Agder After the Pandemic

Agder County in Norway

We Have to Cooperate to Find a Way Forward

The challenge of the corona pandemic is to implement a massive global response to address international health. This article has a more limited focus. It addresses the consequences of the pandemic, the short terms ones (that we partly know), and the longer term ones (that we do not know),  and how to realize the good society of the future in Agder county in southern Norway (Note 1; see also map and Note 10).

There are any number of views and predictions as to what will or could happen – or should happen – as life gradually returns to normal. We already have to deal with unemployment, bankruptcies, decreasing trade, lower demand, and a weakened national economy. At the individual level there are reports on isolation and loneliness due to unemployment, layoffs, working from home, and home schooling. Social unrest has been mentioned as a possibility. We see an increasing emphasis on the state as a regulating and protective factor. Globalization activities have fallen sharply. In addition to these more or less dramatic scenarios there are also more moderate points of view. They often state that the post-pandemic situation will be more or less normal, only a little worse. Myself, I tend to side with the latter positions.

At the same time, we have to distinguish between the situation in Norway, and countries in Western Europe, on the one hand, and developing and transition countries, on the other hand. In several of the latter countries, life will likely not return to a normal situation, with a possible dramatic increase in poverty, and the implications that follows from this. Economic development in many countries will slow down, and maybe even grind to a halt, and it will be more difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There have been some decidedly positive, if largely unexpected, effects of the pandemic that deserve to be mentioned. These are largely found in the areas of environmental protection and health. Among them are benefits as regards biodiversity protection and decrease in air pollution and carbon dioxide emission.

As a social scientist I am specifically concerned with relations between people, and between citizens and the state. What does the pandemic do to the glue that holds complex societies together, for example, attitudes, morale, social values, and, not the least, the fundamental trust to family members, to friends, to colleagues, and to the state?

All of the above notwithstanding, what will happen is largely unknown. We, the citizens, are passive, we are waiting. For what? This is not clear, maybe for "someone" to take an initiative? Who or what this "someone" is, is not clear. Is it the state, the county, or the communes? The private sector will maybe take own initiatives. This passive stance in civil society, and largely also in the public sector, is of course the wrong way to address the situation. We can all contribute to what should happen, both on the short and the longer term.

I notice the changes in my own area of work, which is development cooperation. I work among others with projects in several countries in Eastern Europe that receive funding from the EEA and Norway Grants. Conferences and workshops are being postponed, while projects proposals are revised or face an uncertain future. This, in turn, have implications for traveling, and contribute to among others airline carriers and hotels having major economic problems. Further, it has implications throughout the value chain. It is fascinating how we suddenly understand how everything is connected to everything else, and that we are all dependent upon each other to a degree we did not know possible. Regional, national, and international developments impact the local level, and vice versa. Who would have thought that bicycle repair shops in Kristiansand suddenly would get more work than they could handle, or that a firm that offers services in videoconferencing suddenly would attain a market value higher than all airline carriers in the United States?

Agder – including public sector, civil society, and private sector – is integrated in and dependent upon what happens elsewhere, nationally and especially internationally. The public sector collaborates with public sector in Norway and in other countries. NGOs and organizations in civil society are involved in development cooperation, and people go on vacation. Tourism is important, meaning foreigners as well as Norwegians who vacation in Agder. The private sector imports goods and parts and exports finished products, and is more dependent on the international situation than the other sectors. The petroleum sector, together with the connected supply industry, is in an uncertain position (Mork 2020).

There appears to be two different strategies as to how to address the crisis:  

  1. The government and its supporters in the political domain, together with the private sector, argue that the goal is to return to the situation prior to the pandemic. The government recently negotiated a financial package to the petroleum sector and the supply industry that appears to accommodate this. It includes actions that will reduce CO2 emissions. Further, the Storting (Parliament) will shortly grant several billions of kroner aimed at so-called green restructuring of the private sector. However, the hope that the economic crisis following the corona pandemic as well as reduction in the price for oil would lead to a green restructuring does not seem to happen. This may actually increase the possibility that the green restructuring will come later than otherwise. A majority at the Storting appears to want to reduce the implications of the current crisis, and return society to the situation prior to the pandemic, in other words, status quo. 
  2. Political parties to the left of centre, together with among others environmental organizations, argue that it will not be possible to return to the situation prior to the pandemic, and that this in any case should not be a goal. The pandemic has changed the premises for how to plan for the future fundamentally. Their strategy is accordingly that this represents a unique opportunity to reconsider our future, including as regards the petroleum industry and energy production, in order to realize the so-called "green shift" and through this reach a low-carbon economy sooner.

