First day of Jokkmokk Winter Conference 2013

After welcome and presentation of the JWC reference group we had the pleasure to listen to an interview on climate and energy strategies in the North with Lena Ek (Minister of Environment, Sweden), Audun Garberg (Political Advisor for the Ministry of Environment, Norway), Mika Flöjt (City Council Kuusamo, Finland), Stefan Mikaelsson (Chairman of Sami Parliament, Sweden) and Marianne Balto (Sami Parliament, Norway). Anna Hövenmark asked the panel questions.Lena Ek, Minister of Environment, Sweden

Lena Ek spoke of the importance of Ecosystem services and how nations and states should look at our balance sheet as well as results sheet (like stock market companies do).  According to Lena, nations tend to only look at the results and not the recourses we have got. The natural recourses and ecosystem services should be included in the budget says Lena, who is on her way to a meeting with the Ministers of Environment for the member states of the Arctic Council to discuss these type of questions, including ecosystem based management of the Arctic, the resilience of the Arctic, and short lived climate pollutants.

On the question “What message they can give to young people who are deeply concerned about climate change” all the interviewees agreed that there is a very serious situation. However, Audun and Lena pointed out a number of good things that are happening. For example the development of renewable energy in Germany, an impressive decrease in emission levels from new cars in Norway, and in Sweden a decision on a fossil free transport fleet 2030 and net zero emissions 2050. According to Lena this is possible and we need to take action.

Sefan Mikaelsson didn’t think this is enough and that we must stop consuming natural recourses at the rate we are doing today – we need food not minerals.  Marianne Balto says we should include indigenous people more in the discussion and learn from their knowledge on how to live with nature.

Marianne Balto and Stefan Mikaelsson

On the question on how to include young people in the decision process Mika Flöjt gave a good example from Kuusamo: The Youth Municipal Council is a common practice in Finish municipalities and a place where young people are engaged in these questions. Similarly in Norway you have a young Sami council, said Marianne.

Ylva Pavval did a great job as chair for this session. Three more exciting days to come.

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