Category Archives: Finland

The EU playing field – opening event of Finland’s Presidency

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, July 3(Greenpost)– According to Finlands government, Finland will celebrate the opening of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union with a free summer party in Töölönlahti Park on 8 July.

Europe Information of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister’s Office, the European Commission and the European Parliament invite all comers to enjoy a summer day of informal EU-themed events in Kansalaistori (Citizen’s Square).

Finland and the European institutions will join forces to host the “EU playing field” tent, where citizens and decision-makers will meet to discuss the presidency and the European Union. Some more laid-back activities will also be on offer in the tent: play table football or get your face painted in biodegradable glitter colours. The tent will be open from 11.00 to 20.00.

Finland has picked climate change, one of the presidency priorities, as the party’s climactic theme: Plastic Mama, a work of enviromental art byKaisa Salmi, will be mounted in Kansalaistori Square. Made of recycled plastic by the artist and a thousand volunteers, Plastic Mama is a baroque dress that will soar to a height of ten metres.

Here are just some of the other things to do at the summer party in Töölönlahti Park: enjoy a picnic, play backyard games, try out your dance moves, tie a bouquet of flowers or a birch switch for the sauna. Highlights also include music performances and the opening of a junior football tournament, the Helsinki Cup.

The presidency will also feature prominently at SuomiAreena, a public debate forum in Pori (15–19 July) and at the Europe Forum in Turku (29–31 August).

China grants first export licence for Finnish fish products

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Jan. 10(Greenpost) — In connection with an export promotion visit by the Finnish Food Authority and Permanent Secretary Jaana Husu-Kallio from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, China has granted its first export licence for Finnish fish products. The export authorisation granted by the Chinese authorities is specific to certain establishments, and it currently applies to one Finnish fish product manufacturer, according to a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The export licence concerns Finnish fish only, while Norwegian salmon cannot be exported to China via Finland. The licence is applicable to certain fish species and products, including frozen, salted and smoked Finnish salmon, rainbow trout, common whitefish (lavaret) and roach fish.

– Promoting the blue bioeconomy is one of the Finnish Government’s key projects. The opening of the Chinese markets for fish products means enormous opportunities for the whole fisheries sector in Finland. The global demand for fisheries products from our clean waters keeps growing, says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.

Opening the export licences has been prepared as a collaborative effort by the export team of the Finnish Food Authority (until the end of 2018 the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira). The Chinese authorities have been provided with comprehensive analyses on the manufacture of fish products in Finland, and the authorities have visited Finland to inspect the production facilities.

China Finland Year of Winter Sports begins

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Jan. 10(Greenpost)– China Finland Year of Winter Sports has begun, announced Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in a press release reaching here today.

The year 2019 was designated as the China Finland Year of Winter Sports at the meeting of the Finnish and Chinese presidents in spring 2017. Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership. The thematic year and the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to boost Chinese interest in Finnish winter sports expertise.

According to Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho, the thematic year presents excellent opportunities for Finland in terms of both winter sports expertise and the commercial aspects of the industry.

“Because Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership, this gives Finland significant visibility and a competitive advantage compared to other winter sports countries leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. Finland has a great deal of opportunities and a lot to offer, particularly when it comes to coaching, building venues for winter sports, sports technology, manufacturing sports equipment and teaching physical education in schools,” says Minister Terho.

The thematic year is focused on four main themes: 1) training and coaching, 2) sustainable development and equality, 3) travel and tourism and 4) competitive and performance sports.

Minister Terho will travel to Beijing to attend the opening of the thematic year, which will take place on 15 January 2019. The closing of the thematic year will be held in Rovaniemi in December.

The thematic year is made up of more than 60 different events, with highlights including the Chinese New Year celebration in Helsinki in February, the “Women’s Month” of April, when Finland hosts both the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the World Synchronized Skating Championships, and three events – Helsinki Education Week, the SMASH sports technology event and GoExpo Winter – taking place in November. As the “Country of Honour” at the 2019, World Winter Sports Expo in Beijing, Finland will have the opportunity to present its knowhow in various areas of winter sports.

In addition to the thematic year, Business Finland has established the Winter Sports Cluster growth programme, which aims to develop cooperation and export opportunities for Finnish businesses with an eye towards the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in Beijing.

