“Climate change is transforming living conditions in Finland, improving them here, and making them worse in Southern Europe for instance, which will attract people from elsewhere to come here. In addition, Russia will become increasingly important to Finland, not only from the viewpoint of tourism, but from that of living.”
Sixten Sunabacka 28.9.2012

What is the aim of the change?

Finland to the top of Arctic expertise

Finland will become a metropolis of Arctic expertise, which combines the exploitation of natural resources, logistics, natural values and good living in a sustainable way. Melting of the polar ice cap due to climate change and scarcity of energy will increase the importance of the northern regions on a global scale. No other Arctic region lends itself to enjoying natural wilderness landscapes in the same way as Lapland. Opening up the North-East Passage will transform Finland’s logistical position as a whole, and shorten transport routes between Europe and Asia. Particularly in Northern Finland, this will provide us with unique opportunities for new business and economic vitality.

Northern Finland – and the corresponding regions in Sweden and Norway – are already positively differentiated among the Arctic regions, due to their sound infrastructure, high educational standards and permanent habitation. We have the possibility to make Finland a forerunner in the sustainable development of the Arctic and a globally special living environment. This will require a stronger knowledge base and efficient use of research data in decision-making. Finland must package and sell its unique combination of Arctic expertise skilfully.

A balance must be struck between the interests represented by various livelihoods

Planning for the utilisation of minerals and wood, and for other industrial investments, must be determined and long-term, taking account of environmental protection, natural values, local residents, tourism and native livelihoods. Short-term financial gain must not be allowed to ruin irreplaceable natural values. In addition to green mining technology, skilful management of operating permits, legislation and financing are required in order to secure Finland’s interests. Reconciliation of the various interests represented by livelihoods and land use, and sound administration in Arctic regions, will bring regional wellbeing and special expertise to Finland. All of this will be in demand in other Arctic and sparsely populated regions in various parts of the world.

Technology and services built around logistics

Transferring the logistical focus towards the North requires a re-evaluation of Finland’s logistical network as a whole. The Northern region’s business potential must be evaluated quickly and, if necessary, international capital must be attracted to cover major investments. If realised, a railway to the Arctic Ocean would open a logistical pathway to the sea for Finland. This is the missing link in Europe’s Arctic railway, which would serve imports and exports for the whole of Eastern Europe. A new trading route from Europe to Asia would offer huge opportunities.

A new trading route from Europe to Asia would offer opportunities in particular for developing and selling competence. Finland can create an abundance of business around logistics and the utilisation of Arctic natural resources, e.g. in shipbuilding and ice-breaking, port and off-shore technology, weather and maritime safety, real estate technology and measuring technology. Competition is tough, however. In particular, the owners of oil resources in circumpolar regions are investing heavily. Finland must take the initiative in Arctic cooperation, in order to benefit from activity in Norway and Russia, as well as the United States and Canada. The economic powers of East-Asia, particularly China, Japan and South Korea, must be boldly included in Arctic cooperation. Finland needs an Arctic business strategy.

The logistics ecosystem is bringing economic power to the North, which will support the development of a pleasant living environment and infrastructure. Natural values and landscapes, combined with high quality Arctic building and ICT connections, will create an attractive, original living environment. In addition to new residents, a good life in the North will attract tourists and remote workers. Finland can attract wide international interest because genuine peace and quiet in the wilderness, combined with digital functionality, is scarce on a global scale.

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