The Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, concluded between the Arctic Council Member States, entered into force on Wednesday, 23 May 2018. The Agreement aims to enhance the practical scientific research cooperation among the Arctic States. Finnish higher education institutions and research institutes have a strong tradition and a lot of international cooperation in the field of Arctic research. Finland holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until 2019.
At the Ministerial meeting in Kiruna in 2013, Ministers of the Arctic States mandated the creation of a Task Force to work towards an arrangement on improved scientific research cooperation among the eight Arctic Council Member States (Iceland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia and the United States). The Agreement was signed at the Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks in 2017, and it entered into force on 23 May 2018.
"The Agreement is of significance not only for researchers in the Arctic Council Member States but also for the scientific community at large, because Arctic research activities are highly networked at global level. Many countries around the world, even in Asia, are very interested in the Arctic research," says Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.
The Agreement will significantly improve practical research cooperation for example by lightening permit procedures and thus facilitating cross-border movement of researchers, samples and research equipment.
Currently, the practical implementation of a research project taking place in the territory of several countries is slowed down by different permit procedures, administrative processes and inconsistencies in the authorities' actions. These delays cause problems for the implementation of research and increase costs.
Finnish higher education institutions and research institutes have a strong tradition in the field of Arctic research. Arctic research activities in Finland are to a high degree based on international networks. Many fields of research require large-scale infrastructure, such as extensive data and research vessels.
The Arctic warming caused by climate change and its diverse consequences have created increased interest in the Arctic region.
"We need international research cooperation to be able to understand the changes occurring in the Arctic region, to adapt to these changes, to use natural resources in a sustainable manner, and to prevent the problems threatening the region," Minister of Education says.
"The Agreement highlights the importance of science diplomacy. It serves as a signal of willingness and ability to enhance research through international cooperation," Minister says.
- Paavo-Petri Ahonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 2953 30247 (out of office 21–25 May 2018)
- Satu Paasilehto, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 2953 30240
- Heikki Kuutti Uusitalo, Special Adviser to Minister, tel. + 358 050 302 8246
The Agreement is available on the website of the Arctic Council
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