High-level visits boost cooperation

The Finnish and Chinese presidents agreed on the 2019 joint year of winter sports during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Finland in April 2017. To coordinate the arrangements for the thematic year, Finland and China established a working group in charge of the joint programme during Sampo Terho’s visit to Peking and Harbin in March 2018.

The year of winter sports is a joint initiative of various ministries, cities, the Finnish Olympic Committee, the Finnish Paralympic Committee, individual sports associations and sports institutes.

Svensk-kinesiskt samarbete kan digitalisera världens skogsindustri

Av Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 30 (Greenpost) — Det svenska innovationsbolaget OTMETKA utvecklar system för att individuellt märka och spåra timmer i en automatisk process. Spårbarhet av timmer handlar inte bara om att säkerställa att virke avverkas lagligt och från rätt plats, utan också om en transaktion av data och därmed pengar. Nu vill OTMETKA bland annat med kinesisk hjälp digitalisera världens skogsindustri med sin smarta lösning.

– Morgondagens 4G/5G kopplar upp skördarna alltmer. Vet vi värdet på varje avverkad skogskubikmeter är det lätt att inse att digitaliseringen av skogen är en miljardindustri, säger Bengt Sörvik, CEO och grundare av OTMETKA, ett svenskt bolag med många patent inom skogsindustrin.

Varje år avverkas bara i Sverige skog för 35–40 miljarder SEK och under 2017 uppgick sågverksindustrin samlade exportvärde till 26,7 miljarder SEK. I princip all skog i Sverige är underkastad miljöcertifiering, FSC eller PEFC. Därmed finns också krav på att redovisa timrets ursprung, vilket idag sker med administrativa och ineffektiva pappersmetoder.

– Vi digitaliserar skogen ned på varje enskild stock och helt automatisk. Det är fel att dyrt insamlad produktionsinformation bara kastas bort efter att trädet är uppkapat till timmer, säger Sörvik.

Bygger på gammal beprövad teknik
OTMETKAs system för individmärkning av timmer bygger på en enkel, beprövad och äldre teknik med stämpelyxa. Det är en yxa som användes förr för att märka timmer då det flottades på älvarna till sågverken. Det var innan vägnät och lastbilstransporter var utbyggda.

Genom att skapa en matris av vridbara stansar i fasta lägen skapar OTMETKA en i princip oändlig nummerserie där tre saker kombineras: 1) positionen där trädet växte, 2) produktionsdata från skördarens dator och 3) en unik kod för varje enskild stock. Det patentskyddade systemet heter OtmetkaID och skapar globala, unika koder. När stocken kommer till sågverket läses den av med kamerateknik.

Global molnbaserad lösning för skogen
OTMETKAs affärsidé är att sälja teknik och information som licensierade tjänster via molnlösningar, som alla inom industrin enkelt kan koppla upp sig mot. Genom att erbjuda egna lösningar, men även partners plats i affärsmodellen, räknar bolaget med att bygga ett ekosystem av tjänster med ett övergripande mål om att effektivisera skogsbruket och använda råvaran ännu bättre.

– Då svenskt och finskt skogsbruk leder utvecklingen i världen och OTMETKAs metod kan appliceras över hela världen, räknar vi med att intresset kommer att växa snabbt. Vi tecknade nyligen ett samarbetsavtal med Salzburgs universitet i Österrike om att införa utökade biometriska analyser av stockens egenskaper ihop med OtmetkaID, säger Sörvik.

Huawei ny teknikpartner 
Just nu håller OTMETKA på att få sitt internationella genombrott. Bolaget har bland annat slutit avtal med franska globala certifieringsbolaget Bureau Veritas om att bygga en fullständig Blockchain-lösning från skogen via sågverksindustrin till slutkunden. Nyligen har också heminredningsjätten IKEA bjudit in OTMETKA till IKEA Bootcamp, för det ska hjälpa till att säkerställa råvarans ursprung.

