Finland highlights young people as priority for presidency of Barents Euro-Arctic Council

2021-11-16 18:05:06 GMT2021-11-17 02:05:06(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HELSINKI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Finland outlined on Tuesday its policy program for its two-year stint at the helm of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC).

Addressing the Arctic Spirit Conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said his country would focus on protecting biodiversity, dialogue with youth and indigenous people, and sustainable transportation.

"Fragile ecosystems in the North are at high risk, as a result of climate change, land use and the entry of foreign species," Haavisto said. He described the Kunming declaration on biodiversity in China in October as "hope on the horizon."

As a practical measure to ensure that the global transition to sustainable transport also takes place in the Arctic, Finland will prepare a program on the availability of electric car charging in the Barents area, including an initiative for a supercharger network in areas with low population levels.

"So far the network of electric chargers is sparse in the North," Haavisto said. Finland also plans to encourage cross-border bus connections.

Haavisto welcomed recent decisions at a BEAC foreign ministers meeting in Norway, including the creation of the Barents Financial Mechanism to support local projects.

The BEAC was established at Norway's initiative, via the Kirkenes Declaration in 1993. The objective of the Council is to promote stability and sustainable development in the Barents region, which covers the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia.

However, security policy matters and marine cooperation are not dealt with under Barents cooperation. Enditem