The Smart Regions Group (SRG) met in Sandnes, Rogaland (NO), on the 1-2 November for a meeting that primarily focused on solutions to demographic challenges and was chaired by Cllr. Barney Crockett, Aberdeen City (UK).

During the first day presentations were held on examples of different kinds of demographic challenges in the Southwestern parts of Norway. Rune Thorkildsen Slettebakk, specialist adviser at Rogaland County Council, gave a presentation on the challenges of centralization where young people often move from the countryside to bigger cities, resulting in de-populated areas. This was followed by a discussion where the group shared experiences from the own regions.

Presentations on elderly care

Later on there were two presentations that focused on good examples of elderly care starting with the “Tubbe model” from Tjörn municipality, Västra Götaland (SE). Lilian Bolin, Director of Elderly Care, informed about their example where everything is decided from the patients view, making sure that they feel included in the planned activities, hiring of new staff, shopping etc. This is to ensure that the patient is engaged and active. The other example came from Aalborg commune, Nordjylland (DK), on the “Framtidens plejehjem”, which means elderly people’ homes of future. Cllr. Otto-Kjaer Larsen gave an overview of the technically advanced solutions that aim to help the patient to be as independent as possible.

Ongoing strategy process

At the end of the first day Irma Ganibegovic, Assistant Executive Secretary of the CPMR North Sea Commission, informed the members of the ongoing process to develop a post 2020 North Sea Region strategy, encouraging the members to give be active and engaged.

Youth Parliament presentation

The second day began with an inspiring presentation by Sander Olsen, Chair of the Youth Parliament of Rogaland County Council, on the importance of engaging young people. The Youth Council’s purpose is to express young people’s opinions in important matters to politicians, ensuring that the political decisions taken in the county council reflect the young. The SRG has initiated to arrange a North Sea Commission Youth Parliament in Rogaland during the Spring of 2019, inviting two young delegates from all our member regions. More information about this will follow.

Sander Olsen. Photo by: Smart Regions Group

SRG’s key areas

The rest of the day focused on the SRG’s different key action areas, such as a presentation on tourism development in the Danish North Sea Coast by Karsten Baekgard, Midtjylland (DK), and a presentation on circular economy and the sustainable management of construction and demolition waste in Rogaland, by Maryon Paulsen Strugstad. The final presentation was and update on the Nordic Culture Camp by Karen Greve Somerset, Nordjylland (DK).

The SRG ended the meeting with a visit to Vågen, an upper secondary school in Sandnes.

Vågen. Photo by: Smart Regions Group

For more information