Globally Influential Finland in the Arctic Region – an opportunity and a challenge

Press release from the Office of the Prime Minister of Finland

In line with the Government Programme, all activity in the Arctic region must be tied in with the carrying capacity of the environment, the need to protect the climate, the importance of sustainable development principles, and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.

The “Globally Influential Finland in the Arctic Region” stakeholder event, which is part of the preparations for Finland’s new Arctic policy strategy, took place on Tuesday 18 February in Helsinki. A similar event was held two weeks ago in Rovaniemi.

The new strategy for Arctic policy will take into account Finland’s long-term objectives in the Arctic region and ensure adequate resources for achieving them. The strategy is set to be completed by the beginning of 2021. A wide range of actors will be consulted during the project.

The speeches and discussions at the event in Helsinki emphasised that the consequences of climate change can be seen most strongly and quickly in the Arctic region. The warming of the Arctic provides only a short-term opportunity for economic exploitation in the region. With this in mind, economic exploitation of the Arctic for the production of fossil energy appears to be a contradictory and partly short-sighted goal. Companies also understand that the use of fossil fuels is not good business in the long term.

Finland has cold expertise and the resilience needed to work in extreme conditions. Research plays a key role in maintaining and developing this expertise. The Saami have first-hand knowledge when it comes to climate change. Our common task is to bring together traditional, experience-based knowledge and scientific research, and we must work to strengthen the dialogue between them.

Cold expertise and the fight against climate change are also closely linked to sustainable business. The circular economy and investments in low-carbon, resource-wise solutions offer significant economic opportunities.

Finland aims to promote the stability of the Arctic region and to help keep the region free from military tensions. Finland is well positioned to act as an intermediary.

The Helsinki event featured talks by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, State Secretary Mikko Koskinen from the Prime Minister’s Office, Director General Juhani Damski from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Director Anu Fredrikson from the Arctic Economic Council and Director Mika Aaltola from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Inquiries: Nina Brander, Secretary General of the Arctic Advisory Council, tel. +358 295 160 347, Heikki Kontro, Project Coordinator, tel. +358 295 160 977 and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU and International Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office

Date of publication: 26 Feb 2020 (Originally published in Finnish on 18 Feb)

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