Ambassador Gustaf Lind presented the Swedish strategy for the Arctic at a seminar in the Swedish Parliament. The climate and the environment, economic development and the human dimension are the most important points in the new strategy, which has not yet been officially launched in its entirety.
Arctic Ambassador, Gustaf Lind, and Chair of the Swedish delegation to the Nordic Council, Karin Åström. Photographer Sofie Trosell
The Swedish Arctic Ambassador described the Nordic Council as a major player making it clear that increased collaboration is important both within the Arctic Council and between the council and other organisations. The Nordic countries co-operate on Arctic issues, both at government and parliamentary level.
"The Nordic countries' interests do not always coincide in the Arctic. For example, Norway and Greenland have an interest in exploiting oil and gas resources in the region and in Sweden there are plans to increase mining. What we have in common is that we want the resources to be extracted in an environmentally responsible manner and that the population of the region will play a role", said Karin Åström, Chair of the Nordic Council's Swedish delegation.
Sweden takes over the Presidency of the Arctic Council in mid-May. The Swedish Presidency will place great emphasis on communication, to spread the message of what the Arctic is and what the Arctic Council is doing.
"Sweden thinks the Arctic Council is a key player that should broaden its mandate", said Gustaf Lind.
The Sami Parliament's President, Ingrid None, wants to see a new leadership in the Arctic, which allows the indigenous people real participation.
"The eight states of the Arctic Council must work with indigenous organisations, a formalized co-operation is essential", she stressed.
In May, Sweden takes over chairmanship of the Arctic Council. At the same time a new Swedish policy for the Arctic is underway.
A panel of representatives from science, industry, indigenous people and cultural life commented on the overall presentation of the upcoming Swedish strategy. The panel agreed that the human dimension, that the people who live in the Arctic should be able to continue to live and work there, is critical to the region's future.
"The area of the Arctic should be just as much a subject as an object, there must be no question of any form of colonisation. Those who live there have to be heard and have influence", said Peter Sköld, Professor at Umeå University who works at the Centre for Sami Research.