Experts discuss the rising importance of the Arctic region and Latvia’s role in the Arctic

  • 2022-12-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - On December 14, the Latvian Foreign Ministry opened a seminar, “Latvia in the Arctic”, which brought together Latvian scientists, business people, public figures and members of public administration, as well as representatives from foreign countries, LETA learned from the ministry.

The seminar was the first discussion of this kind about the Arctic-related issues, Latvia’s interests in the Arctic and the work of the Arctic Council since the decision by the Latvian government to apply for status of observer to the Arctic Council.

In the first part of the seminar, researchers from the University of Latvia, Kristaps Lamsters and Janis Karuss, together with entrepreneurs from companies MP Industries, North Grip Innovations and N-LAB association exchanged views on the opportunities offered to Latvia’s businesses by research that Latvian scientists undertake in not only in the Arctic but also the Antarctic in the field such as robotics, clothes manufacturing, and others. Further on during the seminar, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Zane Vagnere, cultural figures and researchers informed the audience about the potential for building mutual contacts with organizations, companies and people in the Arctic region. The director of the Livonian Institute of the University of Latvia, Valts Ernstreits, how Latvia could share its experience concerning the preservation and digitalization of the cultural heritage of indigenous people.

In the second part of the seminar, Professor Peter Skold from Umea University, informed the audience about the work of the Arctic Council and its principles. A discussion with Prof. Skold was followed by a presentation given by the Ambassador of Norway to Latvia, Ine Mareng, about Norway’s Arctic policy and potential priorities of action during the Norwegian Presidency of the Arctic Council for 2023–2025.

The Arctic is a region where climate change occurs faster than elsewhere around the globe. The proximity of the Arctic to the Baltic Sea region, which has the potential of becoming a kind of testing grounds for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation, has sparked the interest of Latvian scientists, environmental experts and businesses in the region.

Therefore, in 2021, the Government of Latvia decided on the need to apply for observer status in the Arctic Council. Such a status would enable Latvia to bring its contribution to mitigating climate change, gain in-depth knowledge about the ongoing processes in the Arctic region, and be part of them.