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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
up’ and started to become interested again in Arctic issues. Behind this re-awakening was the
growing interest in Arctic issues in Finland, particularly as regards economic interests and
climate change. As a result, Finland started to prepare and roll out a national Arctic strategy,
drafted by a working group representing all the ministries appointed by the Prime Minister’s
Office in February 2010. This governmental activity was accelerated by the report on
“Finland and the Arctic Regions” issued by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Finnish
Parliament as well as by a general discussion of Finland’s activities in the Arctic in Parliament
in November 2009 (Ulkoasiainvaliokunta, 2009).
Finland’s Arctic Strategy clearly states that the Arctic region is a stable and peaceful area, but,
it adds, significant changes are taking place in the region, including climate change and
increased transportation. Consequently, the global significance of the region is growing. Due
to all of this, a holistic evaluation on the current situation and circumstances is required, and
it is briefly touched upon in the introduction to the Strategy.
The document consists of six substantial chapters, the first four of which define Finland’s
political objectives in four important sectors, followed by chapters on policy tools and the
EU and the Arctic. The first sector “Fragile Arctic nature” states that “the environmental
perspective must be taken into account in all activities in the region” (Prime Minister’s
Office, 2010: 13), and climate change, pollution and biodiversity must be given considerable
attention. Climate change is defined as one of the most serious challenges to the Arctic, and
increased human activity in the region raises the risk of environmental pollution. Finland’s
main objectives here are threefold. It is also said that Arctic research, regional climate
models and long-term monitoring of the environment should feed into decision-making
processes, clearly indicating the importance of the interplay between science and politics.
Finland’s objectives in the second sector, “Economic activities and know-how” are
ambitious, and here the Finnish Strategy document emphasizes economic activities, as do
most of the other Arctic states’ strategies, and can be considered business-oriented. The
Strategy reflects the desire to promote and strengthen Finland’s position as an international
expert on Arctic issues and know-how in the fields of winter shipping, sea transport and
shipbuilding technology, expertise in forest management, mining and metals industry, and
cold-climate research. Although protecting Arctic ecosystems is prioritized, it seems