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High-level Arctic conference to be held in Rovaniemi in November

9/20/2017 12:41 PM

The conference is expected to represent a large number of countries, both Arctic and non-Arctic. So far, there are about 20 countries on the list.


A high-level Arctic conference is going to take place in Rovaniemi in November. Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit 2017 is an international conference and so far the biggest Arctic event held under Finland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

“We expect the conference to represent a large number of countries, both Arctic and non-Arctic. The list is still developing, but we already have about 20 countries on the list”, said Markku Heikkilä, Head of Science Communications at the Arctic Centre. The organisers expect about 400 people from across the globe to take part in the event.

The conference is scheduled to take place on November 14–16 in Lappia Hall. It’s organised jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the University of Lapland and its Arctic Centre. 

The main focus of this year’s Arctic Spirit is on combining the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the key Arctic issues, said Heikkilä. “We have chosen this theme in close consultation with the Arctic Council Chairmanship team at the foreign ministry.” 

The conference is integrated with many interesting side events, all happening in Rovaniemi: the 10th Polar Law Symposium scheduled for November 13–14, the Relate North 2017 Art and Design show on November 9–13, a workshop on Finland-Canada Arctic research cooperation on November 14, the Finnish Arctic Expo that opens on the same day, and the Thrills of Nature concert to be offered by Lapland Chamber Orchestra on November 16. Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit 2017 will certainly be the main Arctic moment of the country’s independence centenary celebrations, said the responsible leader of the conference.

“Overall, we are having an exceptionally good momentum for a meaningful Arctic conference in Rovaniemi”, Heikkilä emphasised.  

The topics of the first day’s sessions (November 15) relate directly to the main theme – high-level speeches and panel discussions on the role of economic development and what needs to be done in the field of Arctic science. A panel of young Arctic activists wraps the day up. 

On the second day, the focus is on the people in the Arctic, and there will be discussions on themes such as Arctic identity, indigenous peoples, the media, role of Arctic cities, land use, bioeconomy, culturally sustainable education and wellbeing of the young.

Heikkilä is expecting to organise an Arctic forum that really makes a difference. However, he said the Arctic Spirit team is not measuring its success by the volume and number of participants and emphasised that the organisers are trying their best to ensure as much relevance as possible.

City of Rovaniemi-Daily Finland Report 

Markku Heikkilä