Via kinesiska ambassaden har OTMETKA också träffat tekniktunga Huawei, som har flera nya tekniska lösningar inom skogsindustrin baserade på uppkopplad mobil internetteknik. Här hoppas Bengt Sörvik på ett samarbete för att ta fram nya produkter och tjänster:

– Huawei är en stark teknologi partner med entreprenörsanda och globala ambitioner. Vi på OTMETKA kan erbjuda Huawei våra djupa kunskaper inom skoglig artificiell intelligens, AI.

Tillbaka till rötterna i Kina
OTMETKA har också tagit de första kontakterna med Bank of China, via Counselor of Commerce Mr Han Xiaodong. Även kontakter med tre kinesiska skogsorganisationer – China Wood Protection Industry Association, China Timber & Wood Distribution Association och China National Forest Products Industry Association – är tagna.

– Det vore kul om våra olika tagna kinesiska kontakter kunde utvecklas till ett affärsmässigt och tekniskt samarbete. Min far föddes 1921 i Shanghai då min farfar arbetade på det svenska företaget Ekmanska Handelshuset i staden. Själv deltog jag i 1987 års Swedish Mount Everest-expedition från den norra sidan, en officiell expedition med inbjudan från de kinesiska myndigheterna. Vi klättrade nästan samma led som den stora kinesiska expeditionen gjorde 1963, säger  Sörvik.

Sweden-China Cooperation can digitalize world’s forestry industry

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 30(Greenpost) — The Swedish innovation company OTMETKA develops systems for individually labeling and tracking timber in an automatic process. Traceability of timber is not just about ensuring that the work is done lawfully and from the right place, but also about a transaction of data and thus money. Now, OTMETKA wants, with help from China to digitize the world’s forest industry with its smart solution.

– Tomorrow’s 4G / 5G connects the harvesters more and more. When we know the value of each harvested forest cubic meter it is easy to realize that digitization of the forest is a billion industry, says Bengt Sörvik, CEO and founder of OTMETKA, a Swedish company with many patents in the forest industry.

Every year, only Swedish forests are harvested for SEK 35-40 billion and in 2017 the sawmill industry totaled export value to SEK 26.7 billion. In principle, all forests in Sweden are subject to environmental certification, FSC or PEFC. Thus, there is also a requirement to report the origin of the timber, which today takes place with administrative and inefficient paper methods.

– We digitize the forest down on each individual log and completely automatically. It is wrong that expensive harvested production information is only thrown away after the tree is harvested for timber, says Sörvik.

Building on old proven technology

OTMETKA’s individual labeling system is based on a simple, proven and older technique with marking hammer. It’s an ax used to mark timber as it floated on the rivers to the sawmills. It was before road and truck transport were expanded.

By creating a matrix of rotating punches in fixed positions, OTMETKA creates a basically infinite number series that combines three things: 1) The position where the tree grew, 2) Production data from the harvester’s computer, and 3) A unique code for each individual log. The patented system is called OtmetkaID and creates global, unique codes. When the stock comes to the sawmill, it is read by camera technology.

Global cloud-based solution for the forest

OTMETKA’s business idea is to sell technology and information as licensed services through cloud solutions, which everyone in industry can easily connect with. By offering its own solutions, but also partners’ place in the business model, the company expects to build an ecosystem of services with an overall goal of streamlining forestry and using the raw material even better.

– Swedish and Finnish forestry leads the world’s development, and OTMETKA’s method can be applied worldwide, we expect interest to grow rapidly. We recently signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Salzburg in Austria to introduce extended biometric analyzes of log properties along with OtmetkaID, “says Sörvik.

Huawei new technology partner?

At the moment, OTMETKA is committed to gaining its international breakthrough. The company has, among other things, signed an agreement with the French global certification company Bureau Veritas to build a complete Blockchain solution from the forest through the sawmill industry to the end customer. Recently, IKEA Home Decoration giant IKEA has invited OTMETKA to IKEA Bootcamp, as it will help ensure the origin of the raw material.

Through the Chinese embassy,  OTMETKA has also met with technology Huawei, which has several new technical solutions in the forest industry based on online mobile internet technology. Here, Bengt Sörvik hopes to collaborate to develop new products and services:

– Huawei is a strong technology partner with entrepreneurial spirit and global ambitions. We at OTMETKA can offer Huawei our deep knowledge in forest artificial intelligence, AI.

