Intertraffic assesses the Smart Regions Working Group - North Sea Region’s 2030 strategy, with particular focus on sustainable transport and mobility
North Sea regions have similarities in business structures linked to the sea and the coast and a potential for exchanging experiences and practices based on their smart specialisation strategies (S3).
The Smart Regions Group (SRG) is working to strengthen the capacity of the NSC (North Sea Commission) member regions to use S3 as a tool and coordinate resources across regions, based on regional priorities and innovation systems, as well as encourage the development of new co-operation projects, especially those of particular interest to Intertraffic readers, in the areas of new and innovative industries based on marine resources, sustainable energy, sustainable tourism, circular economy and digitalisation.
Well-developed S3 are even more important to access funding in the EU funding period 2021-2027. Through the work of the Smart Regions Group, regions are able to connect by mapping S3 structures and exchanging best practices, thus helping them to make use of EU funding instruments and increasing the competitiveness of the North Sea Region.
Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3)
Goal of S3 2030:
- Economic diversification ensures viable jobs in all parts of the region.
- New and innovative industries based on marine resources, sustainable energy, sustainable tourism, circular economy and digitalisation.
Goals of the SRG 2030
Goals 2030 of the Smart Regions Group include:
- Up- and re-skilling workforce: The Smart Regions Group are particularly focussing on co-operation agreements and how regions can use mobility projects from European funding sources for up-and re-skilling of the workforce.
- Circular economy: Growth in the North Sea Region must be based on sustainable resource use and on circular economy principles. This includes the re-use of construction waste, development of new products based on waste from existing production, development of maintenance and replacement services and products. The Smart Regions Group is leading on this work in close co-operation with the other NSC working groups.
The Smart Regions Group are particularly focussing on co-operation agreements and how regions can use mobility projects from European funding sources for up-and re-skilling of the workforce
The Smart Regions Group members include both politicians and officers who work in close cooperation with the other North Sea Commission working groups. Key positions are:
Chair: Cllr. Beate Johnsen, Agder (Norway)
Vice-chair: Cllr. Birgitta Adolfsson, Västra Götaland (Sweden)
Vice-chair: Cllr. Philip Bell, Aberdeen City Council (UK)
Nina Knoll, Executive Secretary of the North Sea Commission:
Johan Scholte, Assistant Executive Secretary of the North Sea Commission
Smart Regions Working Group – CPMR North Sea Commission
The CPMR North Sea Commission
One of the six geographical commissions of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), the North Sea Commission (NSC) is a cooperation platform for regions around the North Sea. The NSC’s mission is to strengthen partnerships between regional authorities that face the challenges and opportunities presented by the North Sea. Through dialogue and formal partnerships, the NSC seek to promote common interests, especially in relation to European Union institutions, national governments and other organisations dealing with issues that are relevant to the North Sea.
The main objectives of the North Sea Commission are:
- To promote and create awareness of the North Sea region as a major economic entity within Europe.
- To be a platform for developing and obtaining funding for joint development initiatives.
- To lobby for a better North Sea region.
Cooperation focuses on four priority areas and involves policy development and political lobbying, development of transnational projects and exchange of knowledge and best practice, in the areas of:
- A Productive & Sustainable North Sea;
- A Climate Neutral North Sea Region;
- A Connected North Sea;
- A Smart North Sea.
The Regions have six Commissions, namely the Atlantic Arc, Balkan and Black Seas, Baltic Sea, InterMediterranean, Islands and the North Sea.
The NSC has several Working Groups. Of particular interest is:
NSC Transport Working Group and its key topics:
Intelligent transport solutions
- A coherent regulatory framework related to intelligent transport solutions at the EU level has been adopted.
- Regional and local authorities have the capacity to handle and benefit from new transport solutions.
It is important to exploit the potential in new and innovative mobility concepts. It is equally important to take account of the fact that what may be the most appropriate solutions would vary between urban and rural areas. The Transport Group is therefore working to increase the capacity of regional and local authorities to benefit from the current developments towards increasing digitalisation and automation, such as by mapping innovative mobility solutions among NSC member regions, and to mitigate related risks and challenges. The Transport Group is working for a coherent European legal framework (e.g. in terms of liabilities and data protection) for automated transport solutions.
It is important to exploit the potential in new and innovative mobility concepts. It is equally important to take account of the fact that what may be the most appropriate solutions would vary between urban and rural areas
- The accessibility to markets, jobs and services is satisfactory for people and businesses.
- Good connections to the TEN-T core and comprehensive networks and improved conditions for maritime transport.
The TEN-T policy is key for promoting free circulation of goods, services and citizens throughout the EU and in the North Sea Region. The Transport Group is actively working to ensure that all parts of the North Sea Region, in particular peripheral areas in the Northern and Western part of the region, are sufficiently integrated in the TEN-T network. There is also a need to improve the conditions for maritime transport, and to integrate Motorways of the Sea (MoS) better in logistics chains.
The Transport Group compiles data and analysis on priority links and nodes, interacts with regional, national and EU-level decision-makers and provides policy positions and monitors the development of funding opportunities
To achieve this, the Transport Group compiles data and analysis on priority links and nodes, interacts with regional, national and EU-level decision-makers and provides policy positions and monitors the development of funding opportunities (including CEF - Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon Europe and Interreg). External cooperation and dialogue with inter- regional alliances at national or European level and business and industry associations, infrastructure managers and transport operators are also an important part of its work. The CEF is a European Union co-financing programme managed by the European Commission. It supports the deployment of high-quality, sustainable infrastructure in the transport, energy and digital sectors by encouraging both public and private investment.
Thanks to Margaret A Pettit, founder of CLEMATIS Consulting, for her contributions to this series of articles.