Finland stressed fight against climate change and stability of the Arctic region at the Arctic Circle Assembly

Government Communications Department 10.10.2019 19.07 | Published in English on 13.10.2019 at 9.49
Press release 523/2019

Key topics discussed at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik on 10 October were climate change and sustainable development, the important role of the Arctic Council in international cooperation, and maintaining stability in the Arctic region. Prime Minister Rinne delivered the opening address of the event, together with the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

In his speech, Prime Minister Rinne highlighted Finland's support for the work of the Arctic Council, and to Iceland as the current holder of the Council’s Chairmanship. Rinne stressed how important the rule-based international system is also for the Arctic region, and that this should not be affected by tensions between superpowers. He also told about the preparation of a new national strategy for Arctic policy.

“Finland is an Arctic country, and we are proud of this. Combatting climate change, sustainable development and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples are among the key elements of the upcoming strategy for our Arctic policy,” Prime Minister Rinne says.

Climate change and sustainable development were also the main topics of the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Rinne and Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir. Besides these, the two Prime Ministers discussed the impacts of Brexit on Iceland and the work of the Arctic Council.

“Nordic cooperation is a highly important framework for both Iceland and Finland. At the informal summer meeting of the Nordic prime ministers here in Reykjavik in August, we agreed on a common vision of the Nordic countries as the world’s most uniform region that is the most strongly committed to sustainable development by 2030. We are like a family, or a house with four rooms and a kitchen,” Prime Minister Rinne says.

Prime Minister Rinne also met the Speaker of the Parliament of Iceland Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and Arctic Circle Chairman, former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

As part of the Arctic Circle Assembly events, Finland and the State of Maine on the north-east coast of the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the forest bioeconomy sector.

The stay in Iceland ended with a visit to Keflavik Air Base, where the visitors had the opportunity to learn about what is now being done there. The Keflavik Air Base has become increasingly important due to the growing interest in the security situation of the Arctic region as part of the escalating superpower tensions.

The Arctic Circle Assembly held in Reykjavik every year is the most significant high-level meeting on Arctic affairs. This year it brought together people representing national governments from the United States to China, indigenous peoples, universities, companies and e.g. environmental organisations. More than 2,000 participants from 60 countries attended the event. Besides Rinne and Jakobsdóttir, the speakers at the event included Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and the United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

Inquiries: Lauri Voionmaa, Special Adviser (International Affairs), Nina Brander, Special Adviser, +358 295 160 347, Prime Minister's Office.