Category Archives: Finland

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.

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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.

Climate change calls for new solutions in the Arctic

French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly to visit Finland

Greenpost.se.Aug.20–French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly will make an official visit to Finland on 23 August 2018. The visit will be hosted by Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö.

The ministers will discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, the security situation in the Baltic Sea region, materiel cooperation and current matters related to international cooperation. The agenda will also include the Finnish conscription system and crisis management cooperation, in particular the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

An inspection of the guard of honour and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hietaniemi cemetery are also included in minister Parly’s programme. The FDrench minister is also to visit the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (HybridCoE).

During her visit, minister Parly is also scheduled to meet the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.

Finland continues to help Sweden fight forest fires

Nordic ministers discussed infrastructure financing

STOCKHOLM, June 26(Greenpost) — Infrastructure financing is undergoing a fundamental change, where relying on public budgetary resources alone is not a sustainable option. It is important to find new financial instruments and practices to enable efficient infrastructure development on a long-term basis, according to a statement from Finland.

Such new instruments were explored in the seminar “Rethinking Infrastructure Financing in the Nordics”.

The participants included the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Icelandic Minister of Transport and Local Government and Nordic Cooperation Sigurdur Ingi Jóhannsson, and Director-General Ola Nordlander from the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

“A well-functioning and up-to-date infrastructure is a prerequisite for competitiveness. Any delays or failures in the projects may cause substantial economic and social costs. It is most natural for us to work together to find the best practices,” says Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland Anne Berner.

“Infrastructures in the Nordic countries have a lot in common. Being able to share our ideas and solutions is important to maximize the possibilities and utility from future projects. Getting the most out of the funds we invest in infrastructure is the key to building a transport system that fits future needs,” says Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Minister of Transport and Communications of Norway.

“It is very important not only to discuss the investment itself but also how to finance operation and maintenance. I am looking forward to learn about the views and experiences of the other Nordic Countries. Communications and transport are merging and the future is interesting,” says Sigurdur Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Transport and Local Government and Nordic Cooperation, Iceland.

What next?Discussion about the financial instruments continues among the Nordic countries. There are significant benefits to be gained in infrastructure financing especially from transboundary investments and coordinated transport policies.

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Minister Antti Häkkänen: International community must work harder to stop financial flows to terrorism

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Stockholm, April 27(Greenpost)–In order to fight terrorism we need to intervene in its financing, and international cooperation is required to achieve this, Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen said when speaking at a high-level conference in Paris today.
The conference dealt with measures to be taken by the international community to combat the financing of terrorism.

Around 80 states from all over the world and several international organisations attended the conference, which was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Criminalisation of financing of terrorism, firmly anchored in human rights, is an important and necessary means to prevent terrorist offences. However, this alone is not enough. The 80 countries from all over the world and the international organisations represented in this conference can together change the world by blocking the flow of money to terrorism. One of the most important ways to fight terrorism is to find the sources and channels of funding and then close them down as effectively as possible,” Häkkänen said.

Terrorism cannot be stopped without intensifying the international cooperation. According to Häkkänen, more effective international exchange of information is required to be able to trace financial flows all the way to their final destination.

“For instance, information requests on suspected terrorist financing should be processed by all states much faster than at the moment. In addition, we need to keep up with the constantly changing operating environment. Various unofficial, often anonymous and digital money transfer services make detecting and preventing terrorist financing very challenging,” Häkkänen said.

“Furthermore, we need more efficient and more extensive legal cooperation in criminal matters. Competent authorities in all states should respond to international requests for legal assistance without delay and cooperate as widely as possible. It is crucial that all countries present here today are committed to stepping up our collective efforts to fight the financing of terrorism.”

“An enormous amount of work is being carried out within the European Union to create a safe living environment for ordinary citizens. I also consider it important that the EU continues to be an active global actor that strives to deepen the international cooperation to fight terrorism,” Häkkänen said.

PM SipiläFinland and India have good opportunities for cooperation

STOCKHOLM, April 18(Greenpost) — Prime minister Juha Sipilä and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting in Stockholm.

The development of economic relations between the Nordic countries and India was the main theme in the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm on Tuesday 17 April. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä also held a bilateral meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including negotiations on trade relations between Finland and India and on promoting investment and other cooperation.

“Finland’s exports to India have grown over the past few years. Prime Minister Modi and I noted that opportunities for cooperation between our two countries exist especially in sectors such as energy, satellites and education. We have agreed to deepen cooperation in these fields and will hold further negotiations on concrete projects at the level of public officials, Prime Minister Sipilä said.

“I first met Prime Minister Modi in 2016 in India in conjunction with the Team Finland trade mission to India. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it is important for Finland to continue fostering good economic relations with India. There are many opportunities for cooperation,” observed Sipilä.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Sipilä also raised the importance of free trade; indeed, negotiations on free trade and investment protection agreements are on-going between the EU and India. Sipilä also stressed the importance of international cooperation in regard to climate change and counter-terrorism.

India interested in Nordic solutions

The initiative for the India-Nordic Summit of the prime ministers of the Nordic countries and India was made by India. The premiers of all five Nordic countries attended in the summit.

In the summit, Prime Minister Sipilä held an introductory presentation on the impact of innovations, digitalisation and artificial intelligence on trade and commerce, jobs and economic growth worldwide.

During Prime Minister Modi‘s premiership, India’s infrastructure, economy and society have been modernised. Economic growth in India is forecast to continue to at a rate of over 7% both this and next year. Last year, the value of goods exports from Finland to India amounted to EUR 532 million and the value of imports was EUR 340 million. Finland’s main export products are machinery and equipment as well as paper and cardboard. In 2017, our services exports totalled EUR 747 million and services imports amounted to EUR 534 million.

Sweden holds presidency of Nordic Council of Ministers this year

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini will attend the Nordic foreign ministers’ meeting in Stockholm from 17 to 18 April 2018, according to a statement from Finland’s government. 

The Nordic foreign ministers will discuss, among other things, topical UN affairs and international questions, such as North Korea and Syria, the development of transatlantic relations and Russia, Ukraine, and security in the North Atlantic. Topical EU issues will also be on the meeting agenda, including Brexit and the Western Balkans.

The Nordic foreign ministers meet approximately three times a year on the invitation of the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. This year, the Nordic Presidency is held by Sweden.