By the end of the conference, a workshop, consisting of the conference participants, set out to generate or distil ideas for further cooperation. The workshop resulted in the following five specific proposals for activities.

Proposal number 1: Creating Next Generation Stakeholders

Proposal number 2: Bottom-up: From Farmer to Minister

Proposal number 3: Preparing Regions and Sites for High-Intensity Tourism

Proposal number 4: The North Atlantic Region as a Leader in Working with Post-2020 Framework and Climate Change Agreements through UNESCO Sites

Proposal number 5: North Atlantic UNESCO Trail/Network and Identity - Connecting a Common Narrative across World Heritage, Geoparks, Biosphere, and Intangible World Heritage


Proposal number 1: Creating Next Generation Stakeholders

Elaboration: The idea behind this proposal is to focus on educating and engaging children and youth in the management and preservation of UNESCO sites. By involving the younger generation, the aim is to create a sense of ownership and cultivate future leaders who will actively contribute to place-based sustainable development.

The proposal suggests the following actions

  1. UNESCO Site/Park Site Manager working with youth: The site managers of UNESCO sites can take the lead in engaging young individuals and making them stakeholders in the management and preservation efforts. This can be achieved through various activities that promote their involvement and create a sense of ownership.
  2. Junior ranger programs: Establishing junior ranger programs can provide opportunities for young individuals to actively participate in the conservation and interpretation of UNESCO sites. These programs can offer hands-on experiences, educational activities, and mentorship from site managers and staff.
  3. Educational work for young children: Engage with children at an early age by developing educational programs specifically designed for kindergartens and schools. These programs can raise awareness about the importance of UNESCO sites, cultural heritage, and sustainable practices. Collaborate with educational institutions to integrate this content into their curricula.
  4. Activities for scouts: Involve scouting organizations in the region by organizing activities and initiatives related to UNESCO sites. This can include outdoor exploration, environmental education, and community engagement projects, fostering a sense of responsibility towards these sites.

Next step

The proposal suggests submitting a NORA project application to further develop and implement these ideas. By securing project funding and support from NORA, the initiative can gain momentum and reach a wider audience. Additionally, collaboration with other Parks and Sites within the NORA region can strengthen the impact and exchange of best practices.

Considering the NORA areas: Given the 27 national parks, 9 UNESCO sites, 5 Geoparks, 6 regional parks, and 1 biosphere in the NORA region, these areas provide a diverse range of natural and cultural heritage. The proposal encourages leveraging these existing protected areas to develop educational programs and activities that involve children and youth in the region's sustainable development.

By implementing this proposal, the NORA region can nurture a new generation of stakeholders who are passionate about UNESCO sites and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to contribute to their preservation and sustainable management.

Proposal number 2: Bottom-up: From Farmer to Minister

Elaboration: The proposal aims to promote a partnership program that encourages local involvement and stakeholder consensus in the management and decision-making processes of UNESCO sites. It highlights the importance of bottom-up approaches, where the voices of various stakeholders, from local farmers to national politicians, are heard and integrated into the management of these sites.

The recommendation suggests the following actions

  1. Partnership program: Establish a structured partnership program that brings together different stakeholders, including local communities, youth, local politicians, and national politicians. This program should create a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and decision-making that includes diverse perspectives and promotes shared ownership of the UNESCO sites.
  2. Determining values and consensus: Engage stakeholders in determining the core values and objectives for the UNESCO sites. Through a two-stage partnership agreement, stakeholders can identify the values they want to include and discuss the specific actions and initiatives they wish to implement within the site. This process helps to build consensus and ensures that the interests and priorities of various stakeholders are considered.
  3. Local trust and sense of community: Recognize the importance of local trust and a sense of community in the successful management of UNESCO sites. Highlight the unique context of Greenland and other places where a strong sense of community already exists, while also addressing the need to foster similar community connections in other regions, such as Denmark. Encourage open dialogue and engagement activities to build trust and strengthen community ties.
  4. Parks and Sites as integration actors: Empower UNESCO Parks and Sites to take the lead in facilitating partnerships and acting as integration actors between various stakeholders. Recognize that the people within these sites are at the core of their value and emphasize their active involvement in decision-making processes. Promote democratic processes that ensure transparency, inclusivity, and accountability.

Next steps

The proposal suggests studying case examples from UNESCO areas to gather insights and best practices in implementing bottom-up approaches. Additionally, it recommends UNESCO working closely with other aspects, such as cultural heritage, to foster networking and collaboration among relevant stakeholders.


Highlight the importance of democratic processes within the partnership program, ensuring that decision-making is transparent, participatory, and representative of the diverse interests of stakeholders. Foster networking opportunities among individuals working with cultural heritage to strengthen connections and promote knowledge exchange.

