TALLINN - Thursday marks the start of the thematic Arctic Month, which aims to engage the Estonian public with various topics related to the Arctic; over the course of one month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates and cooperates with partners and other state institutions to launch a series of Arctic-themed events and articles as part of Estonia’s bid to become an observer on the Arctic Council.
"Developments in the Arctic should be a concern for everyone, as the climate change there affects the whole world," Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said.
"During the Arctic Month, the Foreign Ministry and our excellent partners would like to not only highlight the issues of the Arctic but also offer our expertise to come up with long-term solutions. Estonia's scientists, companies and polar enthusiasts are ready to help the Arctic with their expertise," she added.
Estonia is applying for observer status at the Arctic Council in 2021 in order to participate in discussions on the sustainable development of the Arctic at an international forum.
The thematic month is kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m., when the foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament holds a public seminar titled "The Arctic Council -- why are we applying for observer status?". The event provides more detailed information about why it is important for Estonia to be more active in finding solutions to the challenges of the Arctic. The seminar is streamed live on the Riigikogu's website and Facebook page.
Presentations will be given at the seminar by deputy secretary general of the Estonian Foreign Ministry for European affairs Mart Volmer, president of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere, chairman of the Estonian Polar Research Committee Rein Vaikmae, associate professor of ethnology at the University of Tartu Aimar Ventsel, and economic expert Raivo Vare.
On Feb. 1, the foreign minister is to take part in a panel dedicated to social issues at the Arctic Frontiers conference. On Feb. 16, the Polar Forum is to be held at the Seaplane Harbor in Tallinn, organized in cooperation with the Estonian Polar Club. Feb. 27 will see the International Polar Bear Day celebrated at the Tallinn Zoo.