Levi, Finland is hosting March 19-20 and 22-23, 2018, the Arctic Council’s second Sustainable Development Working Group and Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings held during the Chairmanship of Finland (2017-2019). These meetings bring together representatives from the eight Arctic States, the six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, six Working Groups, and over 30 Observer states and organizations.
The Council’s priority themes during the Chairmanship of Finland are environmental protection, connectivity, meteorological cooperation, health and education.
The SDWG meeting started with welcome speech by SDWG Chair, Pekka Shemeikka. He introduced a new participants, approved the Meeting Agenda and Minutes of SDWG Inari Meeting, held September 21-22, 2017. The meeting reviewed the status of existing projects on youth, pre-school and teacher education, health, gender inequity, food production, remote and renewable energy and solid waste management in the Arctic. There were new project proposals on occupational health, sustainable energy, use of heavy fuel oil in communities and carbon neutral Arctic construction.
At SAO meeting, the Arctic Council will address the issues of meteorological cooperation and connectivity, both critical in the Arctic. Experts from the Council’s six Working Groups, as well as leaders from the World Meteorological Organization and from the national meteorological institutes of Finland, Iceland, and Russia will all contribute to the discussion on meteorological cooperation.
At the same time, the World Meteorological Organization will be hosting an Arctic Meteorological Summit in Levi, which brings together its major stakeholders to discuss cooperation in the Arctic.
During the conversation on connectivity, experts in health, telecommunications, satellite technology, and other fields will bring their perspectives before the Council members.
The Council’s six Working Groups will also provide updates on their work as they make progress towards the next Arctic Council Ministerial meeting, which will take place in Rovaniemi, Finland in early May 2019.
Speaking about the agenda for the meeting in Levi, Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, the Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, said: “Our upcoming meeting in Levi is another opportunity to make progress in these important areas of cooperation – meteorology and connectivity. It will be an important opportunity to share knowledge, research, and experience with partners in other spheres. It goes without saying that I also look forward to welcoming the Council’s members and Observers from around the world to Arctic Finland at a beautiful time of year.”
The Council will also look forward to a fall packed with events including the Arctic Environment Ministers Meeting 11-12 October 2018, Arctic Biodiversity Congress (9-11 October 2018), Arctic Resilience Forum (10-11 September 2018), and Model Arctic Council (29 October – 2 November 2018).