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Arctic Council accepts IAIA Global Award

28 April 2019
The Arctic Council is the recipient of the 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). Today, representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Environment accepted the prize on behalf of the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council at IAIA’s 39th Annual Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

In February the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) announced the Arctic Council as the recipient of its 2019 Global Award. The IAIA Award Committee honored the Arctic Council’s promotion of sustainable development and environmental protection and emphasizes the Finnish Chairmanship’s proposal for an Arctic environmental impact assessment tool.

On behalf of the Finnish Chairmanship, Seija Rantakallio and Päivi Karvinen from the Finnish Ministry of Environment accepted the Global Award in Brisbane today. Seija Rantakallio is a Ministerial Adviser and has been in charge of the enforcement and development of an Environmental Impact Assessment legislation in Finland. Päivi Karvinen was the coordinator of the “Good Practices for Environmental Impact Assessment and Meaningful Engagement in the Arctic” (Arctic EIA), a project carried out by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group during Finland’s Chairmanship.

In their joint acceptance speech, Seija Rantakallio and Päivi Karvinen emphasized the Council's appreciation of the award and quoted Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials: "In the field of Environmental Impact Assessment, the IAIA Global Award counts as a Nobel Prize."

Seija Rantakallio and Päivi Karvinen stated that the need for high-quality EIAs is even greater as economic activities in the Arctic region increase. “Environmental Impact Assessments have been carried out for decades, but the issue that still came to the fore in our Arctic EIA project is the interaction with the public. It needs to be taken to another level. Public participation must be transformed into meaningful engagement with the Arctic communities before, during and after the EIA”, they told the audience in Brisbane.

It is the eighteenth year IAIA hands out its Global Award. Previous recipients include Danish Institute of Human Rights, Prof. John Ruggie, C.S. “Buzz” Holling, and The World Bank.