Estonia, US explore opportunities to support sustainable development of the Arctic

  • 2021-04-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – On Monday, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polar Institute of the US think tank Wilson Center held a joint virtual seminar on sustainable development in the Arctic, during which cooperation opportunities to support sustainable development in the Arctic were discussed.

Representatives of the United States and Estonia discussed ways of advancing cooperation to solve the critical problems facing the Arctic, in particular in fields such as research, environmental protection and sustainable development, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In her opening speech, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets stressed that no one remains a bystander in climate change.

"We are all aware of the profound impact of climate change, especially on vulnerable Arctic ecosystems, which is why Estonia considers it important to find ways to fight climate change. Estonia is close enough to the Arctic to feel the immediate effects of the changes happening in the region, and this is why we would like to contribute to sustainable development there," the minister said.

"Estonia has the interest, potential and knowhow needed to provide additional value to the work that has already been done, and this is also at the heart of our application for observer status on the Arctic Council," she noted.

 Liimets said that the cooperation of Estonia and the United States is certain to contribute to setting the Arctic in a more favorable global context in light of the green transition.

"Estonia is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and we support the efforts of the European Union and the United States in leading the world towards cutting carbon dioxide emissions. If the entire world took bold steps towards reducing emissions, it would have a clear effect on the Arctic," the minister said.

Liimets also described the sustainable development and climate problems of the Arctic as an additional and very crucial dimension of cooperation in the already close relations between Estonia and the United States.

The Estonian Foreign Ministry's Deputy Secretary General for European Affairs Mart Volmer, Ambassador-at-Large for Climate and Energy Policy Kaja Tael, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere and  Aimar Ventsel, associate professor of ethnology at the University of Tartu, represented Estonia at the webinar.

The webinar was an event aimed at presenting Estonia’s Arctic expertise as part of its bid to become an observer on the Arctic Council.