News and Updates 2017

Arctic Spirit Conference brought together experts and views from all over Arctic - also the regional cooperation and development was discussed


Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit conference was held in Rovaniemi, Finland on 14-16 November. Experts all over Arctic gathered to discuss and share their thoughts on the main theme - UN Sustainable Development goals and the Arctic - which was most visible in Wednesday’s sessions. Other topics that were discussed on panels on Thursday expanded the main theme and gave background to it.

Photo: Andres Duque Giraldo

The areas covered in Wednesday's panel discussions were sustainable economic growth, contributions and needs of the science and youth’s understanding of the sustainable future. The first panel agreed that the most important goal is the number 17 which highlights the partnership and in order to achieve the goals, people from different socities and sectors need to work together.

In the last discussion the youth representatives choose their favorite sustainable development goals which talk about affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; responsible consumption and production; and climate action. Mikkel Näkkäläjärvi highlighted the importance of development of infrastructure both IT and physical infrastructure which is one of the Finnish Arctic Council chairmanship priorities. Many areas in Arctic are lacking connectivity and sustainable travel opportunities. Sunna Kokkonen brought up the environmental issues and concerns regarding to the near future of Arctic using examples like fatality of gas and oil industries in Yamal peninsula in Russia. She mentioned that the fossil fuels should be kept under the ground. Also the importance of the renewable energy and sustainable tourism in Arctic was discussed. Sunna Kokkonen is former intern at the International Barents Secretariat.

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Photo: Arctic Centre/Marko Junttila

One important and interesting panel from the Barents and regional point of view is the regional development  panel ”People in the Arctic: Arctic City and Regional cooperation: City planning, education, energy solutions and logistics”.  This panel brought up the thought that although cities have a great role in achieving sustainable goals, the regional and local authorities are often not invited to the debates. Other panels were discussing about the topics i.e. Sustainable development in land use and Culturally sustainable education.

Rosa-MarenMagga ArcticSpirit.JPG
Photo: Andres Duque Giraldo

Our current intern Rosa-Máren Magga was invited to take part to the panel titeled ”People in the Arctic: Media and Indigenous Peoples ”on 16 November due to her background working in Yle Sápmi which is a Sámi media functioning under the Finnish TV and radio broadcasting company Yle. Other panelists were Jane George, Senior reporter from Nunatsiaq News, Nunavut; Thomas Nilsen, editor Barents Observer; Antti Kokkonen, Editor in chief, Lapin Kansa; Florian Stammler, research professor from Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland.

Photo: Andres Duque Giraldo

Topics covered in this panel were how the Arctic indigenous peoples are portrayed in media, both local and global media. In general level the discussion  was about working as a journalist in small communities and in high north. And when talking about Indigenous peoples in media, the difference between Indigenous or local and mainstream practices and a way of thinking was brought up. This causes sometimes challenges when these two views meet. When Arctic regions and socities are portrayed in mainstream media is seldom accurate. Also an important point in discussion was that the local knowledge is the strenght of Arctic media.

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