Back to the roots in China

OTMETKA has also taken the first contacts with the Bank of China, through  counselor of Commerce Mr. Han Xiaodong. Contacts with three Chinese forest organizations – China Wood Protection Industry Association, China Timber & Wood Distribution Association and China National Forest Products Industry Association – have been taken.

– It would be fun if our various taken Chinese contacts could be developed into business and technical cooperation. My father was born in Shanghai in 1921 when my grandfather worked at the Swedish company Ekmanska Handelshuset in the city. I myself participated in the 1987 Swedish Mount Everest expedition from the north side, an official expedition with the invitation of the Chinese authorities. We climbed almost the same route that the Great Chinese expedition made in 1963, says Sörvik.

In future, only charges provided by law could be collected from clients of health and social services

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 14(Greenpost)–The Government is proposing a new Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services that would apply to health and social services organised by counties. In future, only service charges provided by the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services could be collected from clients.

The aim is that the service charges would be reasonable and not prevent people from using the health and social services they need.

The client’s own county would charge the client. Counties could also charge less than the maximum fee, or let their residents use services free of charge. The client would always pay the same sum for the same service organised by the county, irrespective of who provided the service. The county would use the same client charges for services provided by the county itself and for services bought from other service providers against the client’s health and social services voucher or personal budget. The service provider would be allowed to charge for unattended appointments that had not been cancelled.

As before, there would fixed client charges and client charges based on the client’s ability to pay (income-related charges). When determining income-related charges, only the clients’ continuous, regular income would be taken into account, not their property. Regulations concerning forest income would remain unchanged.

Scope of application of payment ceiling becomes broader

The aim is not to change the level of the current annual payment ceiling (EUR 683). In future, the following costs would be included when calculating whether the client’s total costs reach the payment ceiling: appointment and processing charges for oral health services, charges for temporary home nursing and hospital at home, charges for prehospital emergency medical services, and charges paid from the person’s income support.

Providers would be allowed to charge the same sums for distance services as for services received during traditional appointments. Charges for distance services would be included in the client’s costs for the payment ceiling. Payment practices in primary services and specialised services would be harmonised. In future, each appointment to a doctor, nurse or therapist would be charged separately, as well as each appointment for serial treatment.

The obligation to monitor when the client reaches the payment ceiling would be transferred from the client to the county.

The provision obliging to reduce or waive a charge would be made more effective and the provision would be extended to cover even the charges for short-term institutional healthcare. Clients should be informed about the possibility to apply for payment reduction. Payment reduction would be preferred rather than granting income support.

Free-of-charge health services to minors and for preventive purposes

In future, health services to minors would always be free of charge. The change would also apply to institutional healthcare and specialised medical care.

As before, preventive services would mainly be free of charge. Appointments to outpatient care services relating to mental health and substance abuse problems would be free of charge.

Charging criteria for home care, service housing and institutional care will be harmonised

The Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services would lay down charges for long-term service housing. In the same connection, the principles for income-related charges for long-term or continuous and regular services would be harmonised.

Continuous and regular home care would be comparable to ordinary long-term service housing because both arrangements bring services to the clients’ homes and the clients do not need services 24 hours a day. The income limits for home care charges would be raised.

Long-term service housing with 24-h assistance would be considered equal to long-term institutional care as both service arrangements provide clients with intensive 24-hour care. The Act would require that a client shall have at least EUR 160 at his or her personal disposal in service housing with 24-h assistance. In institutional care, the sum is EUR 108.

The Act is scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2021.

People found guilty of serious offences could in future lose their Finnish citizenship

In future, people found guilty of certain serious offences could lose their Finnish citizenship. Such offences would include treason, high treason and offences against the vital interests of Finland committed with terrorist intent. The Government submitted a proposal to amend the Nationality Act to Parliament on 5 December.

An individual could lose their citizenship only if they are also a citizen of another country and have sufficient de facto ties to their other country of citizenship. Finnish citizens by birth could also lose their citizenship.

“Individuals convicted of treason and terrorist crimes have lost their loyalty to Finland and the Finnish people. In such cases, even the loss of citizenship would, under certain conditions, be justified,” says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.

