Climate strategy work is proceeding by workshops and publications

Funding would enable climate strategy projects to continue

As the Barents region is the most densely populated part of the Arctic, climate change is expected to have a heavier impact on people, communities and businesses there more compared to many other Northern regions. This means that the communities and enterprises in the Barents region can mitigate climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, but must also plan to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation work is done on multiple geographic and administrative levels. Regional and local level climate strategies are important, because the national and global levels can be too far away and insensitive to regional needs or differences within one country. On the other hand, the municipal level often lacks resources for effective climate work, and some of the solutions may require consideration in a larger geographical context. Regional climate strategies may thus be a promising level for climate work but also contribute positively to the national climate goals.

Workshops in St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk

The formulation of regional climate strategies for all Barents member regions is one of the overarching goals of the Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents co-operation. The work was launched in St. Petersburg in September 2014 by the Climate Smart Regional Planning workshop. In the workshop, those Barents regions that already have regional climate strategies, such as Lapland and Northern Ostrobothnia in Finland and Norrbotten in Sweden, shared their experiences of planning and organizing with those regions that are considering such strategies. Also researchers presented their latest results on climate adaptation and mitigation. Land-use planning as an efficient tool for making cities climate friendly was addressed by land-use planning professionals. The collaborative clinic focused on finding solutions together for crucial questions about the launching and implementation of climate strategies. The St. Petersburg workshop gathered over 30 participants from all of the Barents countries.

Collaboration on regional climate strategies was further addressed and elaborated on in the BEAC WGE meeting in Arkhangelsk in December 2014 in a workshop dedicated to climate change issues. The Arkhangelsk Region was a very suitable place for the second workshop as Arkhangelsk has actively taken the initiative in starting regional climate strategy work. Future steps include the initiative by the region to coordinate an international project for formulating regional climate strategies for the Russian part of the Barents region. New opportunities to fund the work on this important issue are actively sought after.

Books and a website pave the way forward

The climate strategy work is strongly supported by research and other publications. In 2012, Finnish Ministry of the Environment published two reports: an analysis of the regional climate strategies in northern Finland and some neighboring Barents member regions, written by Satu Himanen and colleagues, and a report by Jaana Sorvali on the 18 regional climate strategies formulated in Finland. Moreover, Sorvali has made a survey on the situation on climate strategy work in the Barents region in 2014. The results are available at the Climate Smart website.

The recently launched website is an important tool for the climate strategy work: it offers information on Barents cooperation on climate change, on the ongoing work on regional climate strategies, including the St. Petersburg and Arkangelsk workshops, as well as some practical advice on strategic planning to consider in climate strategy formulation. The information is available in English and the Russian version is under preparation.

Ilona Mettiäinen
Researcher, Doctoral Candidate
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland


The Climate Smart workhop in St. Petersburg September 2014. Ilona Mettiäinen speaking. Photo by Tuuli Ojala.

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