An important consideration concerns digitization. Working from home, as I too do, is increasing. Information technology, streaming, and artificial intelligence have become important. The social and administrative aspects of working from home are formidable, and will only increase. The possibilities that digitization represents is the driving force behind this change. This alone will change work life fundamentally, in public sector and in private sector, as well as in civil society.

Instead of just passively waiting for something to happen, on "someone" to take initiatives, we should take decisive action ourselves. And we should cooperate with stakeholders in public sector and civil society. Only in this way will we be able to realize our plans and dreams. Some among us have begun to talk together. But this has so far largely been restricted to informal talks in lunchrooms, and via phone and email. Voluntary work has seen a renaissance. We need voluntary work where people cooperate in a more structured way as regards what to do, by whom, in cooperation with whom, and when, in order to reach specific goals. I am specifically concerned with Agder's international relations, broadly understood. I discussed the term "internationalization" in two articles in Fædrelandsvennen (12 September 2016 and 21 January 2019), partly in connection with "Agderkonferansen" (Note 2). This term is used primarily in economics and in the private sector. A more correct term is "globalization" (Note 3). 

An important implication of the pandemic is that we isolate ourselves, at individual, regional, and national levels. We view globalization as dangerous, as something to be distrusted. This is not correct, and such views need to be countered. We do not need protectionism. We need multilateralism. We are all dependent upon each other. We need more and not less globalization.

We have to discuss the future and how to realize it, including values, goals, and means, and we have to do it now. Why? Because a positive outcome will be more likely when all stakeholders take part. Further, because the longer we wait the fewer options or alternatives will be available to choose between.

We need to implement a broad process with these purposes. How? Agder county, together with key regional and national stakeholders in the public and private sectors, organized the first Agdermøtet in January 2020. This is a type of arrangement and form of network building that could work for discussing Agder after the pandemic, that is, if participation opens up to include also civil society. This, and other likeminded events should be understood as the initial activities in a longer process. Working groups, composed of representatives of all three sectors, should be organized at the levels of communes and the county. Social media should be involved. The overall process should be managed by Agder county. 

The whole idea with an open and inclusive process is that we all will be able to contribute to realize a development and a future that we can identify with, and accordingly accept.

Different Stakeholders - Different Priorities and Goals

Civil Society

Several civil society organizations in Agder have overlapping goals and activities with the initiative that is presented here. This applies to, among others, these organizations (Note 4):

  1. Framtiden i våre hender (Future in Our Hands). Works for global justice, ecological balance, and solving the world's poverty.
  2. Grønt senter (Green Center). Focuses on how to create a greener and more sustainable society. Managed by Klimaalliansen (see below), Kristiansand municipality, and Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn (see below).
  3. Klimaalliansen (Climate Alliance). Gives advice to firms and organisations that wants to learn about climate issues and the environment. Collaborates with Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn (see below).
  4. Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn (Environment Lighthouse). A national organization that gives advise to stakeholders in public and private sector that would like to certify their environmental work. Founded by Kristiansand municipality through the project "sustainable local communities".

Framtiden i våre hender, Grønt senter, Klimaalliansen, og Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn are examples of organizations that work primarily within civil society, or else uses it as a basis for their work. There are several similar organizations in Agder. They all do good work. Some among them collaborate, but for the most they do not collaborate. There are several reasons for this, including formal and financial reasons, together with the ever-recurring argument of lack of time. The NGO Forum Sør in Kristiansand is a good example of this. It was active during the 1990s and later, as a collaborative and coordinating network for organizations that worked internationally (Note 5). 