According to the proposal, an individual could lose their Finnish citizenship if found guilty of an offence against the vital interests of the state for which the most severe punishment provided is at least eight years of imprisonment. Such offences include compromising Finland’s right to self-determination, incitement to war, treason and espionage. The loss of citizenship would also require the individual to have been sentenced to at least five years of unconditional imprisonment.

A person could also lose their citizenship if they are convicted of an offence with terrorist intent, such as a breach of the prohibition on chemical weapons, aggravated trafficking in human beings, hostage taking, a nuclear explosive offence, kidnapping or killing. A further condition is that the crime in question was committed against the vital interests of Finland.

The Finnish Immigration Service would decide on the annulment of citizenship based on the criminal conviction

The decision on the annulment of citizenship would be made by the Finnish Immigration Service. The decision could be made based on a legally valid criminal conviction issued in Finland. The individual could appeal against the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service to an administrative court.

The proposed amendment is part of the Government’s action plan on asylum policy, according to which measures will be taken to criminalise participation in the activities of any organisation classified by the UN and the EU as a terrorist organisation, travelling abroad with intent to commit a terrorist offence and the funding of such travel. After this, measures will be taken to lay down provisions on the possibility of annulling the Finnish citizenship of people with dual citizenship who have participated in terrorist activities.

 

Government proposes new powers for police to intervene in use of drones in certain cases

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 8(Greenpost)–The police need greater powers to intervene in the use of unmanned aircraft, or drones. At the moment, the police have a limited capability to respond to security threats caused by drones. On 8 November, the Government submitted to Parliament a proposal for amending the Police Act, according to a statement from the government reaching here.

“Unmanned aircraft systems have become very popular, and this has created new kinds of security threats for which we aim to prepare with this proposal. Drones can be used for preparing or committing offences, such as covert filming or photography or industrial espionage. In addition, inexperienced or reckless drone users may pose a risk to their environment,” says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.

In future, the police could intervene in the use of drones when this is necessary to maintain public order and security, for example. Greater powers are also necessary for preventing offences and safeguarding significant state events.

The aim of the proposal is improve safety and security in society. The police could, if necessary, intervene in the use of drones by using force or such technical equipment that helps to disturb the connection between the drone and its remote control system or to take over control of the drone remotely. The police could forbid the use of drones, for example at the scene of an accident to prevent drones equipped with cameras being used to take photos or videos of victims of the accident and/or to prevent the disturbance of the work of the authorities.

Prime Minister Sipilä says to engage China and US while meeting EU president Jean-Claude Juncker

 By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 8 (Greenpost)–Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker met today, on 8 November, in Helsinki, according to a statement from government office reaching here.

In their meeting, Sipilä and Juncker had a wide-ranging discussion on the development of the EU and the challenges it will face in the future. The leaders also discussed Finland’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as the country’s priorities for the Commission’s new five-year work programme.

Sipilä and Juncker’s discussions focused on topics including the EU’s measures to respond to migration, questions concerning international trade and the development of the EU’s internal markets.

“When it comes to migration, we must focus above all dealing with the root causes and engaging in cooperation with the countries of origin. We also need more effective control of the EU’s external borders, including reform of the Common European Asylum System. During its Presidency term, Finland is committed to continue seeking a way forward in migration issues in a pragmatic and result-oriented manner,” commented Prime Minister Sipilä.

Sipilä and Juncker agreed that strengthening the rules-based international system of trade must continue to be a top priority of the EU’s trading policy.

“The EU has to maintain its leading role in modernising the World Trade Organization (WTO).  At the same time, we must work to engage the United States and China in this process,” Prime Minister Sipilä said.

Prime Minister Sipilä and European Commission President Juncker also discussed the development of the EU’s defence cooperation and preparedness for hybrid threats, the status of the Brexit negotiations, cooperation between the EU and Africa, climate issues and the EU’s new multiannual financial framework.

In addition to European Commission President Juncker, Sipilä met today, on 8 November, with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Today’s discussions were part of a series of meetings leading up to Finland’s term as President of the Council of the European Union. Prime Minister Sipilä will meet with the heads of all EU Member States before the start of Finland’s Presidency term.

