International Arctic Conference “In the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process”

An international Arctic Conference “In the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process - Arctic Cities, Global Processes and Local Realities” with more than 200 participants took place at the beginning of December 2013 in Rovaniemi.

The conference focused on global challenges in the Arctic especially from the point of view of the environmental protection and sustainable development in the Arctic and Northern regions.

In the opening session at the Rovaniemi City Hall, distinguished speakers like Thorvald Stoltenberg, Former Defense- and Foreign minister from Norway and Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister of Finland shared their views about the past, the present and the future of the Arctic.

Series of sessions about the changing region
The conference was composed of a series of autonomous sessions addressing the most critical themes of concern about the changing region and at the same time addressing three cross-cutting themes: Arctic together with Non-Arctic, Arctic cities and global processes, Governance and management in the Arctic.

Even if the goal of the conference was to present the latest research results, the conference aimed also to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities.

The last session of the conference took the Rovaniemi Process to city level. Representatives from the Barents cities of Murmansk, Narvik and Rovaniemi shared their views along with keynote speakers from Barents Intitute and Nordregio. The discussion about what we have in common, what is urban arctic and how the future of the Arctic cities looks like, was a good ending for this multilateral arctic event.

The background of the conference
Finnish initiative for Arctic environmental co-operation resulted in the so-called Rovaniemi Process and the adoption of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, signed in Rovaniemi in 1991. The Rovaniemi Process contributed to peace and stability in the region and was finally merged into the Arctic Council, the currently predominant body of Arctic governance.

The success of Rovaniemi Process inspired the City of Rovaniemi, the University of Lapland and the Arctic Centre to organize a series of conferences, with the first one taking place in Rovaniemi, on 2-4 December 2013.

Sincere thanks to all speakers and participants for your most important contribution to the conference!

The photo album that will take you back to the spirit of Rovaniemi can be found here.

Read speech by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in the conference In the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process here.

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Photos by Jani Kärppä / Arctic Centre.


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