The SPARA 2020 project was part funded by the The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 Programme. The Programme forms a cooperation between 9 programme partner countries; the Member States of Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (Scotland and Northern Ireland) in cooperation with the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Norway. This means that the programme area encompasses the Euro-Arctic zone, parts of the Atlantic zone and parts of the Barents region, neighbouring on Canada in the West and Russia in the East.
Despite geographical differences, the large programme area shares a number of common features, such as low population density, low accessibility, low economic diversity, abundant natural resources, and high impact of climate change. This unique combination of features results in joint challenges and joint opportunities that can best be overcome and realised by transnational cooperation.
The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 Programme is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective in the framework of the cohesion policy, supported by the European Regional Development Fund. The programme operates in a multi-layered policy landscape, making it well positioned to contribute to and align with the Europe 2020 Strategy, national and regional policies and development strategies, macro regional and sea basin strategies, and other programmes covering parts of the geographical area. In addition, increased interest and rapid developments in Arctic regions have resulted in a more explicit recognition of the programme’s Arctic dimension in regional development.