Delegation from Greenland to visit Switzerland
Bern, 03.04.2023 - Government officials and scientists from Greenland are in Switzerland from 3 to 5 April 2023 for a visit organised by the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) and coordinated by the FDFA as part of its participation in the Arctic Council. The discussions will focus on the integrated management of natural risks and hazards.
A delegation from Greenland began a three-day visit to Switzerland on 3 April at the invitation of the SPI. Minister of Mineral Resources and Justice, Aqqaluaq Egede, heads the delegation, which also includes scientists. The programme includes meetings between officials from both governments and field visits to disaster-prone locations and villages in Switzerland. The purpose of the visit is to gain insights to strengthen Greenland's capacities in integrated risk and hazard management.
State Secretary Martina Hirayama, head of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), met members of the delegation on Monday 3 April. She underscored the importance of strengthening scientific cooperation between the two countries. The delegation was also welcomed by Ambassador Alexandra Baumann, head of the Prosperity and Sustainability Division at the FDFA and Swiss ambassador for the Arctic, and Markus Reubi, delegate of the Federal Council for the 2030 Agenda. . In the afternoon, the delegation met at the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in Ittigen with the deputy director, Paul Steffen, and experts in prevention and integral management of risks.
Long-standing cooperation between Switzerland and Greenland
The visit underscores the extensive scientific cooperation between Switzerland and Greenland. The two countries have cooperated on polar issues for over a century. The current round of exchanges is the result of a joint initiative between the SPI and the Greenland Research Council which was launched in 2022 through the Konrad Steffen Grant. The grant was established in memory of world-renowned Swiss glaciologist Konrad Steffen and builds on his legacy of research collaboration between Switzerland and Greenland.
Both countries face increasing natural risks from global warming-induced melting of glaciers and permafrost which threaten communities and infrastructures. In 2017, Switzerland was granted observer status on the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that promotes cooperation issues of common concern, in particular sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
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