The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) was honored to welcome Mr. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries for the European Commission to the 2nd Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit that took place in June 2017 in Oulu, Finland.

The two-day Arctic Broadband Summit, organized together with the City of Oulu, gathered more than 120 registered participants representing  business, technology, science and decision-makers from as far afield as Alaska and Japan. (More information and presentations form the event can be found here.)

Commissioner Vella, whose areas of responsibility include protecting the environment while maintaining Europe’s competitiveness stated in his speech: “High-quality connectivity lies at the heart of sustainable economic development as well as social inclusion and cohesion. “

This statement is in line with the findings of the report “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for an Interconnected Arctic”, developed by the AEC Working Group on Telecommunications. The report states that the deployment and adoption of a variety of broadband technologies can enable the expanding Arctic population to grow and prosper economically and socially while also protecting the environment and indigenous traditions. (Read the full report here.)

The Commissioner further highlighted the importance attached to research and innovation, connectivity and digital technologies in the development of the sustainable economy in the Arctic region. In addition, he recognized the Arctic region as an innovation hub, as well as highlighting the Nordic countries leading the way in areas of education and research.

 You can find the full speech here