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Speech by President Halonen at the Closing Panel of UArctic Congress 2018

Closing Panel of UArctic Congress 2018 University of Helsinki, 7 September 2018

Parts of the keynote speech – check against delivery


Tarja Halonen

Dear Rector, Your Excellencies, participants of the UArctic Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Welcome to the closing Panel of the UArctic Congress. It has been a wonderful week of the 2nd UArctic Congress, bringing together member organizations and their representatives and other inspiring people in Oulu and here in Helsinki.


  • Already in the Inari Declaration in 2002, integration of gender equality was highlighted. And I am glad to see that after our gathering in Iceland in 2014, the work on these issues has gained ever further support. One example is the Gender Equality in the Arctic II –project, and the work that has been done in the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council.


  • It was important that Finland made the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement two overarching themes of its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, when it took over in 2017.


  • One major issue is to find ways to slow down the warming in the Arctic region. Unfortunately, the development has been to the contrary. Climate change and sustainable development are entirely linked, and nowhere is the connection more visible than in the Arctic.


  • Women are many times critical agents of change in their communities, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change should also be seen from this angle – in the arctic region, as in elsewhere.


  • Gender equality has a catalytic effect on achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability. But on the other hand, certain patterns of economic growth can still maintain gender inequalities. Therefore, sustainable development pathways should explicitly and very concretely link and commit to gender equality and women’s empowerment; all in all, to respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights.