Arctic Five Chair in Just Green Transition

Joona Tanja

Portrait of Joona Tanja, Arctic Five Chair in Just Green Transition.
Joona Tanja

Joona Tanja is a Senior researcher and Docent in International Law at University of Lapland 

Many issues affecting the Arctic region can be more effectively addressed through regional or multilateral cooperation. This is an essential aspect of the Arctic Five collaboration as well.

Just green transformation

The strategy of green transition will support economic restructuring and the construction of a carbon-neutral welfare state in Finland. Research related to sustainable growth will speed up solutions that reduce emissions both in Finland and elsewhere in the world. Finland aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

The implementation of the green transition will cause changes in the land use of northern Finland and, more broadly, northern Fennoscandia (in the near future). This will significantly impact the current land use in the area. These changes can be either positive or negative. And the changes include land-use planning issues related to mining, wind power, tourism, forestry, reindeer husbandry, hunting, fishing, and indigenous people’s rights. And all of these are interconnected.

The northern investments and investment potential of Finland, Sweden, and Norway are key elements in implementing the green transition. The pressure to end the dependency on Russia’s energy has grown to unprecedented levels. This new geopolitical situation pushes us to look more and more to the west and north, which highlights the role of Nordic cooperation. From the security of supply point of view, northern land and sea connections should be strengthened in all modes of transport.  In order to speed up the green transition and the development of the entire northern economy, border barriers due to differences in national legislation should be systemically removed.

The green transition must take a place. However, it requires research cooperation, understanding of local communities, and cooperation at the regional level also.

The Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland conducts research related to the issues mentioned earlier, for example in H2020 JUSTNORTH project. We are a pioneer and expert in issues related to Arctic, which is seen as a destination with the potential for growth, but it is also our home. We don’t have great cultural centers, theaters, or sports stadiums. What we do have, is clean nature, environment, and landscapes that are part of us, our culture, and our way of life.

The research team of “Just Green Transformation” has diverse expertise and experience in research related to land use. Knowledge of the rights of indigenous peoples and the local population in the research team is an essential and important part of the research. Strong knowledge of the region’s stakeholders, (international) networks (also EU), and co-production of information make it possible to apply for various financial instruments, especially internationally competitive funding. The inclusion of children and young people in the debate on the green transition and the infiltration of intergenerational views into decision-making through research will be considered a specific issue. This work also utilizes the group’s expertise across faculty boundaries and interdisciplinary research methods and approaches.

The group’s activities and research are, to the greatest extent possible, research in line with the strategy and profile of the University of Lapland, which focuses on the change in the Arctic. The Arctic region is particularly hard hit by the effects of global economic and political change and global warming.

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