Inquiries: 

Arctic Council meeting of environment ministers ends with talks about future cooperation

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 13(Greenpost)– The Arctic Environment Ministers’ meeting held in Rovaniemi 11-12 October ended with discussions about cooperation in addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and preventing pollution in the Arctic region.
The two-day meeting brought together ministers and high-level representatives from the eight Arctic Council States and from six Permanent Participants representing the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. The Observer countries and organisations of the Arctic Council had also been invited.

Many participants noted with grave concern the rapid ongoing changes in the Arctic confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming. The IPCC acknowledges that the Arctic is warming two to three times faster than the global average. Many countries presented their national actions, including plans to speed up the reductions of the greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions as well as reducing emissions through innovation. Observer states were invited to strengthen their actions to reduce black carbon emissions. The need to increase cooperation on adaptation in order to strengthen the resilience in changing climate was discussed.

Participants welcomed the Agreement to prevent unregulated commercial fishing on the High Seas of the Central Arctic Ocean signed on 3 October in Greenland. In order to strengthen ecosystem resilience in changing conditions, measures and mainstreaming are needed to promote ecosystem-based approaches to management, and conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; cooperation to develop a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in collaboration with indigenous peoples and reduce marine plastic litter was highlighted by many. It was noted that international cooperation is needed to address long-range pollution that ends up in the Arctic region, including new emerging contaminants. The need to strengthen and sustain Arctic monitoring and observations, and use the best available scientific and Indigenous knowledge was discussed.

“On behalf of Finland’s Chairmanship, I wish to thank the Member States, Permanent Participants and Working Groups of the Arctic Council for their valuable inputs in preparing for this meeting and what we have now achieved”, said the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Mr. Kimmo Tiilikainen. Finland also announced its support for international and regional collaboration on reducing black carbon emissions. The preparation of the summary of the meeting by the Finnish Chairmanship will continue in cooperation with the Arctic States and Permanent Participants.

This was the first meeting of the Arctic Council Environment Ministers in five years. The outcome of the meeting will be shared with the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting to be held in May 2019 and contribute to future environmental cooperation of the Arctic Council.

source: Finlands environment ministry government.fi.

今日头条:北极监督评估署发布北冰洋海水酸化的社会经济影响报告

北欧绿色邮报网报道(记者陈雪霏)–北极监督评估署9日发布信息称北冰洋海水继续酸化将会对当地乃至全球未来几十年的生态和社会经济产生重大影响。

这是在2018年北极生物多样性大会上发布的酸化评估报告。报告指出,由于全球温室气体排放造成了化学,生物和社会经济的影响。不断提升的酸化条件可能通过各种方式来影响海洋生物。 有些生物可能在低的PH值情况下变形增长。也可能是食物链结构或者是肉食动物的关系等会发生变化。

