President Niinistö in Rovaniemi: Our climate and biodiversity goals need to be filled with action

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and the Governor General of Canada Mary Simon visited Rovaniemi on Thursday, 9 February as part of the Governor General’s state visit to Finland.

The day started at the Arktikum Science Centre, where the President and the Governor General participated in a panel discussion on the impacts of climate change in the Arctic region.

In his speech, President Niinistö thanked Canada for organising the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal. “Climate change challenges the rich biodiversity of the Arctic region in unforeseen ways.” According to the President, Finland and Canada could work even more closely together in the field of carbon sequestration, capture and storage.

In addition, he said that it is good news that international targets already oblige countries to protect Arctic ecosystems more strictly than before. “If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe. Our climate and biodiversity goals are ambitious, rightly so. We do not have time to waste. These goals need to be filled with action. Not tomorrow, not next year, not after the next election cycle, but right now.”

Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has accelerated the green transition in the Arctic region. If this is done right, the Arctic could become the region to pilot new technologies and new solutions that create wellbeing. The President emphasised that the impacts on nature, resources and indigenous peoples must be assessed carefully.

The day’s programme also included a visit to Ylikylä primary school, where the President and the Governor General met with pupils and teachers, and were introduced to Sámi language teaching. The visit ended with an Air Force briefing at Lapland Air Command, which highlighted intensifying international cooperation and the importance of the Northern regions.


Panel discussion at Arktikum Science Centre, 9 February, 11 am: “Impacts of Climate Change in the Arctic”