If civil society in Agder is serious about using the pandemic as a starting point for working towards the green shift and the low carbon society, collaboration and networking across areas of focus and work are necessary. We are stronger when we work together. We need strong and broad campaigns in order to realize the green shift. 

Public Sector

The public sector – including politicians and political parties – have to join in. Kristiansand municipality is active in several areas, including circular economy, climate, environment, the green shift, and social innovation, and it is involved in some of the activities mentioned above. The city's Business region is a GRESS Project under Interreg Europe, established in response to the pandemic. Its goal is to create employment and support a sustainable private sector. Furthermore, Kristiansand municipality is presently establishing a Center for Sustainability which will focus on the green shift, including realizing its climate- and environment goals. A new and interesting initiative is "Green New Deal", a proposed project by Kristiansand municipality. According to a preliminary project idea it will, among others, (a) protect and build local communities when it comes to extreme weather, (b) give priority to infrastructure that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and (c) realize a transport system based on renewable energy. Green New Deal will be implemented through a transparent and inclusive process that involve all groups and stakeholders, as available in the public sector, civil society, and the private sector. 

The state budget for 2021 may include funding for the climate. and industry project COR2-management (CSS, see below). 

In spite of these initiatives the public sector can, in general terms, be characterized by things take a long time, and that several considerations are at play, which oftentimes result in radical ideas becoming watered down if realized. The best way to involve the public sector may be to make a civil society campaign that is large enough and broad enough to be convincing, in order that what today is politically impossible eventually becomes politically unavoidable. Media can play a very important role, among others through presenting and analyzing local activities, and through drawing comparisons with activities elsewhere in Norway and the world (Morgenbladet 2020).

The Private Sector

The emphasis that my article in Fædrelandsvennen on 20 April 2020 gave to Agdermøtet's potential role as a unifying arena to respond to the challenges we face has to be understood as an ideal claim. The private sector is hardly interested in implementing strategies that have as a goal moving from an petroleum-based economy to a radically different economy. Agdermøtet will hopefully be interested in discussing this, and the outcome of such deliberations will in any case be both interesting and useful.

Relevant industries, together with key research organizations, has worked on Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) since several decades. The technology is available, and ready to be deployed. This will make it possible for Norway to move in the direction of a low-carbon society.

There is an incipient understanding for thinking green and sustainable. A good example of this is that Kværner and Aker Solutions will merge (yet again), while a new company, Aker Horizons, with responsibility for offshore- and land-based wind energy as well as carbon capture, will be established. 

International Agreements and Realpolitikk

There is an important international connection to consider, one that has implications for public sector, civil society, and private sector. Norway has ratified a number of international agreements, often under the aegis of the United Nations, that regulate what can and ought to be done and not done on the international arena. These agreements have implications also for Agder. The likely most important agreement in the area of climate is the Paris Agreement, which Norway ratified on 14 June 2020. This agreement has important implications for the whole society. Changes in climate are local, but they are also global. Through the ratification of the Paris Agreement we all became climate activists. 

Thinking on the Short-term Versus on the Long Term

It is fundamental for us to plan. We plan what we will have for dinner today, which film to watch on TV tomorrow, what to do with the family the day after tomorrow, where to go for a hike on Sunday, whom to invite for a birthday party next week, whether to go fishing next month, what to do during the holidays, and so on. The longer the planning horizon is, the bigger the chance that we have to revise or cancel the plans. We are the masters of our plans – they are our plans, defined by constraints and incentives we know.

The pandemic has largely turned this planning logic on the head. We still make plans about the same daily more or less mundane chores. The big difference is that we now also have to take into consideration more complicated variables, for example, because we are laid off or have lost the job, because we work from home, because the kids cannot go to school, because we cannot travel abroad on vacation, and/or because our personal economy is not what it used to be. However, the fact that we to a lesser degree know the constraints that define the framework within which we live. We have less control over our lives. Who or what have such control is less than clear. In the final analysis it can be traced back to the economy, that is, the world economy. On this the predictions are many, and the answers few. It becomes more difficult to predict the future. It may seem that we are at the mercy of the economists and their models. There are already people who argue that the effects of the pandemic could last for decades. More short-term – and accordingly more reliable – estimates extend a couple of years into the future at the most. The International Monetary Fund publish World Economic Outlook several times yearly. The most recent one, published 24 June 2020, projects a deeper recession in 2020 and a slower recovery in 2021. Global output is projected to decline by 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the forecast in April 2020 (Note 6).

