Speaker of Parliament Paula Risikko hopes that the world would come to appreciate the unique skills and expertise of people living in the Arctic.
"Here, you can see children playing outside in -40 degrees, because we have learned to make children's clothing for a cold environment. You can see cars driving on frozen lakes, because we have developed technologies for winter conditions. You can have access to healthcare through telemedicine in your own home," Risikko listed examples in her speech to the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in Inari on 17 October.
"The people of the Arctic are resourceful and tough. They have managed to live and prosper in this demanding region. And this gives us all hope."
Risikko reminded the Conference that the Arctic climate is warming at a rate double that of the global average. Extreme weather conditions and the thawing of permafrost and ice endanger many traditional livelihoods, even as the warming climate may open up new economic opportunities. As its threats outweigh the benefits, efforts are needed to slow down climate change and mitigate its effects.
"As Arctic Parliamentarians your role is important; you can guide the work of your national parliaments and of the Arctic Council, ask them to be ambitious. If we can continue to work together here in the Arctic, as neighbours and as friends, we have a chance to do good."