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Finland's Arctic Strategy: Armchair Discussion with Finnish Permanent State Secretary Matti Anttonen
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Finland's Policy for Arctic Strategy, released in June 2021, sets out Finland's key objectives in the Arctic region at a time when international interest towards the Arctic has increased significantly. At the core of the strategy are sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaptations as well as respect for the rights of Arctic indigenous peoples.
Growing foreign and security policy interest towards the Arctic region makes the Arctic an important priority also to Finland’s foreign policy. Finland seeks to reduce tensions building up in the Arctic region and promote stability.
"We are a country that takes our environment seriously. We are going to be the first industrialized nation [that is] carbon neutral by 2035…It’s tough, but it is doable. It is important that there are role models for others to follow because this is something that we all have to do.”
“It is important that we get those who really understand the region involved. I think it is quite natural that those who live of the nature participate on the decision-making, development and thinking of how these regions [should] be developed.” (re: Sámi participation in developing Finland’s Arctic Strategy)
“As a whole, I think the European Union plays a positive role for the development of the Arctic regions. It is important that we, the European Union, and all countries are interested. This is a really important region of the world which has for a really long time been more or less totally ignored.” (re: EU involvement in the region)
“I think in the Arctic regions we should be looking at those things which are causing the biggest damage to our environment there, and black carbon has been very high on the Finnish agenda when we are talking about climate change and mitigating climate change in the North.” (re: specific actions with climate change and the North).
“We need much more scientific knowledge [in order to] spread and [reproduce] as much as possible in good cooperation between the research organizations and the universities in the North.” (re: scientific research in the Arctic)
“There are still ways in which those countries that have disagreements and conflicts elsewhere can find ways to cooperate in the North. It is not a bubble, there are still pressures that drip into the relationships, but it seems that there are productive relationships with all eight [Arctic] nations.” (re: cooperation and competition in the Arctic)
Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders. Read more