Given such macroconditions planning becomes more uncertain. We are at the mercy of something unknown operating at a level far above and removed from us. Nonetheless, it is exactly in this situation that we have to plan. Furthermore, planning within the existing political-economic realities, that is, the petroleum-based economy that Norway and Agder is an integrated part of, will not work given this uncertainty; less on the short term than on the longer term. In this situation it may make sense to plan outside of this macro-economic framework, without breaking with it. The green economy and the green shift are less a question of breaking with the existing economic system, than of reforming it. 

Communication Virtual and Direct

An important but less focused upon consequence of the pandemic is the increasing use of the Internet and social media, and videoconferences, that is, visual communication.

On the longer term the most destructive consequence of the pandemic may not be in global, national, and local economies, but in the relations between us. We stand to lose something important, namely personal contact. This, in turn, will impact the level of trust between us. And trust is a fundamental aspect of the relations between us that live in Agder, as in the rest of Norway.

Virtual communication can never replace traditional physical communication. We need to strike a balance, in order that we do not lose the direct interaction and communication.

The communication of the future must have as a goal to increase the role and influence of organized civil society, to build relations between the three societal sectors, and to increase transparency and democratization. This, in turn, will increase the trust between all stakeholders and citizens in the society, horizontally as well as vertically. Furthermore, it will make it possible for us to address another and bigger crises, namely the climate crisis. 

Crises and Institutional and Social Change

Outbreaks of infectious diseases have, in a historic perspective, been a catalyst for often large-scale changes in society, at all levels from local to global. Milton Friedman, probably the most influential economist in the 20th century, addressed this, admittedly from his own vantage point (Friedman 2020):

There is enormous inertia – a tyranny of the status quo – in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.

In using the term "alternatives to existing policies” Friedman meant enacting radical deregulation, privatization of national industries and public-sector programs, and deep cuts to the welfare state. I disagree with most of what Friedman argued. The above quote is, however, correct in pinpointing the historical role that crises can play in leading to change, and past crises have played an important role in reshaping and re-channelling societies and cultures. Crises make us see ourselves from the outside. They involve existential challenges. Crises represent in and of themselves a break with a past structures and rationales. They invite – actually they often force us – to rethink and redo. This applies certainly to the Corona pandemic that we are in the midst of. I refer again to Friedman: only a crisis produces real change.

There is today in Norway signs that what was earlier considered to be politically impossible is, or can become, possible. It is still not politically unavoidable, but is increasingly politically desirable. We are all participants in an ongoing societal experiment where normality is put on hold, and where anything is possible (Krastev 2020). 

Social and Institutional Innovation

What we need is innovation, less in technology and engineering, the traditional domain of innovation. We need innovation in the cultural and social domains, while technological and engineering innovation will follow naturally (Note 7). We need innovation in how to structure societies, how to define and organize relevant institutions, what we will work on and make a living from, how societies should produce food and surplus, how to devise suitable social relations, how public sector and private sector should relate to each other and, in turn, and how both sectors should relate to civil society. Above all, we need innovation in how to build social capital and identify and reinforce the values that guide our behaviour and relationship with others. I believe strongly that the locus of the type and form of innovation we need is available right among us, in the relations between the collective/groups and its constituent members, that is, in civil society.

EU's ninth framework program for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, can be a useful point of departure for realizing a process that can define and drive the type of innovation necessary. Horizon Europe begins in 2021, and its mandate is to address and solve goal-oriented societal issues through so-called "missions". A relevant priority in this connection would be adaptation to climate change, including societal changes. EU presented a plan in May 2020 aimed at how to start up again after the pandemic, which may have implications for the EEA-agreement, and through this Norway's focus on climate (Note 8).

