Finland and the State of Maine agree on cooperation in forest bioeconomy
Finland and the State of Maine on the North-East coast of the United States have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding on fostering exchange of information and cooperation in developing bioeconomy that is based on forests and the use of wood. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed today, on 10 October 2019, by the Prime Minister of Finland Antti Rinne and the Governor of Maine Janet Mills.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Reykjavik, where the representatives of both Participants attended the Arctic Circle Assembly(Link to another website.). Opening addresses at the Senior Arctic Officials Meeting were given by the Prime Minister of Finland Antti Rinne and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
The practical work will be coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. In both Finland and the State of Maine forests cover most of the land area, and forest industry is highly significant for both economies. Forest industry employs tens of thousands of people in both Finland and Maine and forest industry products represent a significant proportion of their goods exports.
“In our relations with the United States it is also important to have concrete collaboration at all levels, including with states. The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry shows the way forward in building these new avenues for cooperation. Finland and the State of Maine have a lot in common in forest issues,” says Prime Minister Antti Rinne.
“Maine’s forests have supported our rural communities and powered our economy for generations and, today, our forest products industry is experiencing a remarkable revitalization driven by world-class innovation,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “With the signing of this MOU, Maine will partner closely with Finland to share expertise, leverage resources, and implement best practices to grow our economies and ensure that our forests play as integral role in our future as they have in our past.”
Forests have a key role in climate change mitigation
In both Finland and Maine forests are considered to have a key role as part of a broader sustainability agenda and as an important element of climate and energy policy. Finland and Maine agree on the gravity of the challenges caused by climate change and on the important role of forests from the perspective of climate change mitigation and adaptation. At the same time, they both aim to strengthen the competitiveness of their economies by focusing on clean and green solutions.
“Alongside the traditional forest industry, both Finland and Maine keep investing in new wood-based products, thus also contributing to climate change mitigation. We have very similar objectives in terms of developing new wood-based products and in promoting wood as construction material,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
Both Finland and Maine are developing new wood construction, wood-based products and wood ingredients, also as substitutes for concrete, cotton and plastics. Both have also targeted research to new production technologies, making use of the different ingredients of wood and more efficient utilisation of forest industry side-streams.
There are many sub-sectors in forest-based bioeconomy where Finland and Maine expect to gain significant benefits from this cooperation. In the long term the exchange of information and cooperation with a focus on research is expected to lead to increased cooperation between companies.