The continuing acidification of the Arctic Ocean is projected to have significant ecological and socio‐economic impacts over coming decades, with consequences both for local communities and globally. This is the overarching finding of the 2018 Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment, presented today at the 2018 Arctic Biodiversity Congress. The assessment, conducted by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of the Arctic Council, updates a 2013 assessment, and presents the chemical, biological and socio‐economic impacts of ocean acidification, which is driven primarily by global greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly acidic ocean conditions can affect marine organisms in a variety of ways. Some may experience altered growth, development or behavior if exposed to low pH at certain life stages. Others may experience indirect effects, such as changes in their food web structures or predator–prey relationships. Falling ocean pH levels – which are changing most quickly in the Arctic – are acting in tandem with other environmental stressors, such as rising air and sea temperatures, to drive significant changes in marine ecosystems, with impacts on the communities that depend upon them. While some organisms will benefit and others will suffer negative effects, we can expect a complex array of impacts on marine ecosystems. To better understand the socio‐ economic consequences of these impacts, AMAP commissioned a series of regionally focused case studies to examine how shifts in ocean chemistry may affect valuable ocean resources and northern economies. The assessment presented the findings from five case studies:  Norwegian kelp and sea urchins: This study modeled how ocean acidification and warming might impact yields of sea urchins, of which there are large and currently unexploited stocks off the coast of northern Norway. The model simulations found that harvest yields declined sevenfold over the next 30 years, with warmer sea temperatures as the main driver, but with effects exacerbated by acidification.  Barents Sea cod: The case study developed a model to examine the combined effects of fishing, warming, and acidification on cod, which has been a commercially important fishery for centuries. It found that ocean acidification greatly increases the risk of the collapse of the fishery compared with the risk it faces from ocean warming alone.  Greenland shrimp fishery: Shrimp accounts for between one third and a half of the value of Greenland’s fisheries. This study involved building a bio‐economic model to better understand how the fishery might respond to acidification and other environmental stressors, and the socio‐economic implications of those changes. It showed that uncertainty at all stages of analysis, from the rate of acidification, to its biological, ecological and economic impacts, meant such modeling is of limited value. Nonetheless, it illustrates that actions can be taken to better manage stocks and build community resilience in the face of uncertainty.  Alaska’s fishery sector: Researchers developed an index to measure risk faced by different regions within Alaska from ocean acidification, the first time such an exercise has been conducted focused on a high‐latitude region such as the US state. It found uneven impacts, with southern Alaska facing the greater risk, due to its dependence on susceptible species, forecast rapid changes in chemical conditions in the region, and its low levels of socio‐economic resilience.  Arctic cod in Western Canadian Arctic: While it is not commercially fished, Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida, also termed polar cod) is a key forage species for the food web that supports the region’s Indigenous communities, and there is already evidence of its distribution shifting northwards as the ocean rapidly warms. Modeling and analysis tools were combined with observations to identify the potential effects of climate change and ocean acidification, finding they will likely cause significant changes in species composition in the region. Overall, the case studies show that effects of acidification, in combination with other stressors, are highly uncertain. This uncertainty underscores the urgent need for increased monitoring in the region, and for research that looks at the effects on species of a number of environmental stressors acting in combination. It is not only ecosystems and societies in the Arctic that are set to be impacted by ocean acidification in the region. The assessment also reviewed evidence that low‐pH waters are being exported to shelf regions of the North Atlantic, which are biologically productive and support important commercial fisheries. ENDS

Prime Minister Sipilä prepares for Finland’s EU Presidency during visit to Portugal

Finland to send abroad four ambassadors of education and research

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, SEPT. 29(Greenpost) — The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are working together to increase the visibility of Finnish competence at four destinations abroad. The first ambassadors of Finnish education and research, or Team Finland Knowledge experts, have been appointed to Buenos Aires, Beijing, Singapore and Washington.

The Team Finland Knowledge experts will promote Finnish educational and research cooperation and the exports of Finnish knowledge, expertise and educational innovation. The experts will be working at Finnish Embassies as part of the Team Finland country teams as of 1 October. First, they will undergo training in Finland.

“The aim is a more open and international Finland. The first four ambassadors of education, research and education export will boost internationalisation and exports and reinforce Finland’s reputation as a leading country in education, science and innovation,” says Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

“Next year the Team Finland Knowledge network will expand as we will be sending our representatives to Pretoria, Moscow and New Delhi. Other postings will be discussed later on,” the Minister says.

Emilia Ahvenjärvi was appointed to Buenos Aires from the post of an expert of education export at the University of Lapland. She has also worked at EduCluster Finland and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and as an education expert in Latin America.

Mari-Anna Suurmunne, who was selected to represent the network in Beijing, was Head of International Relations at Aalto University. She has also worked as Director of International Relations at Helsinki School of Economics and as an expert at the Embassy of Canada to Finland.

Anna Korpi, who will be heading out to Singapore, worked as a Director at EduCluster Finland. She was in charge of EduCluster’s East and Southeast Asia operations in 2014–2017. She has also worked for Jyväskylä Joint Authority for Education as Development Coordinator and for UniServices Ltd.

Ilkka Turunen was appointed to Washington from the post of Senior Ministerial Adviser to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture. He has also served as Secretary-General of the Research and Innovation Council and worked at the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy where he was responsible for international cooperation in higher education, among other tasks. Turunen has worked as Counsellor in Finland’s embassies in Paris and Brussels.

The Team Finland Knowledge experts are appointed for a three-year term, with the option of two additional years. They will be posted at Finnish Embassies.

