EU-funding earmarked to projects carried out under ND partnerships creates stability and continuity in the ND cooperation. ND cooperation is based on the principle of co-financing. Funding is provided not only by the participating states but also via the EU's funding instruments and programmes and International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The budget of the NDPC comprises of national contributions 10 000 – 20 000 euros/country and the EU funding resulting in total of ca 250 000 euros per year.
In 2015 the NDPC has commissioned the Northern Dimension Institute a study titled Trends and Challenges in Culture and Creative Industries Policy Development in the ND Area. A more cross-sectorial direction for the NDPC activities was recommended as one of the outcomes of the study. The recommendation has also been included in the NDPC work plan for 2016.