Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Adaptation to changes in the Arctic facilitated also by consideration of non-climate factors
In the Arctic region there is a lot of discussion about the opportunities, challenges and problems brought about by climate change, but the impact of non-climate factors is often overlooked. The impacts of climate change are closely linked to the overall socioeconomic development, and in many respects climate change is not always the most significant factor causing changes in the Arctic.
To further improve the adaptive capacity of Finland we should focus more on the impacts of interactions between the environment, climate and societal changes. This is the opinion of the researchers stated in the report “Barentsin alue muuttuu – miten Suomi sopeutuu?” (“Changing Barents Region - How will Finland adapt?”).
The researchers have assessed the changes to be expected in different sectors, such as reindeer husbandry, forestry, agriculture, tourism and mining, and the opportunities of Finland to adapt to these. The report also examines what the legislative, economic, cultural and political changes mean for the Saami people and with regard to the health, living environment and wellbeing of the residents of the Barents region.
The researchers point out that adaptation requires closer regional cooperation to enable to produce information and exchange experiences among the various actors in the region and promote understanding of the interactions of the changes. Adaptation also requires more varied and broadly-based thinking across sectoral borders.
How can the different types of economic activities survive, or even benefit from the changes? All this may lead to increased business cooperation, pluriactivity and labour synergies across the borders of fields of business and economic sectors, as well as decentralised instead of centralised systems.
Besides cooperation more active and anticipatory approach to the development of the means for adaptation is needed, and these means need to be introduced locally and regionally. Instead of uniform, centrally-led mass initiatives the solutions have to be culturally appropriate and flexible.
The report “Barentsin alue muuttuu – miten Suomi sopeutuu?” (“Changing Barents Region - How will Finland adapt?”) was published on 28 February 2017. The report was compiled as part of the implementation of the Government plan for analysis, assessment and research 2014 in cooperation between researchers from the University of Lapland, Finnish Environment Institute, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland and University of Oulu.
The report was drawn up in the project Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic AACA of the Arctic Council and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme AMAP. The report on adaptation in the Barents region is to be published in the English language in spring 2017.
Further information about the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities at tietokayttoon.fi.
Inquiries: Monica Tennberg, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, monica.tennberg(at)ulapland.fi