Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


EU logoBrussels, Sept. 14th, 2010

In the framework of the Ninth Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in Brussels (13-15 sept, 2010), the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a seminar focusing on the potential establishment of an EU Arctic Information Centre (AIC), as a practical tool to support EU’s Arctic policy, to increase it’s visibility and to provide easy access to Arctic information. This open forum was held on Sept 14th in Brussels, and was attended by more than 80 representatives of different EU and Arctic/Polar institutions, universities and research institutes. APECS supports the general idea of an EU Arctic Information Centre, and participated in the seminar by the representation of Mieke Sterken and Anton Van de Putte.

The meeting was opened by the Finnish Ambassador of Arctic Affairs Mr. Hannu Halinen followed by Ms. Diana Wallis, the vice president of the European Parliament and Mr. Raimo Väyrynen, chairman of the board of the University of Lapland. Professor Paula Kankaanpää, director of the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland, gave a presentation about the concept of an EU AIC as a network between relevant research institutions, with a central node at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi, Finland). The centre would (1) support European Arctic policy, (2) increase its visibility both within and outside the EU, and (3) provide easy access to information about the Arctic. It would be based on existing institutions and infrastructures in Europe.

The presentation was followed by a discussion, in which many stakeholders supported the initiative (e.g., UArctic, UNEP, Nordic Sami Parliaments, Polar Libraries Colloquium, representatives of Norway and France, some European and Finnish Parliamentarians). However, representatives of the European Commission asked for more concrete information before moving forward with this project, and provided valuable comments and questions, which will be assessed by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Lapland in the further development of their plans.
APECS supports the idea of an Arctic Information Centre for the EU, and hopes to contribute with its expertise in Outreach and Education of Polar topics, and its dense network of young polar researchers both in the EU and worldwide.

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