Peter Holst-Andersen is the Chair of the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group. He is the only Working Group Chair remaining in his position after Iceland has assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We revisited some statements he made as he first became EPPR Chair (read his first interview) and asked him for his ambitions and personal favorites.
Peter, you admitted having a crush on the Arctic. Was is it love at first sight?
My first trip to Greenland was in a cargo plane. Looking out of the very small windows and having a very difficult landing, it was a rather scary experience. But when the door opened and I saw the Greenlandic mountains, it was really love at first sight. It was an amazing view and I still very clearly remember it.
At the beginning of your first term as Chair of EPPR you stated that you wanted to make a difference – saving lives and protecting the environment. How close have you come towards this goal?
I think we are getting better at rescuing people and protecting the environment through the work we are doing in EPPR. It is a group of very dedicated professionals, and working with them and ensuring international cooperation benefits this goal.
What are your ambitions for your second term as EPPR Chair?
It is basic knowledge that we can’t do everything alone, we need to work together. So, my ambition is to increase the existing good cooperation. Of course, I will also help identifying projects that can assist us in our efforts to protect the environment and human lives.
Which EPPR activities should we keep an eye on during the next two years?
I think we have some very good ongoing projects. I have some personal favorites but representing the Arctic States and the Permanent Participants, I will have to stick to our work plan. Some of the projects that are really interesting are for example related to small communities, in which we work on and with small communities to improve their safety. We are also looking into nuclear disasters. We have done this before, but we are increasing this work over the next couple of years. So, keep an eye on those.
…what are your personal favorites?
I’m not sure I’m in a position to highlight my personal favorites, but I would say the small community projects make a lot of sense, because they are for the people living and working in the small communities in the Arctic region – and they do not have the same infrastructure as people in the capital areas of the Arctic states. These communities certainly can use the work we are doing.
View the full interview with Peter Holst-Andersen on the Arctic Council Vimeo channel.