On October 8, the Governor of Lapland Mika Riipi will sign the Northern Forum membership agreement with the Executive Director Mikhail Pogodaev – during “From Alaska to Lapland – Local voices strengthening Arctic Council Chairmanships” breakout session within the framework of the international Assembly “Arctic Circle”.
Chairs of the session include:
- Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, Institute of the North
- Timo Koivurova, Director, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
- Craig Fleener, Senior Advisor, Arctic Policy & Climate Change, Office of the Governor, Alaska: Advocating for Alaskan Priorities.
- Michael Sfraga, Vice Chancellor, University of Alaska Fairbanks: Highlighting Alaska’s Research Capabilities.
Mika Riipi, County Governor of Lapland: Lapland as a Partner in the Finnish Chairmanship.
- Timo Rautajoki, President & CEO, Lapland Chamber of Commerce, Finland: Arctic Business Interests.
Over the years, Lapland has been the key region in the international circumpolar cooperation and played a prominent role in bringing together the governors of the northern regions.
In the early 1990s, it was Lapland where the process of enhancing international cooperation in the North started. Since its adoption in 1991, the Environmental Protection Strategy of the Arctic – also known as the Rovaniemi Process – aimed at overcoming differences and transforming the zone of Cold War military tensions into the region of peace and cooperation. Through these joint efforts to protect the environment – and later to focus on the sustainable development – the Arctic countries, with the support of indigenous peoples' organizations, laid the groundwork for cooperation and the formation of the regional identity in the Arctic. Subsequently, the Arctic Council – which brought together eight Arctic countries and six Arctic indigenous peoples' organizations – was established on the basis of this strategy.
Restore of Lapland as a member of the Northern Forum is a new impetus to foster inter-regional cooperation in the North, and marks a new stage in the development of the Northern Forum.
The efforts on the engagement of Northern regions is the main focus of the Northern Forum Secretariat activities. A number of regions, State of Alaska, County of Lapland have joined the Northern Forum largely through the efforts of the Governor of Sakha Republic Yegor A. Borisov, who was the Chair of the Northern Forum for 2 terms. Since the Chairmanship transition from the Sakha Republic to Krasnoyarsky Krai, Viktor A. Tolokonsky has been undertaking major efforts to consolidate the North regions, and to enhance international and interregional cooperation on the North.