Aleksanteri Conference 2017

17th Annual Aleksanteri Conference was organised in Helsinki on 25-27th of October by the Aleksanteri Institute, our team has taken part in several panels.

First, Daria Gritsenko and Jussi Huotari chaired the panel “Sustainable Development in the Russian Arctic: A Policy Perspective”, where Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was the discussant. Hilma Salonen presented a paper “Strategic Energy Planning and Local Realities: Gaps and Contradictions“, and Jussi Huotari had a presentation titled “Nexus of Environmental Responsibility and Economic Development in the Corporate Strategies”.

The panel’s description on the conference website:

This panel will unite contributions that look at sustainable development (SD) in Russia through the analysis of policy interventions. Scholars have demonstrated that while sustainable development has been on the Russian policy agenda for a long time, the effective policy integration into the economic system was missing due to policy-practice gap. Recently, the rhetoric and practice of strategic planning in Russia has been consolidating, resulting in a proliferation of  interlocking planning documents at all levels: from high-level strategies to detailed local programs. In this panel, we will ponder the relationship between the strategic planning and sustainable development in Russian Arctic. In particular, we will raise the following questions: How does the strong commitment to strategic planning contribute to better integration of sustainability objectives in various policy fields? How do various actors at different scales (federal, regional, local) implement strategies that account for the environment, the economy, and society?  What is the role of companies, both public and private, in advancing sustainability policies in Russia? How do they ‘fit’ into SD strategies? The panel has five contributions shedding light upon the above-mentioned questions. Prof. Alexander Sergunin examines the role of the UN in encouraging academic discussions on the construction of an Arctic City Sustainable Development Index (ACSDI). His paper traces how the theoretical and methodological approaches developed in the influencial UN documents results in an academic indicator system with regard to the northern municipalities of the eight Arctic countries. Hilma Salonen focuses on the gap between local realities of peripheral Northern regions and the futures envisioned in Moscow in the field of renewable energy, especially the use of local biomass resources in heating. Her analysis of the official energy development strategies complemented with interviews with Finnish and Russian experts demonstrate how the lack of institutional, financial and technical intermediaries and reforms may turn a strategic plan into hollow promises. Alexandra Kuklina analyzes the role of the Russian Far East in constructing environmental cooperation of Asian countries in the Arctic region, with a special emphasis on joint Russian-Japanese research projects and technology transfer through building professional expert groups. Andrian Vlakhov investigates approaches to sustainability among Russian extractive companies operating in the Arctic. Based on extensive fieldwork in Svalbard, Murmansk Oblast and Republic of Karelia, he argues that the practices developed by extractive companies operating along this border are in fact a sustainable strategy of these companies. Jussi Huotari examines environmental responsibility as a part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Russian energy companies operating in oil and gas sector, in particular, how the controversies between economic development and environmental effects are presented in reports of the both parastatial companies and private corporations operating in the Russian Arctic, in particular in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Additionally, Professor Tynkkynen also chaired the panel “The Future of Russia’s North”, where Dr. Gritsenko was the discussant.

Wind Finland 2017

On 26th of October in Haltia, Nuuksio, took place Wind Finland seminar. Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was one of the speakers and talked about the future of Finnish-Russian energy relations.

The seminar’s topics were:

– The Future of Wind Power in Europe
– Future of Russian and Finnish energy relations
– Demand response with large scale intermittent production
– Internet of Energy
– What to take into account in Finnish Auctions and Renewables´
Auction systems

Sustainability of Arctic towns and the challenges of learning

A new book “Oppimisen tulevaisuus” (The future of learning) with a chapter “Arktisten kaupunkien kestävyys ja oppimisen haasteet” (Sustainability of Arctic towns and the challenges of learning), co-written by Stephanie Hitztaler and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, was published this month by Gaudeamus.

“Oppimisen tulevaisuus” is edited by Hannu Savolainen, Risto Vilkko & Leena Vähäkylä, more information about is is available here.

Ykkösaamu interview

On 16th October 2017 Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen was interviewed on Yle Radio 1 programme Ykkösaamu where he talked on the topic of Finnish energy policy and Russian politics. Listen to the programme here.

Calotte Academy 2017 in the Arctic Yearbook

The newly published Arctic Yearbook 2017 contains an article “Calotte Academy 2017
Perceptions of the Arctic: Rich or Scarce, Mass-scale or Traditional, Conflict or Cooperation?” written by Jussi Huotari and Salla Kalliojärvi. The article tells of the work of the travelling symposium, Callote Academy 2017.

The 26th Calotte Academy took place in early June 2017. The travelling symposium had its sessions in familiar places: in Inari, Finland, in Kirkenes, Norway and in Apatity, Russia. This year, part of the caravan continued their way to Umeå, Sweden where final sessions of the Calotte Academy 2017 were organized back-to-back with the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS).
This year’s academy consisted of twelve full working days, eleven sessions, more than 30
presentations, two excursions, five border crossings and plenty of questions, comments and
discussions during and outside the sessions. This would not have been possible without the
committed participants, who were ready to allocate their time, were open-minded and willing to share their expertise. More than 30 participants representing thirteen different
nationalities formed the group, with approximately half of the group participating for the first time. The multi-national and multidisciplinary background of the group, as well as different levels of experience in Arctic studies, fit very well with the main theme of this year’s academy.

Full text of the article is available here.