Quick Facts

Arctic Territory
Northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Lapland

Arctic Population
180,000 (Lapland), 5,500,000 (Finland)

Arctic Indigenous Peoples
Saami

Finland and the Arctic Region

While Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region 2013 defines the entire country as Arctic, nearly one-third of the country’s land mass lies above the Arctic Circle in the province of Lapland. Despite its vast size, Lapland is sparsely populated with just under 180,000 inhabitants, while Finland’s total population exceeds 5,500,000.

Finland has contributed expertise and modern technology to industries such as Arctic construction, Arctic environmental technology and the development of Arctic infrastructure, transportation and navigation in ice-covered waters. It also houses various Arctic research and educational programs and institutions. Several biological research stations are located in Lapland, where Arctic ecology is studied. The Arctic Centre, an institute affiliated to the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, carries out interdisciplinary research on the effects of global changes and on the natural balance of Arctic nature and Arctic societies. The University of Oulu has a research focus on Arctic medical sciences. Arctic-related issues are also included in teaching and research programs of many other higher education institutions in Finland.

Indigenous Peoples

The Saami are an Indigenous people who live in Sápmi, an area that stretches across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Saami population is estimated between 50,000 and 80,000, with approximately 10,500 located in Finland. The preservation of the Saami’s languages and culture is governed by an autonomous Saami parliament in Inari, Finland.

Finland in the Arctic Council

Specifically, during its first chairmanship, Finland’s priorities included:

  • Sustainable development in the Arctic
  • Capacity building to increase the ability at all levels of society to access and manage different capital resources to develop sustainably
  • Promoting decision-making based on science informed by traditional knowledge

Throughout its most recent chairmanship, Finland’s priorities included:

  • Environmental protection, including the exchange of information on best practices and emerging technologies to promote sustainable and responsible development in the Arctic
  • Enhancing the connectivity and availability of broadband services in the Arctic
  • Developing circumpolar meteorological and oceanographic cooperation to improve public safety, benefit international shipping and air traffic and enhance Arctic climate science
  • Enhancing fair educational opportunities in the Arctic by strengthening the network of education specialists in cooperation with the University of the Arctic

Key accomplishments

  • Under the Finish Chairmanship, the country drove actions to enhance the Arctic Council’s relations with its Observers by encouraging Observers to present their work during special sessions organized at SAO plenary meetings, which allowed participants to share information and expertise, and develop closer collaboration between the Council’s subsidiary bodies and partners
  • Finland assisted in the establishment of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, which brought together scientists, policymakers, government officials, Indigenous peoples, students, industry and civil society representatives to discuss challenges facing Arctic biodiversity and actions for conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic’s living resources
  • Before the official conception of the Arctic Council, Finland took the initiative in commencing organized cooperation among the eight arctic countries for the protection of the Arctic environment. This initiative led to the historic Ministerial Conference in Rovaniemi in 1991, which was the first ministerial meeting of the Arctic countries and started a continuous collaboration known as the "Rovaniemi Process".

Chairmanships

2000-2002

2017-2019

Next Arctic Council Chairmanship: 2033-2035

Petteri Vuorimäki
Petteri Vuorimäki
Senior Arctic Official; Ambassador, Arctic and Antarctic Affairs - Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

Anna Yletyinen

Deputy Senior Arctic Official; Counsellor, Arctic and Antarctic Affairs - Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland
@ayletyinen

Introducing the new CAFF Chair: “The Arctic is important for everyone”

Dr. Mia Rönkä is an ecologist, science editor and journalist, writer, poet and the new Chair of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF). The leadi...
05 Jul 2021

“Plastic in a Bottle” afloat again

In September 2019, the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group launched its first “Plastic in a Bottle”, a capsule equipped with...
23 Jun 2021

Gender equality for a sustainable and prosperous Arctic

Assessing gender issues in the Arctic is a challenging and important step towards gender equality.
10 May 2021
See all