The revised strategy examines the potential for bolstering Finland’s position regarding the Arctic region; the creation of new business opportunities; the Arctic environment; the region’s security and stability; the 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.
“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. 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 utilised sustainably with due regard to the environment and the well-being of the local population,” says Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
Finland’s updated strategy for the Arctic region is based on the Arctic policy adopted by the government evening session in October 2012, which 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. 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.
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.
The Strategy for the Arctic Region will be implemented through sector-specific measures in accordance with the central government spending limits and budgets. EU funding will be allocated to the projects subject to EU Programmes and the conditions established for EU support.
High-quality education and growing business
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 decentralised 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.
Protection of 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 of Finland need to be secured. 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.
Background for the strategy update
Finland’s previous Strategy for the Arctic Region was announced in summer 2010 with the focus on external relations. 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.
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s Government Programme makes reference to the Arctic strategy by foreseeing intensified efforts to implement it. On 16 May 2012, the Government decided to define the policies for the Arctic and update Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Arctic policies were adopted by the Government in its evening session on 10 October 2012. The strategic review was prepared by a working group appointed by the Prime Minister in which all the ministries were represented. The working group was chaired by Arctic Ambassador Hannu Halinen from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Preparations were carried out across the boundaries of the administrative branches and overseen by a steering group consisting of the Permanent Secretaries of the ministries involved. The steering group was chaired by State Secretary Olli-Pekka Heinonen. Additional support for these efforts was provided by the Arctic Working Group appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office. As part of the preparations, a number of hearings were held and experts representing the various fields of activity consulted. Citizens were also given an opportunity to contribute to the strategy through the ‘otakantaa.fi’ government online discussion forum.
The resolution on Finland’s strategy for the Arctic Region is posted on the web site of the Prime Minister's Office in Finnish and Swedish at
http://www.vn.fi/tiedostot/julkinen/arktinen_strategia/Suomen_arktinen_strategia_fi.pdf (in Finnish)
http://www.vn.fi/tiedostot/julkinen/arktinen_strategia/Finlands_arktiska_strategi_sv.pdf (in Swedish)
The strategy will be published in English and North Saami early in the autumn.
Inquiries: Olli-Pekka Heinonen, State Secretary, tel. +358 295 160 280, Prime Minister’s Office and Hannu Halinen, Arctic Ambassador, tel. +358 40 178 2053, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Finland to lead the way in sustainable development in the Arctic region
Wed, Aug 28, 2013
At its session held today 23 August 2013, the Government issued a resolution on Finland’s new strategy for the Arctic region. The University of the Arctic and its International Secretariat at the University of Lapland are specifically named in the strategy, as well as other Finnish member institutions.