Country
© Elisabeth Kruger / WWF

WWF Arctic Council Scorecard

Finland

Overall, Finland has relatively strong standing among the Arctic states for its protection of biodiversity in the Arctic.

The sheer abundance of Finland’s natural wealth—almost 75% of its area is covered in woodland—seems to provide a buffer for the environmental impacts of questionable policies, such as the new National Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030, which foresees a 23% increase in wood harvests. Even if the objective is the continued growth of the bio-economy and long-term carbon neutrality, Finland will have to be careful when balancing costs and benefits in the ecologically and socially delicate Arctic space.

Ratings

Overall

Findings

See full criteria.

GOOD PERFORMANCE

  • Finland has done solid work on identifying and monitoring biodiversity and expanding conservation areas (Crit. 1.1.1 and 1.1.2).
  • Finland’s status as an EU member state has helped promote action on multiple fronts, such as the mandatory status of sustainable fishing practices (Crit. 1.2.2), the completion of a gap analysis, and an extension of the protected area within the Natura 2000 protected areas network (Crit. 2.2.1 and 2.2.2).
  • While Finland has no Arctic waters, it does host migratory bird species and Atlantic salmon. In this regard, the country cooperates closely with its neighbours on ecosystem-based management, such as with Norway on Atlantic salmon and with Russia, Norway and Sweden on the Barents Protected Area Network (Crit. 3.3.1).
  • Cooperation is also a theme in Finland’s work on Arctic prevention of industrial impacts, including joint work with international, EU and national agencies on oil spill preparedness and monitoring (Crit. 5.2.1 and 5.2.2) as well as leadership in the Arctic Council on black carbon emissions (Crit. 4.1.1). Finland’s own black carbon emissions are low by global standards, and the Finnish president has made minimizing them a diplomatic priority abroad, providing funding and expert assistance to regional and global initiatives.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

  • Despite encouraging “regional councils and local actors” and safeguarding Indigenous knowledge and “the ways in which the Indigenous Saami People in Finland traditionally utilize nature (PDF),” more concrete state efforts have been lacking. This applies to, for example, support for Indigenous knowledge holders and scientists to contribute to the Arctic Council’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (Crit. 1.3.2) or the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in developing projections for the Arctic under various emissions and development scenarios (Crit. 4.2.1).
  • At present, adapting to rapid change in northern areas remains “an extremely challenging knowledge gap.” Ideally, national efforts to build on the EU Natura 2000 network-based ecological analyses—such as the “Protected area network in a changing climate” project (2017–2019), which includes Finnish Lapland—will address this gap.
  • Measures to limit environmental stress, such as requirements for Finnish ships to adopt operational practices to lower air emissions in Arctic waters, are planned for 2019 at the earliest and have yet to be initiated (Crit. 6.2.1-2).

Detailed ratings

C Biodiversity

  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity and its Resilience
  • 4/6
  • Sustainable Management of Living Resources and Habitats
  • 2/4
  • Monitoring Biodiversity
  • 2/4
  • Overall Rating
  • 8/14

All ratings for Biodiversity

B Conservation areas

  • Identification of Conservation Areas
  • 0/2
  • Protecting Areas of Ecological Importance
  • 4/4
  • Mechanisms to Safeguard Connectivity
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 6/8

All ratings for Conservation areas

A Ecosystem-based Management

  • Environmental Impact Assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessments and Risk Assessments
  • 6/6
  • Assessment of Combined Effects of Multiple Stressors
  • 1/2
  • Arctic State Cooperation in Advancing Implementation of EBM
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 9/10

All ratings for Ecosystem-based Management

B Black Carbon and Methane

  • Short-lived Climate Forcers: Black Carbon and Methane Emissions
  • 4/6
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • 4/6
  • Climate Change Observation
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 10/14

All ratings for Black Carbon and Methane

A Oil Spills

  • National Action for Preparedness and Response
  • 2/2
  • Oil Spill Monitoring
  • 2/2
  • Oil Spill Prevention
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 6/6

All ratings for Oil Spills

B Shipping

  • Protection from various shipping risks
  • 2/2
  • Actions to reduce air emissions from shipping
  • 2/4
  • Arctic Marine Traffic System
  • N/A
  • Overall Rating
  • 4/6

All ratings for Shipping
c