By implementing this proposal, the UNESCO sites in the NORA region can create a sense of shared ownership and collaboration among stakeholders. It emphasizes the bottom-up approach, enabling local communities and individuals to play an active role in shaping the management and future of the UNESCO sites, while also promoting democratic processes and networking among relevant stakeholders.

Proposal number 3: Preparing Regions and Sites for High-Intensity Tourism

Elaboration: The proposal focuses on preparing regions and sites for high-intensity tourism and recommends creating a network that addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with managing mass tourism. The goal is to develop bottom-up processes, establish partnerships, and learn from best practices to ensure sustainable development in the face of increasing visitor numbers.

The recommendation suggests the following actions

  1. Create a network on managing mass tourism: Establish a collaborative network that brings together sites, tourism authorities, heritage authorities, site managers, local authorities, and other relevant stakeholders. This network can facilitate knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices, and joint problem-solving to effectively manage high-intensity tourism.
  2. Conduct case studies and share best practices: Explore and document successful case studies, such as Thingvellir and Orkney, that have effectively managed high-intensity tourism. These case studies can serve as valuable sources of knowledge and inspiration for other sites facing similar challenges. Emphasize bottom-up processes and highlight how they can be applied in different contexts.
  3. Foster partnerships with local innovation/business centers: Collaborate with local innovation and business centers to leverage their expertise and resources in developing sustainable tourism strategies. Engage in partnerships that involve local businesses and entrepreneurs, creating opportunities for economic development while ensuring that projects are locally driven and aligned with community objectives.
  4. Promote cooperation between sites and protected areas: Encourage cooperation and collaboration among different UNESCO sites, including World Heritage Sites, Geoparks, and protected areas. Facilitate platforms for sharing experiences, knowledge, and resources. Look to existing models, such as the MAB (Man and the Biosphere) and Geopark initiatives, for inspiration on modern ways of working and integrating conservation, protection, and local business aspects.


  • Engage young people and build on identity and concrete content: Recognize the importance of involving young people in sustainable tourism initiatives. Emphasize the connection between cultural identity and tangible experiences to foster a sense of pride and ownership among youth. Develop educational programs and initiatives that promote sustainable practices and encourage young people to become future leaders in the field.


  • Conduct best-practice studies: Conduct in-depth studies on best practices in managing high-intensity tourism, including visitor management, infrastructure development, and communication strategies. Share these studies within the network and use them as a basis for informed decision-making and planning.
  • Establish community agreements on sustainable development: Facilitate discussions and agreements between the local community, site management, and stakeholders on sustainable development goals, strategies, and guidelines. Ensure that the voices of the local community are heard, and foster a sense of shared responsibility and commitment to preserving the site's integrity and the well-being of the community.
  • Empower site managers: Provide support, resources, and training to site managers to enhance their capacity to effectively manage high-intensity tourism. Empower them to make informed decisions, engage with stakeholders, and implement sustainable practices.

At a Nordic and national political level

  • Discussions on regulating mass tourism: Initiate discussions and dialogues at the Nordic and national political level on how to regulate and manage mass tourism. Explore policies and strategies that promote sustainable tourism practices, regenerative tourism approaches, and the balance between visitor experiences and environmental preservation.

By implementing these recommendations, the NORA region can proactively address the challenges of high-intensity tourism, foster collaboration among stakeholders, and promote sustainable development. The focus on bottom-up processes, partnerships, knowledge sharing, and regulation ensures that the impacts of tourism are managed effectively while benefiting local communities and preserving the cultural and natural heritage of the region.


Proposal number 4: The North Atlantic Region as a Leader in Working with Post-2020 Framework and Climate Change Agreements through UNESCO Sites

Elaboration: The proposal aims to position the North Atlantic region as a global leader in implementing the post-2020 framework and climate change agreements through UNESCO sites. It highlights the existing efforts of site managers and local communities in addressing climate issues and biodiversity, while acknowledging the need for accessible information and tools to further enhance their work.

The recommendation suggests the following actions

  1. Raise public awareness and bridge generational gaps: Governments, particularly the ministries of environment, culture, and education, should take action to raise public awareness about the content of global agreements, such as the post-2020 framework and climate change agreements. There is a need to educate and inform the general public, including young people, about the targets outlined in these agreements and how they can be achieved through the efforts of the entire society. Bridging the gap between generations and integrating old and new traditions is important for fostering understanding, respect for management rules, and effective cooperation between site managers and local communities.
  2. Embed global targets and SDGs into UNESCO sites: From the establishment of a UNESCO site, there should be a deliberate effort to integrate site management with the global targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This integration ensures that site managers and local communities align their actions and practices with the goals outlined in the global agreements.
  3. Mapping the Nordic region's position and working together: The Nordic Council of Ministers can play a leading role by establishing a "Nordic Hub" or a network of cooperation focused on global agreements and UN-related targets. This hub would facilitate knowledge sharing, cooperation, and coordination among governments, municipalities, managers, local communities, businesses, and schools. By leveraging the similarities in climate, vegetation, administration, and societal values within the Nordic region, common challenges related to climate change and biodiversity can be tackled collectively.

