My Oulu: New cooperation initiatives from Tromsø – Oulu actively participates in developing the Arctic

Arctic Frontiers annually brings together over 1600 participants, this year the event was held in Tromsø. Picture: Ouka

My Oulu

Julkaistu: Kirjoittaja: Anne Laurila, käännös: Joel Loukkola

Jaa sosiaalisessa mediassa:

The Arctic Frontiers event held in Tromsø last week once again brought together scientists, researchers, businesses and decision-makers to discuss the future of the Arctic and build cooperation networks. The themes this year were geopolitical shifts, the NATO expansion, green transition and the young people of the Arctic. Despite the Storm Ingunn, the Arctic Frontiers event yielded multiple concrete cooperation initiatives for the city of Oulu.

The Arctic Frontiers event acts as a meeting place for scientists, industry, politics, regional officials and representatives of indigenous peoples. The event, that has been held since 2007, was a success for Oulu despite the stormy circumstances.

“At the Arctic Frontiers event, multiple concrete cooperation projects in which Oulu participates were launched. The Arctic Urban Regions Collaboration Project was launched with Luleå and Tromsø and is funded by the European Commission. A total of 15 cities across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the United States participate in the project”, explains the Director of International Affairs of Oulu Anne Rännäli-Kontturi.

“Our cooperation in the project is focused on securing competent workforce in our regions and reinforcing retaining and attracting factors”, she adds.

The scene of Nordic cooperation

The cities of Oulu, Luleå and Tromsø, the Council of the Oulu Region and the regional administrations of Norrbotten and Troms also arranged a presentation where the Northern Programme that was submitted to the Finland’s Government Programme was presented.

The programme developed in cooperation with the entire northern Finland convinced the Nordic colleagues and the possibility of preparing a comparable programme that covers the entire northern area was discussed in Tromsø. The cities and regions, however, have regional differences on influencing practices.

“I am aware that the central administration of Northern Sweden is working on a plan but I do not know who, or even which ministry is working on it! The city of Luleå at least has not been heard in its preparation”, the mayor of Luleå Carina Sammeli stated when she visited Oulu recently.

The Northern Sweden’s part did not change by Arctic Frontiers, but at the event Simmeli suggested that the situation could be repaired by convening a Nordic summit where the representatives of Northern Norway, Sweden and Finland and the countries’ ministries could confer – and the citizens of municipalities could have their voices heard better when decisions concerning the north are being made.

juuso rönnholm

Finland’s Northern Programme was presented at the event by BusinessOulu’s Liaison Manager Juuso Rönnholm during his keynote speech.

Liaison Manager Juuso Rönnholm discussed the importance of the north during his keynote speech.

“I proclaimed in my speech how cooperation between northern operators and their problem-solving attitudes made it possible for the Northern Programme to be registered in Finland’s Government Programme.”

Rönnholm also participated in a panel where measures for developing the cooperation between northern operators were discussed.

A youth summit is being prepared already

A summit for young people of the Arctic is coming in Tromsø in late 2024 as BusinessOulu participates in the newly initiated Team Nordic Arctic Project.

In the Norway’s Foreign Ministry’s Arktis 2030 Programme’s limited project, the city of Umeå and Pro Tromsø in cooperation with BusinessOulu organize different events, networking opportunities and seminars at pre-existing events in the Arctic. The project was initiated in Arctic Frontiers, and it will continue next in Oulu when a delegation of Norwegian businesses will participate in the Polar Bear Pitch event in late February.

“In May, businesses from Oulu will visit Tromsø, we will organize a matchmaking event there. We will also participate in the upcoming youth summit though the main responsibility is with Pro Tromsø”, states BusinessOulu’s Communications Specialist Maja Terning.

There is power in northern cooperation

The city of Oulu’s representatives were needed on the stages as well as numerous events were organized during Arctic Frontiers. The chairman of the City Council Jarmo Husso (Coalition) participated in a panel discussion which discussed the safety and resiliency of the Arctic.

The expansion of the defence alliance NATO and the altered geopolitical security situation are, of course, considered in the cities’ precautionary measures. Additionally, Husso reminded that the altered situation in world politics offers business opportunities and feeds new innovations.

“In Oulu, defence technology business has been successfully pursued by NKL Networks and Bittium for example. When trade is being handled with states and defence ministries, small and medium-sized businesses can find it difficult to participate in the negotiations.”

The matchmaking activities of northern businesses and building networks has been the core of many cooperation projects between Oulu, Luleå and Tromsø, and after the Arctic Frontiers event, it looks like more is coming.