Quick Facts

Arctic Territory
Northern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Lapland

Arctic Population
180,000 (Lapland), 5,500,000 (Finland)

Arctic Indigenous Peoples

Finland and the Arctic Region

While Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region 2013 defines the entire country as Arctic, nearly one-third of the country’s land mass lies above the Arctic Circle in the province of Lapland. Despite its vast size, Lapland is sparsely populated with just under 180,000 inhabitants, while Finland’s total population exceeds 5,500,000.

Finland has contributed expertise and modern technology to industries such as Arctic construction, Arctic environmental technology and the development of Arctic infrastructure, transportation and navigation in ice-covered waters. It also houses various Arctic research and educational programs and institutions. Several biological research stations are located in Lapland, where Arctic ecology is studied. The Arctic Centre, an institute affiliated to the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, carries out interdisciplinary research on the effects of global changes and on the natural balance of Arctic nature and Arctic societies. The University of Oulu has a research focus on Arctic medical sciences. Arctic-related issues are also included in teaching and research programs of many other higher education institutions in Finland.

Indigenous Peoples

The Saami are an Indigenous people who live in Sápmi, an area that stretches across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Saami population is estimated between 50,000 and 80,000, with approximately 10,500 located in Finland. The preservation of the Saami’s languages and culture is governed by an autonomous Saami parliament in Inari, Finland.

Finland in the Arctic Council

Specifically, during its first chairmanship, Finland’s priorities included:

  • Sustainable development in the Arctic
  • Capacity building to increase the ability at all levels of society to access and manage different capital resources to develop sustainably
  • Promoting decision-making based on science informed by traditional knowledge

Throughout its most recent chairmanship, Finland’s priorities included:

  • Environmental protection, including the exchange of information on best practices and emerging technologies to promote sustainable and responsible development in the Arctic
  • Enhancing the connectivity and availability of broadband services in the Arctic
  • Developing circumpolar meteorological and oceanographic cooperation to improve public safety, benefit international shipping and air traffic and enhance Arctic climate science
  • Enhancing fair educational opportunities in the Arctic by strengthening the network of education specialists in cooperation with the University of the Arctic

Key accomplishments

  • Under the Finish Chairmanship, the country drove actions to enhance the Arctic Council’s relations with its Observers by encouraging Observers to present their work during special sessions organized at SAO plenary meetings, which allowed participants to share information and expertise, and develop closer collaboration between the Council’s subsidiary bodies and partners
  • Finland assisted in the establishment of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, which brought together scientists, policymakers, government officials, Indigenous peoples, students, industry and civil society representatives to discuss challenges facing Arctic biodiversity and actions for conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic’s living resources
  • Before the official conception of the Arctic Council, Finland took the initiative in commencing organized cooperation among the eight arctic countries for the protection of the Arctic environment. This initiative led to the historic Ministerial Conference in Rovaniemi in 1991, which was the first ministerial meeting of the Arctic countries and started a continuous collaboration known as the "Rovaniemi Process".




Next Arctic Council Chairmanship: 2033-2035

Petteri Vuorimäki
Petteri Vuorimäki
Senior Arctic Official; Ambassador, Arctic and Antarctic Affairs - Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

Anna Yletyinen

Deputy Senior Arctic Official; Counsellor, Arctic and Antarctic Affairs - Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

Featured Projects

Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

Reducing the negative impacts of marine litter, including microplastics, to the Arctic marine environment.

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)

SAON's vision is a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic Observing System that serves societal needs.
Drone Photography by: Sara Wilde

Project CREATeS

Inviting youth to engage in a dialogue about suicide prevention by telling their own stories, supporting them to make these stories into digital stories, or short films.

Good Practices for impact assessments and engagement

Providing Arctic-specific recommendations for large-scale projects in the vulnerable and changing Arctic environment, while taking Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants into account.

Arctic Resilience Action Framework (ARAF)

Advancing a coordinated, regional approach to building resilience and adapting to rapid change.

Circumpolar Seabird Expert Group (CBird)

Since seabirds travel great distances over both marine and terrestrial environments, they are excellent indicators of overall ecosystem health.

Solid Waste Management in Small Arctic Communities

Providing in-person and online resources to address the unique needs of Arctic communities, from planning to implementation of solid waste management practices.

Local 2 Global

Circumpolar collaboration for suicide prevention and mental wellness

Arctic Children: Preschool and School Education

Providing the children of nomadic Indigenous Peoples with knowledge and skills
Photo: Hjalti Hreinsson

Gender Equality in the Arctic

An international collaborative project focusing on gender equality in the Arctic
Photo: iStock / RyersonClark

One Arctic, One Health

A theoretical concept and practical approach for developing and sustaining broad interdisciplinary collaboration – to identify, prevent, and mitigate health risks in humans, animals and the environmen...
USGS / M. Torre Jorgenson

Biosecurity in the Arctic

Supporting public health systems and public services in implementing a quick response to current and future biological threats related to the uncontrolled spread of highly virulent pathogens, parasite...
Arctic Council logo

Sustainable Development Goals in the Arctic

Developing tools to apply SDGs in the Arctic
Harald Finkler

Arctic Food Innovation Cluster

Pulling together relevant people in the Arctic foods value chain for a cluster-based approach to food production and regional economic development.
Arctic Council logo

Ecosystem Status, Human Impact and Management Measures in the Central Arctic Ocean

Synthesizing relevant information on the status, trends and projected changes in the Central Arctic Ocean, human activities and pressures in the area, and the current management measures in place in o...

Circumpolar Local Environmental Observer Network (CLEO)

Our world is changing rapidly, and local observers can detect subtle changes in weather, landscapes and seascapes, and in plant and animal communities.
Yannick Schutz / Arctic Council

Gender equality for a sustainable and prosperous Arctic

Assessing gender issues in the Arctic is a challenging and important step towards gender equality.
10 May 2021

Finding the nexus between water, energy and food in the Arctic

The Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council will launch the first water, energy and food nexus study in the Arctic. The project will identify intercon...
03 Dec 2020

Innovating the food industry on the top of the world

For millennia, food production has supported population growth, the development of towns and cities, trade and other elements essential to successful human development. Y...
11 Sep 2020
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