Finland hosts an Arctic Environment Super Week in Rovaniemi

Press release 2018-10-05 at 9:26

One of the largest events of Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council takes place in Rovaniemi next week as the Arctic Biodiversity Congress brings about 450 experts on Arctic affairs to the city. At the same time Finland is also hosting the Arctic Environment Ministers’ meeting.

The Biodiversity Congress on 9–12 October tackles the most urgent questions in terms of nature protection and sustainable use of the natural environment in the Arctic. The Arctic is among the purest and best preserved regions of the earth, but its vulnerable nature is threatened by climate change and the exploitation of natural resources. Local communities and indigenous populations depend on the wellbeing of the Arctic environment, while changes in the Arctic region have impacts all over the world.

The Biodiversity Congress brings together scientists, policy-makers, public officials, indigenous populations, traditional and local knowledge holders, industry, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders interested in the Arctic environment. The main themes of the Congress are climate change, ecosystems, mainstreaming biodiversity, threats and pressures targeting the Arctic (stressors), identifying and safeguarding important areas, and knowledge and public awareness. The Congress is being organised together with the Conservation of Arctic Fauna and Flora working group of the Arctic Council (CAFF).

The Congress will be opened on Tuesday 9 October by the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr Sauli Niinistö. The four-day programme consists of panel discussions, scientific seminars and the most recent research findings. As one of these, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme AMAP will present scientific reports on the impacts of the acidification of Arctic marine waters and accumulation of environmental toxins on fish and other aquatic animals. The winners of the Arctic Biodiversity "Through the Lens” photography contest will be announced in Rovaniemi and there will be a good number of side events, including the Arctic Youth summit on 5–12 October.

The Arctic Environment Ministers will have a two-day meeting in Rovaniemi on 11–12 October, also attended by high-level representatives from the eight Arctic Council Member States and from six organizations of indigenous peoples. The countries and organizations with observer status in the Arctic Council have also been invited.

The main topics of the Environment Ministers’ meeting are climate change, biodiversity and preventing pollution. This is the first meeting of the Arctic Environment Ministers in five years. The aim is to create guidelines for future environmental cooperation of the Arctic Council.

“Finland has been one of the key drivers in launching Arctic environmental cooperation, and we are strongly committed to assuming the role of a trailblazer in this. What we need now is strong practical action and collaboration e.g. in reducing black carbon emissions to prevent ice melt in the Arctic region”, says Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing of Finland who chairs the meeting of the Environment Ministers in Rovaniemi.

Follow the events online

To follow the Arctic Environment Week in Rovaniemi on Twitter use:

Links to live webcasts and more information at


Henna Haapala, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 353 3894, (meeting of the Arctic Environment Ministers)

Aulikki Alanen, Senior Environmental Adviser, tel. +358 50 353 250 333 (Arctic Biodiversity Congress)

Jussi Salmi, Director of Communications and Information Management, tel. +358 295 250 263, (media contacts for the meeting of the Arctic Environment Ministers)

Jussi Palmén, Communications Specialist, tel. 0295 250 219, (media contacts for the Arctic Biodiversity Congress)