The Team Finland Knowledge network will implement Finland’s policies to promote the internationalisation of higher education and research. The policy aims to build up the quality of Finnish higher education and research, reach a globally acknowledged pioneering position by 2025 and boost the exports of Finnish knowledge, expertise and educational innovation

China and Finland Promote Cultural and Tourism to Improve Trade and Tourism Industry

 By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

 Zhai Yuhu, Vice Director of Hebei Tourism Development Commission said Hebei province has great advantages and rich cultural and tourism resources. The Great Wall is in Hebei  which embraces both the beach and the mountains as well as skiing site in Zhangjiakou where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.
He said the purpose of this visit was to implement the strategic decision between the two countries’ governments.
“In 2017, the governments of Finland and China made the decision to promote cultural exchange with an emphasis on Winter Olympic, energy and tourism,” said Hebei Tourism Development Committee representative Zhai Yu Hu.

The Tourism Development Committee of Hebei Province in association with the Chinese embassy in Helsinki and Visit Finland organised the tourism promotion conference.

The conference was held marking the year 2018 as the EU-China tourism year aimed at promoting the less-known tourist destinations in a proactive way.

Similar to  Finland, Hebei Province also enjoys great sightseeing and snow sport activities in winter. The province is an internationally renowned ice and snow sports and tourism resort in China. It has more than 80 skiing resorts, of which the largest one covers about 156 kilometres. In the 2017-2018 snow season the area received as many as 2.741 million visitors.

In an interview with Greenpost, Zhai Yuhu said that Finland has  long been known as an experienced country in ice and snow activities and sports, Hebei Tourism Development Committee likes to learn from Finland. Besides, the province also aims at knowing more about winter sports equipment from Finnish companies to elevate itself to the international level in terms of manufacturing them.

Zhai Yu Hu said that Hebei  has similar geographical features as Finland, having great forests and a large number of lakes. Embracing the capital city of Beijing and other neighbouring municipalities and facing the Bohai Sea with a 487km coastal line, Hebei Province enjoys great advantages in attracting tourists.

The province  has a variety of top tourism attractions, from the famous Great Wall, world-recognised geological parks and national reserves to the thousand-year historical complex of imperial gardens, ancient palaces and graveyards and temples, it is really worthwhile to visit,  said Zhai Yu Hu.

Apart from a tourism promotion framework, Hebei also has a trade facilitation policy that allows 144-hour visa-free transit for visitors from 53 countries and tax rebate on shopping departures for overseas tourists. A new international airport near Hebei province will open to operation next year to facilitate travel.

Guo Xiaoguang, Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki also spoke at the conference. He said China and Finland are really not far away from each other because there is only one country between the two countries, that is Russia.

Guo said that tourism is the best means to increase mutual understanding between the two countries. Therefore, the Chinese embassy to Finland also acts as a bridge between the agencies and companies of Finland and China in accelerating tourism cooperation.

To date, the Finnish national flag carrier Finnair has launched five direct flights from Helsinki to five different cities in China, thereby considerably increasing the number of Finnish tourists to China in recent years, while also adding a large number of Chinese visitors to Finland. Guo again and again introduced Hebei’s famous tourist destinations and warmly welcome Finnish tourists to visit Hebei.

The official tourism promotion board, Visit Finland representative Teemu Ahola, said currently Finnish officials are in China discussing further cooperation between China and Finland in snow sports in 2019 based on Xi jinping’s last year’s visit result.  In December this year,   Finland will go to Zhangjiakou to organise an opening event of the Winter Olympics 2022, which might become a good opportunity for promoting cooperation in sports and tourism between the two countries.

In an interview with Greenpost, Teemu Ahola said China is the fifth largest tourism market for Finnish tourism industry. They really like to tap the great potential of it and will organize promotion activities in China too.

During the promotion conference, the two sides also signed further agreements in deeper cooperation in the future.

About 100 people attended the event.

Finland is trying to improve referral of radicalised persons to services

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 20(Greenpost)–Finland is trying to deal with radicalisation of youths and others and refer them to various services, according to senior specialist Milla Perukangas who leads the project.
Radicalisation is not a crime, but when it leads to violence, a radicalised person may be a threat to other people and society. The challenge is how to deal with radicalised persons who cannot be subjected to measures under the Criminal Code. The effective prevention of violent radicalisation requires not only that the police can take the necessary measures but also that the person can be referred to other relevant services, if necessary.