A Proposal for How to Collaborate on Realizing the Future

Agder consists of people and groups that differ substantially from each other. This goes for, among others, age, education, goals, place of living, roles, value orientation, and work. We belong in one of more of the three societal sectors public sector, civil society, and private sector. We have different opinions of what a good life is, and how to realize it. More concretely, we all see different scenarios for how to: (a) define the future after the pandemic, and (b) realize these scenarios. The initiative that is presented here has an overall goal of engaging people in Agder in defining what is needed in order to realize the green shift, the lowcarbon society, and a circular economy. 

Given these differences it will be challenging to define common arenas to discuss the future Agder. This is less because of practical constraints that the pandemic presents us with as regards interaction, than because we relate to these issues in fundamentally different ways. However, this disagreement should not be understood as problematic. There will always be different scenarios, as regards both means and goals. Such a disagreement should be understood as fruitful. Conflict resolution is nothing but another form of constructive interaction. 

Several among us have gradually gained experience in communicating and collaborating through use of Internet and social media. We have learned new ways to work, together with principles for organizing and interaction. To the extent that we have communicated and interacted virtually this has been in addition to direct physical communication and interaction, while this now seems to be reversed. This experience can be put to good use now, in collaboration on how to build the future. 

Collective Interaction and Public Policy

The government, and the public sector more broadly, argues that we are all in this together, that we are dependent upon each other, and that we have to collaborate in order to reach specific goals. The government shows, however, little ability to initiate necessary interaction and agreement. A lot disappears in political discussions, and as elections oftentimes result in changed political realities in the Storting (Parliament), communes, and city councils, it means that practical policymaking can move in one direction, for later to move in another direction. To collaborate means so much more than appealing to people's conscience. It boils down to agreement over values and goals over time, independent of political constellations and the political flavour of the day. The term public policy is broad, and ideally implies that politicians and public sector employees base work on their (read: the society's) visions about what should be done, and turn these visions into decisions and actions. The term refers to core values for practical politics.

Collective interaction and public policy are connected through peoples' values, views, and needs, and in the final analysis though elections. This, in turn, determines a society's value set which becomes the point of departure for practical policies.

The starting point for collective interaction is that Norway as a society emphasize and protects what is common. These shared public goods, whether material or immaterial, are best protected with certain factors are present. Elinor Ostrom (1990; see also Olson 1965), the recipient of a Nobel prize in economics for her work on these issues, formulated a set of "design principles" (here partly adapted):

  1. A clear definition of what the citizens in Agder have in common, together with who has access to these public goods.
  2. Ensure that those utilizing these public goods are party to the decision-making processes that affect them. 
  3. Effective surveillance of those that are responsible for the decision-making processes.
  4. Graded sanctions for breaking the rules (clearly defined and based on mutual agreement). 
  5. Mechanisms for conflict resolution that are cheap and simple to use.
  6. For large corporations, several levels of nested groups down to the grassroots, to secure that the focus stays on what is common.

How to Build the Initiative

What is needed here is that people in civil society talks together and initiates action. An important goal is that representatives for civil society are directly involved in this work, especially those that are marginal relative to the official decision-making process. Important stages in this initiative will cover these issues:

  1. Invite persons and organizations to join an informal network. Appoint an informal leadership group consisting of representatives of the participants. 
  2. Define the context for the initiative. Some important considerations: (1) Identify key values, including transparency, inclusion, and cooperation, (b) Use Horizon Europe as an overarching organizing principle, and (c) Make a tentative time schedule.
  3. Create a website and a Facebook page. They will be the main channels for sharing information and communicating with interested parties. 
  4. Write a presentation about the initiative, which invites all who live in Agder to present their dreams, goals, priorities, visions, and wishes, together with suggestions for how they can contribute to realise them.
  5. All related initiatives are good and useful. An example is Agdermøtet, which can give important contributions to a common platform.
  6. Distribute all contributions via the website and Facebook. 
  7. Based on the contributions, make a draft platform that incorporates as many as possible of the contributions, while at the same time being balanced and concrete, and including priorities and goals on the short-term and longer-term. The draft is published on the website and is open for comments and discussions, after which it will be finalized.
  8. Post invitation on the website for people and organizations to sign the platform, indicating that they accept it.
  9. The platform, together with list of signatories, to be distributed via the website. Information to be sent to politicians and the administration in all communes in Agder, Agder county administration, as well as to relevant organizationsm in the private sector at local, regional and national levels, for discussion. 
  10. Develop a training program with focus on, among others, circular economy, communication, cooperation, financial inclusion, governance, participation, social inclusion, and social/institutional innovation. Resource persons in these areas to be identified, and invited to develop and teach courses.
  11. Prepare a project proposal to Horizon Europe with an emphasis on system-oriented innovation policy, that is, focus on system change or societal change. This will harmonize with EU's goal with "European Green Deal", as well as with Horizon Europe strategy documents where it is stated that a so-called "mission" approach should aim at systematic and transformative solutions that address behavioural changes, governance, investments, and technological as well as non-technological services (Kallerud 2020; Note 9).  