Next steps

  • Educate, promote, and provide finance: Governments, stakeholders, and communities should be encouraged to respond to global agreements by implementing everyday measures that contribute to their targets. Education and promotion initiatives should be undertaken to ensure a widespread understanding of these issues. Governments can provide financial support and incentives to areas and stakeholders that actively work towards fulfilling the targets outlined in the global agreements.
  • Address challenges and leverage strengths: Identify the challenges faced by site managers and local communities, including the division between old and new traditions, funding and resource limitations, expensive infrastructure, differing mindsets, lack of staff, and inadequate education. Develop strategies to address these challenges, such as capacity-building programs, resource-sharing initiatives, and targeted education campaigns. Additionally, assess the strengths of the Nordic region, such as the existing efforts of conference presenters in addressing biodiversity and climate change, and leverage these strengths to support collaboration and the exchange of best practices.

By implementing this proposal, the North Atlantic region can take a leadership role in effectively implementing the post-2020 framework and climate change agreements through UNESCO sites. The focus on public awareness, bridging generational gaps, embedding global targets, and establishing a network of cooperation will facilitate a coordinated and impactful approach towards addressing climate change and biodiversity challenges in the region.


Proposal number 5: North Atlantic UNESCO Trail/Network and Identity - Connecting a Common Narrative across World Heritage, Geoparks, Biosphere, and Intangible World Heritage

Elaboration: The proposal focuses on establishing a North Atlantic UNESCO Trail/Network that connects the UNESCO sites and communities in the North Atlantic region. It aims to create a shared narrative, strengthen cultural and heritage values, and promote sustainable development opportunities. The proposal also includes the establishment of a focus group on cruise tourism and the development of a digital and physical trail that reflects shared histories and promotes sustainable practices.

Key areas of discussion: During the workshop, several key areas were identified, including the importance of values associated with communities and places, the need to educate visitors about the significance of UNESCO sites and the relationship between people and place, and the challenges and opportunities presented by cruise tourism. The discussions also emphasized the value of connecting sites through research, innovation, and student projects, as well as the shared history and trading links between the regions.

Idea/recommendation: The proposal consists of three main ideas.

IDEA 1: Establish a NORA North Atlantic Culture and Heritage Network

This network will serve as a platform for communities to maximize opportunities for sustainable development, with a specific focus on UNESCO sites. The network will represent shared values and involve core members from NORA regions, as well as "cousins" and "friends" from other regions/countries with shared heritage. The network will be led by NORA or rotate between NORA members. Funding and support for the network can be obtained from various sources, including local authorities, governments, funding agencies, businesses, and community groups.

Next steps for IDEA 1

  • Identify a coalition of willing participants to develop a proposal and address specific challenges within a set timeframe.
  • Agree on shared values and narratives to connect the network.
  • Host a session at the Arctic Circle Assembly to initiate the network, identify priority areas, and engage stakeholders.
  • Approach potential funders to secure financial support for the network.
  • Deliver key projects and lobby for a revenue fund to enhance collaboration between the public sector, communities, and businesses aligned with the Nordic Council's vision.

IDEA 2: Create a Digital and Physical Trail/Network

This idea involves establishing a digital and physical trail/network across the North Atlantic that connects UNESCO sites and communities. The trail will reflect shared histories, focusing on culture, heritage, storytelling, slow adventure, social innovation, entrepreneurship, and nature-based solutions. The trail will enable visitors and the younger generation to experience and understand the shared heritage and values of the region.

Next steps for IDEA 2

  • Utilize the NORA Culture and Heritage Network to develop the concept of a joint trail and define the target audience.
  • Assess digital technology capabilities and develop a proposal for a digital trail connecting NORA regions and beyond.
  • Develop an education program aligned with the trail to provide learning opportunities about cultures and sustainable business opportunities in UNESCO sites. Include entrepreneurship programs to support the transition to a carbon-free, circular economy with a focus on social innovation and nature-based solutions.
  • Host a session at the Arctic Circle Assembly to map out trails and agree on points of connection.

IDEA 3: Establish a Focus Group on Cruise Tourism

Recognizing the challenges and opportunities presented by cruise tourism, this idea proposes the establishment of a focus group to identify shared challenges, manage cruise tourism effectively, and influence policies and practices in the North Atlantic region.

Next steps for IDEA 3

  • Establish a resource to facilitate focus group sessions on cruise tourism in the North.
  • Develop case studies for each region to gain insights and develop strategies to manage and respond to cruise tourism effectively.

By implementing these proposals, the North Atlantic region can foster stronger connections between UNESCO sites