Calendar of Arctic meetings 2018: Events from Helsinki to Kittilä
We are almost halfway through Finland’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Council, as Finland took over the Chairmanship in May 2017. Finland’s Chairmanship will culminate with the foreign ministers meeting in Rovaniemi in May 2019, but even before that there will be a number of important Arctic meetings and events.
Arctic maritime safety and security on the agenda during the spring
This year’s first major Chairmanship event is the conference on maritime safety and especially on the implementation of the Polar Code in Helsinki on 22 February. The conference is organised by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.
The Polar Code of the International Maritime Organization IMO, adopted a year ago, regulates the safety and security of shipping in Arctic waters. Finland considers its implementation as a high priority, which is also the reason for organising the conference.
The Parallel Oil Spill Exercise in Ice Conditions and Arctic Oil Spill Conference in Oulu in March 2018 is also concerned with shipping and maritime safety. The exercise and conference are organised by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Arctic Meteorology Week in Levi in March
Meteorological cooperation and connectivity are the main topics during the whole week devoted to Arctic affairs in Levi, Kittilä in Finnish Lapland.
The Arctic Meteorology Summit organised by the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Kittilä, Finland on 20 March brings together the Directors of the meteorological institutes of the Arctic countries and stakeholders in the field from all over the world. The keynote speakers are the Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland Anne Berner and Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization WMO.
During the same week the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council (SAOs) will convene in a plenary meeting, chaired by Arctic Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen. The priority areas of the meeting are meteorological cooperation and connectivity in the Arctic region.
Aleksi Härkönen stresses that the key issue for Finland is to promote concrete cooperation. “Meteorological cooperation between the Arctic countries enhances meteorological research, predictability of extreme weather events, and safety and security of air and maritime transport”, Härkönen says.
The SAOs of the Arctic Council is composed of the Arctic Ambassadors of the member countries, representatives of indigenous peoples, and observers from states that are not Council members and from international organisations.
The European Commission and European External Action Service will organise a seminar on Arctic research and scientific cooperation in Levi, Kittilä.
During the week the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council will hold its meeting as well.
Autumn events in Rovaniemi and Oulu
Rovaniemi will be the venue for the main Arctic events in autumn 2018. The Arctic Resilience Forum organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in September will focus on climate change adaptation.
Also in September the University of the Arctic (UArctic) will organise a congress in Oulu and Helsinki, to be opened by Prince Albert of Monaco.
The environment ministers of the Arctic countries will meet in Rovaniemi in October. At the same time there will be a large conference on Arctic bioeconomy in Rovaniemi.
“Conferences and meetings are the part of Arctic cooperation that we see in public. They give the necessary visibility and impact by which we can further promote the Arctic agenda”, says René Söderman, Senior Arctic Official from Finland.