Chair of the Arctic Council, Ministers, Permanent Participants, dear Excellences!
Buorre idit. Good morning. I'm so happy to see you all here today. In the middle of Sápmi, the homeland of the Sámi people. Rovaniemi, or Roavvenjárga as it is called in the sámi language, means a land tongue or a ness where there was once a forest fire and which is now covered with young trees.
This brings my thoughts to wildfires and climate change. Traditional knowledge and research shows that changes in climate, especially earlier snowmelt, have led to hot, dry conditions that boost this increase in fire activity. We have recently experienced this in Norway, both last year and this spring. We also remember the California wildfires in November 2018.
Sápmi has in recent decades experienced major changes in the climate system. Our traditional industries and sámi culture are threatened by climate change. These changes are happening so fast that it is very difficult to adapt.
We see impact both directly by a warming climate and impact of new land use because of mitigation measures. Therefore, it is need for more support for adaptation actions to limit the impacts on our communities and ecosystem services.
We thank Finland for their chairmanship.
The Sámi Parliament are happy that Island will chair the Council for the next period. Our way to wish Island good luck is to say that the proud islandic name Finnboga has a sámi origin, it is about our historical strong hunting bows.
Ollu giitu – Thank You!