Finland Sets Arctic Council Chairmanship Goals, Urges Continued Cooperation
Finland pledges Arctic cooperation …
President Trump announced Thursday he’ll begin withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord adopted by his predecessor and leaders of 194 other nations in 2015. But the U.S. administration apparently intends to continue participating in another multinational effort by eight Arctic nations.
“The Arctic Council, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, has proven to be an indispensable forum in which we can pursue cooperation,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month at the Arctic Council’s 10th ministerial meeting in Fairbanks.
“I want to affirm that the United States will continue to be an active member in this council,” he said in introductory remarks before relinquishing the two-year council chairmanship to Finland.
Finland’s delegation to the Fairbanks Ministerial emphasized the need for cooperation and participation in pursuit of the four goals the nation has set for its term as council chair. Those include protecting the Arctic environment; expanding high-speed internet connectivity in the region; improving educational opportunities for the people who live or want to study here; and greater cooperation on meteorological observation and forecasting around the region.
“It’s quite clear that we wouldn’t be here without cooperation with all the other Arctic countries, as well as all the other countries in the whole world,” said Juhani Damski, director general of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Damski said in a talk during the ministerial that institute staff has gathered extensive weather and climate data since it was founded in 1828.
“So we have been doing measurements in Finland for 180 years already,” he said.
Damski said those years of observations will give researchers a larger data set that’ll help researchers develop a more complete picture of the region’s climate.
“This is a legacy that has been given to us,” he said, adding Finland will share that legacy with its Arctic Council partners. It’ll also offer its expertise on weather forecasting that’s based mainly on a network of satellite-based sensors. He says the network will help Arctic nations monitor sea ice, oil spills, wildfires and volcanic eruptions.