From: High North News
Those of us who deeply care about the Arctic Council and the future of the Arctic should be aware of what is happening and should do our utmost to speak for the values the Arctic Council represents, urges Timo Koivurova, former advisor to the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
For a long time, many of us observing Arctic affairs have been using the term Rovaniemi Arctic spirit when we refer to Arctic international co-operation. It aims to capture the sentiment that it is in this region that Arctic states can foster peace and international co-operation, even if there are tensions between their overall relations. This spirit is now in danger, and I will explain why. As a scholar who has studied the Arctic international co-operation from the mid-1990s, we have now reached a stage where we need to have serious discussions about what is happening in the region – are we losing the Rovaniemi Arctic spirit, and, if so, in what way?
My own experience stems from the Finnish chairmanship of the Arctic Council between 2017 and 2019. Not only did I play multiple roles in implementing that chairmanship, but also I interviewed all the key civil servants and diplomats who were in charge of various aspects of the Finnish chairmanship.