This outlined process will not necessarily produce documents, plans, and projects that will be acceptable to all. As the Norwegian author Ivar Aasen wrot: "Til lags åt alle kan ingen gjera; det er no gamalt og vil so vera" ("One cannot satisfy everybody, this is old knowledge, and will be so"). In this connection the continuation is at least as important: "Eg tykkjer stødt, at det høver best å hjelpa den, som det trenger mest" ("I find that the best approach is to help those in most need"). This is important because needs, together with possibilities and resources to contribute, will vary, on the short and longer term. Further, this process will have as a goal to cater to maximum needs for maximum inhabitants.

Also, the national level is important. The government contributes in various ways: (a) the support for green conversion in communes will increase, (b) Research on the low-emission society will increase, (c) Understanding for circular economy to be promoted, and (d) financial support for green conversion will be launched. The government proposes to fund a circular economy and better utilisation of resources (Note 10). 

Finally

We are in the middle of a crisis where seemingly most things are turned upside down. Accepted truths do not apply anymore. Old and proven values, ways of working, traditional interpersonal relationships, together with means and ways of communicating, all are largely left by the wayside. The future lies wide open ahead of us. We can think anew. We should use this opportunity, and accept the future as tabula rasa, and rethink who are, and how we want our common future to be. 

To succeed, we all – in public sector, civil society, and private sector – have to partner and collaborate. This is necessary in order to realize our common goals and dreams. Only in this way will we all come to accept whatever decisions are made on how to move forward in Agder, and, most importantly, learn to accept and live by these decisions.

Lars T Soeftestad


Notes
(1) The first part of this article is a revised version of my article "Agder etter pandemien" (Agder after the pandemic), published in the Norwegian regional daily newspaper Fædrelandsvennen on 30 April 2020. The text from the section "Different stakeholders different priorities and goals" was written for this Devblog article. The original article in Norwegian is available on Academia.edu (se Sources, websites). A Norwegian language version of the present article is at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/agder-etter-pandemien
(2) Agderkonferansen was an annual event organized by several local, regional, and national organizations in the public and private sectors. It has been replaced by "Agdermøtet", organized by: Agder County, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises Agder, Innovation Norway, Kristiansand Chamber of Commerce, Kristiansand Municipality, Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, and University of Agder. For more on Agderkonferansen, see Soeftestad (2019).
(3) Agderkonferansen, and presumably also Agdermøtet, appear to confuse the terms "internationalization" and "globalization", in that globalization is subsumed under internationalization. Agder's international relations are rather broader than internationalization that primarily focuses on economics and the private sector, and the correct term is accordingly globalization (for details, see Soeftestad 2018, Stiglitz 2002).
(4) The website addresses for these organazations are available in the Sources.
(5) Forum Sør (Forum South) is registered in the Norwegian Business Register as a non-governmental organization, and the domain name forumsor.no is likewise registered. I am the elected Chair in this organization that presently is not active.
(6) The figures are from a video conference that Gita Gopnath, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, held on 24 June 2020. URL: https://blogs.imf.org/2020/06/24/reopening-from-the-great-lockdown-uneven-and-uncertain-recovery/
(7) The relationship between technological innovation, on the one hand, and societal values and cultures, on the other hand, is today reversed. There is a large and growing cultural lag in societies' ability to adapt to technological development and change.
(8) According to this plan EU will use 750 billion euro in crisis aid. In addition, there is the long-term budget of 1000 billion euro. This could create complications for Norway. Since years that have been complaints about how the EEA agreement undermines national autonomy. If EU's plans are realized this autonomy stands to become further undermined. This may be especially pronounced in the case of the climate strategy, as large parts of the two financial packages will be targeted at climate activities. Should Norway seek to join this enormous green shift directed by EU, or go it alone? The answer will be decisive for what will happen in Agder. 
(9) See this Horizon Europe page for details: https://ec.europa.eu/info/horizon-europe-next-research-and-innovation-framework-programme/missions-horizon-europe_en
(10) The goal is a sustainable society based on green growth. According to the proposal 40 million kronerr will be used for research on circular economy, specifically resource effective waste management, and reduction of dangerous waste. Technological development and collaboration with the private sector will be central. Furthermore, the government proposes to support Leverandørutviklingsprogrammet LUP for development of circular solutions, and to Eyde-klyngen for mapping material flows in the process industry (Regjeringen 2020).
(11) Image credit: Wikipedia. The maps shows the location of Agder County in Norway.

