Finland issues new strategy for the Arctic region

An Expert's View about Environmental Technologies in Finland

Posted on: 15 Sep 2013

Finland's revised strategy examines the potential for bolstering country's position regarding the Arctic region - including creation of new business opportunities and Arctic expertise.

10 September 2013 Nordensköld Glacier in Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway. © Davthy Finland issues new strategy for the Arctic region Finland aims to lead the way in sustainable development in the Arctic region, according to a new strategy announced by the Finnish Government. Finland already is a forerunner in many Arctic technologies but more R&D is needed. Finnish Arctic actors should also intensify their mutual cooperation. Finland's previous strategy for the Arctic region was announced in summer 2010 with the focus on external relations. The updated strategy (English version in September) is based on the Arctic policy adopted by the government in October 2012 that also forms the foundation for Finland's Arctic vision: "Finland is an active Arctic player with the ability to reconcile the limitations imposed and business opportunities provided by the Arctic environment in a sustainable manner while drawing upon international cooperation." Underlying the current review of the Arctic strategy is the increased significance of the region and a growing perception of the whole of Finland as an Arctic country. Finland possesses diversified Arctic expertise and it is very much in its interests to be involved in the development of the region. The new strategy is a reflection of the drive to pursue these ambitions. "I'm pleased to see that progress is being made in the Arctic context. The potential offered by the region is important to the efforts to promote economic growth and welfare in all countries. Finland's advantage lies in its extensive Arctic expertise,” says Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. “In the next few years, further development of this expertise and new forms of cross-border cooperation will only gain in importance. However, we need to bear in mind that the region's resources must be utilized sustainably with due regard to the environment and the well-being of the local population," Katainen says. The strategy will be presented to Parliament in the form of a Prime Minister's announcement in September. "I find that this offers new major potential for Finland. For this reason, it will be useful to have a broad and exhaustive debate in Parliament," continues Prime Minister Katainen. Arctic strategy in brief The revised strategy examines the potential for bolstering Finland's position regarding the Arctic region including: * creation of new business opportunities; * Arctic environment; * region's security and stability; * position of the northern parts of Finland; * international cooperation and; * Arctic expertise in the widest sense of the term. At the same time, the strategy defines Finland's role in the Arctic region as comprising four key aspects: * Finland as an Arctic country; * Arctic expertise; * sustainable development and environmental considerations and; * international cooperation. The strategy for the Arctic Region will be implemented through sector-specific measures in accordance with the central government spending limits and budgets. Finnish industry and public organizations such as institutions will take part in funding. EU funding will be allocated to the projects subject to EU Programs and the conditions established for EU support. All the eight Arctic countries have their own strategies for the region. Of these, Finland's latest strategy is the most comprehensive in terms of scope, objectives and the tangible proposals for attaining these objectives. Forerunner in technology, more R&D and cooperation needed Finland possesses extensive Arctic expertise based on its advanced education system. By investing in education and research, Finland will be able to consolidate its position and increase its appeal as a leading world-class expert in the Arctic. However, to reach the top international level, Finnish universities and polytechnics need to develop their Arctic expertise on an on-going basis and Finnish Arctic actors need to intensify their mutual cooperation. From the point of view of the economy, Finland has the potential to make an active contribution to and achieve success in the Arctic region. Finland perceives the region as a growing market where success calls for long-term, visionary cooperation and close networking between the authorities and private companies both at the national and international levels. It is of great national interest to Finland to be one of the leading countries in Arctic maritime technology and shipping. The expansion of mining in the region is offering Finnish operators new international business opportunities both in terms of mining technology and increasing transport volumes. At the same time, Finland is in a position to offer special expertise related to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. The Arctic region needs new electricity transmission lines and decentralized energy production. The increased economic activity and industrial growth will provide major opportunities for Finnish cleantech expertise and companies engaged in this line of business. Protecting the environment and indigenous peoples Finland advocates the protection and ecologically sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic land and sea areas. In global climate negotiations, Finland supports ambitious emission reduction targets by highlighting issues related to climate change in the region. The mental and material well-being, access to work, efficient basic services, equality, security and education of the people living in the northern parts Herds of reindeer and caribou are important of Finland need to be resources for Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic. secured. Photo: Arctic Centre A thriving local population contributes to economic stability and improves competitiveness. At the international level, Finland seeks to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples when issues affecting their status as indigenous peoples are addressed. Finland finds it important to guarantee that the organisations of the indigenous peoples represented in the Arctic Council are able to participate in the work of the Council at the various levels. Sources: Government web service Related: Finland updates its Arctic strategy Arctic development - opportunities and challenges
Posted: 15 September 2013

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