FinnTribune report: Speakers at the fourth China-Nordic arctic cooperation symposium that started in Rovaniemi on Tuesday highlighted the need for extensive Chinese cooperation for ensuring a sustainable development of the Arctic North.
They also stressed taking realistic measures for the protection of indigenous peoples in the Arctic region and emphasised prioritising the nature, environmental issues as well as green initiatives rather than the economic interests.
The main theme of the symposium being held at the Arctic Centre is ‘The Sustainable Arctic – Opportunities and Challenges of Globalization.’ Thematic sessions at the 4-day symposium from June 6 to 9 include ‘Arctic tourism,’ ‘Arctic sustainability,’ ‘globalization and the Arctic,’ and ‘China, Nordic countries and the Arctic.’
University of Lapland Arctic Centre Director Timo Koivurova and China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre Deputy Director Dr. Yang Jian are the chair and the co-chair of the symposium respectively.
Finnish Parliament Speaker Maria Lohela, China’s State Oceanic Administration Vice Administrator LV Bin, Finnish Sämi Parliament President Tiina Sanila-Aikio, University of Lapland Board Chairman Raimo Väyrynen, Chinese Ambassador to Finland YU Qingtai, Arctic Affairs Ambassador of Finland Aleksi Härkönen, Iceland Arctic Affairs Ambassador Ärni Pör Sigurösson and Polar Research Institute of China Director General Yang Huigen, among others, addressed the opening ceremony.
The purpose of the symposium is to offer a platform for academic cooperation to increase awareness, understanding and knowledge of the Arctic and it global impacts.
Maria Lohela said CNARC is an example of new Arctic cooperation. Finland is also working closely with the Arctic Council which will enhance the relations among Arctic countries and other actors.
Tiina Sanila-Aikio expressed concern over the planning of projects in the northern Finland. She said the increasing interest in the Arctic is promising but also worrying.
Tiina Sanila emphasised the importance of prior knowledge about the locals and their consent in project planning. But, she said, the planners forget the indigenous people. Sämi culture is a brand of nature, environment, sustainability and green in its own way of life.
She stressed the protection of indigenous people and the environment beyond the economic interests. Projects in the nature and environment have to protect the indigenous people in the Arctic, she added.
Raimo Väyrynen said the efforts of globalization are opening new doors of opportunities. But the progress in these efforts needs to be expedited and for that extensive cooperation is a necessity.
Chinese Ambassador Qingtai said the promotion of and cooperation in the Arctic North is our goal. China wants to work closely for a sustainable development of the Arctic region as well as creating new opportunities for the Nordic countries.
Qingtai said sustainable efforts are the centre of globalization. The Arctic is global, Arctic nature issues are global and we are happy to extend cooperation, he added.
CNARC, a network of 11 member institutes – five Chinese and six Nordic, is the organiser of the event.