Finnish minister calls for Nordic involvement in Arctic satellite services

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Finnish Minister for Transport and Communications Anne Berner said on Thursday the poor availability and quality of satellite based positioning in the Arctic sea areas will be “a real problem in the near future”.

Addressing the Nordic Council in Helsinki, Berner noted that new services require high precision to be functional. “If we combine our Nordic know-how of data communication with space technology, we will create promising new business opportunities”, she said.

“In Enterprise structures such as New Space Economy, small satellites could offer solutions to the challenges related to positioning and remote analysis,” Berner said.

Berner said that it is the intention of Finland to promote a full scale use of satellite data in the Arctic areas. Satellite pictures can be used for services that can benefit both the observation of the environment and local livelihood.

The Finnish minister said the Nordic countries could jointly work on the current problems being taken up in the EU or the European Space Agency. She noted the Nordic Council has asked the governments in the Ministerial Council to provide financing in 2019 for a review of safety risks and environmental security in Arctic seafaring.

Positioning, telecommunications and meteorology are all major challenges in the Arctic area. The Nordic countries have top expertise in the three areas and various partnerships could be created, she said.

Berner noted that the Nordic ministerial council is giving financial support to improve climate data in the Arctic area within the operations of the World Meteorological Organization.

Finland is currently involved in the plans for a data communication cable to Asia and a rail road to Arctic coast, she added.

The Nordic Ministerial Council is working on its Arctic program of cooperation 2018-2021. The Nordic countries will spend 36 million Danish kronas during the next four years. Being the eighth Nordic program for the Arctic since 1996, it also focuses on indigenous peoples, families, health and social conditions in the Artic and climate issues.

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