Growing importance of Arctic regions
The importance of northern regions has increased enormously during the current decade. The Arctic region is experiencing a time of mighty upheavals due to climate change. The thawing of permafrost and frozen northern regions pose a huge threat for the whole world. Nevertheless, climate change facilitates further enhanced utilisation of the substantial natural resources in the region. The thawing of the northern ice regions opens up new marine connections between Asia and Europe.
Cooperation between nations is led by the Arctic Council that was founded in Rovaniemi back in 1991 at a ministerial meeting between Arctic nations, where forms of cooperation concerning the Arctic environment were specified. This so-called Rovaniemi Process formed the foundation for establishing the Arctic Council. In the Arctic strategy, Finland is specified as being an Arctic nation in its entirety. In its demarcation, the southern boundary for the Arctic region is the Lapland region boundary. Our town situated on the Arctic Circle has become an internationally renowned centre for expertise and research community of the Arctic region.
Arctic expertise is emphasised in the north, particularly with creativity, design expertise and the local attitude of taking prompt action. Strong foundations for research and education in the Arctic region. Strong hubs of competence are the University of Lapland and its Arctic Centre that specialises in Arctic research. The Lapland University of Applied Sciences provides education and conducts research pertaining to the Arctic region. The special area of expertise for the Lapland Institute for Tourism Research and Education is research and education for the Arctic travel industry. Research on the Arctic region is also conducted in Rovaniemi by the regional offices of national research bodies, such as the Geological Survey of Finland, Natural Resources Institute Finland, and Science Centre Pilke run by Metsähallitus.
The City of Rovaniemi has registered its trademark as the Arctic Design Capital®. At the very heart of the Arctic Design Capital® is the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Lapland, with Arctic design spectacularly showcased each year for residents and visitors alike with the Arctic Design Week event. Arctic Design Week is a member of the international World Design Weeks network.
Arctic Design is both industrial and service design. The largest production companies that utilise the industrial expertise of the University of Lapland are BRP Finland Oy and Lappset Oy. Arctic design also includes a wide variety of different objects, products and demonstrations of handicraft skills, all of which utilise raw materials sources from the Arctic region, such as wood, reindeer leather and bone, and gold found in Lapland. Arctic design also includes accommodation establishments that respect new era traditions, and naturally wintertime snow and ice construction.
Service design expertise is particularly utilised in Arctic tourism. Tourism in the regions has embraced sustainable development and accountability, thereby improving assurances for preserving the extremely sensitive nature of the Arctic. Nowadays, sustainable tourism not only covers the ecological perspective, but also cultural and social responsibility of the local population.
Construction and maintaining infrastructure can be rather challenging in Arctic conditions, but these are fields where northern enterprises have strong competence. Cold-air conditions also pose specific challenges for the development of the circular economy and environmental technologies. Rovaniemi is a renowned centre for cold-air and winter testing. For example, a number of vehicle manufacturers test their vehicles and components in Rovaniemi’s Arctic winter conditions.
Rovaniemi firmly believes in the future of the Arctic. The Northeast Passage submarine data cable connection project is commencing. This new submarine data cable will travel via Rovaniemi and link up telecommunications between Europe and Asia. Our long-standing wish is to continue rail traffic from Rovaniemi all the way up to the Arctic Ocean.