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Today, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde, and European Commissioner Karmenu Vella released the following statement on the EU Arctic Forum held in Umeå (Sweden):
“In view of the challenges facing the Arctic due to global warming, the EU is strongly committed to helping the region adapt to climate change, protecting the environment and developing its economy in a sustainable way. We are delivering on this commitment in three practical ways: by investing in research and development, by protecting local ecosystems and biodiversity, and where appropriate, by building better infrastructure to connect the region to the mainland, including broadband connection.
The EU recognises the need to work closely with national, regional and local authorities in the European Arctic in this regard. The EU emphasises its commitment to facilitate Arctic stakeholder engagement in the European Arctic region.
With three EU Member States and two European Economic Area members being Arctic states, the EU has a strategic role and interest in the Arctic remaining a “low-tension–high cooperation” area. The EU promotes sustainable economic development in the Arctic region, based on the best available science and taking into account the impact on fragile ecosystems as well as the living conditions of local populations, in particular the indigenous peoples.
The EU is directly affected by climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, which profoundly alters living conditions in the Arctic and globally. Last week’s Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on oceans and the cryosphere has strongly reinforced the message that we need to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The EU is committed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
The EU will continue to contribute to international and regional cooperation in the Arctic through enhanced work on climate action and environmental research, sustainable development, as well as concrete cooperation with Arctic states, institutions, indigenous peoples and local communities.”
About the event
On 3-4 October, the Government of Sweden and the European Union are co-hosting the EU Arctic Forum in Umeå, Sweden. This two-day event gathers Ministers and other high-level representatives from Arctic countries and EU member states, senior officials from the European Commission and the European External Action Service, international organisations, business, science and local stakeholders to discuss developments in the Arctic. Part of the programme is the annual Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue. More than 600 participants from over 30 countries are attending the event.
The 2019 EU Arctic Forum will mainly discuss international cooperation, the climate-environment-ocean nexus, sustainable investments, and connectivity. It will inform the EU’s policy direction on Arctic issues post-2020.
The broad and senior level participation from Arctic stakeholders underscores the shared and longstanding commitment of the European Union and Sweden to the EU Arctic Policy.