(12) Relevant Devblog articles: "After the Pandemic - Rethink or Return to Normal? at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/after-pandemic-rethink-or-return-normal | "After the Pandemic - Rethink or Return to Normal" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/after-pandemic-rethink-or-return-normal | "Agder etter pandemien" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/agder-etter-pandemien | "Climate Change - What's Next?" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/climate-change-whats-next | "Klimaendringer - hva nå?" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/klimaendringer-hva-na | "Agderkonferansen og internasjonalisering" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/agderkonferansen-og-internasjonalisering | "Internationalization and Globalization" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/internationalization-and-globalization | "Sykling og European Mobility Week" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/sykling-og-european-mobility-week | "Bomstasjoner og bosetting" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/bomstasjoner-og-bosetting | "Agder og internasjonalisering" at: https://www.devblog.no/no/article/agder-og-internasjonalisering
(13) Other Devblog articles: "Networks and Networking" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/networks-and-networking | "Networks and Virtual Communication" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/networks-and-virtual-communication | "Our House is Falling Apart" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/our-house-falling-apart | "Business Sector and Sustainability" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/business-sector-and-sustainability | "Urban Cycling" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/urban-cycling | "Climate Change - Sink or Swim?" at: https://www.devblog.no/en/article/climate-change-sink-or-swim
(14) Permalink. URL: https://devblog.no/en/article/agder-after-pandemic
(15) This article was published 19 May 2020. It was revised 17 September 2020.

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Sources, Websites
Agder County. URL: https://agderfk.no/
Agderkonferansen. URL: http://www.agderkonferansen.no
Agdermøtet. URL: https://agdermøtet.no/
Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises. URL: https://www.nho.no/en/
EEA and Norway Grants. URL: https://eeagrants.org/
Future in Our Hands. URL: https://www.framtiden.no/
Fædrelandsvennen. URL: https://www.fvn.no/
Grønt senter. URL: https://www.grontsenter.no/
Innovasjon Norge. URL: https://www.innovasjonnorge.no/
Interreg Europe, Green Startup Support (GRESS). URL: https://www.interregeurope.eu/gress/
Klimaalliansen. URL: https://klimaalliansen.org/
Kristiansand municipality. URL: https://www.kristiansand.kommune.no/
Kristiansand municipality, Business region. URL: https://www.businessregionkristiansand.no/varbusiness/aktuelt/sk-tilskudd-til- prosjekter-som-styrker-naeringslivet
Kristiansand municipality, Sustainability Centre. URL: https://www.kristiansand.kommune.no/barekraftsenter & https://www.facebook.com/barekraftsenterkristiansand
Kristiansand Chamber of Commerce. URL: https://www.kristiansand-chamber.no/
Kristiansand City. URL:
https://www.kristiansand.kommune.no/
Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities. URL: https://www.ks.no/
Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. URL: https://www.lo.no/language/english/
University of Agder. URL: https://www.uia.no/en

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