Finnish expertise in demand in Ukraine – “It is important to start measures while the war is still going on”

Finnish climate expertise is in demand in Ukraine, where green reconstruction is booming. Savonia University of Applied Sciences (UAS), together with Business Finland, supports the green transition in Ukraine.

Savonia UAS, as part of its overall safety work, has started supporting the green transition in Ukraine together with Business Finland. This follows two years of cooperation between Savonia and Ukraine in developing climate innovations and producing climate roadmaps. The ILCA climate innovation project, coordinated by Savonia, is funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

– Together with our Ukrainian partners, we have developed concrete needs assessments to promote climate change mitigation and increase adaptation and preparedness to climate risks such as extreme weather events. Savonia’s expertise is based on long-term work in promoting climate security both in Finland and in international networks, says Jyri Wuorisalo, Savonia’s RDI expert.

Savings will be mobilised to support the green transition in Ukraine’s agricultural and energy sectors and urban services.

– Savonia aims to provide companies with a pathway to reconstruction operations in Ukraine during the green transition and their preparation already during the war. The result will be joint business and R&D projects between Finns and Ukrainians, continues Wuorisalo.

War will not stop climate work

We live in a time of polycrisis. Europe is at war, and the threat of escalating conflicts is imminent. In addition, the climate is warming, and climate change is not just a future prospect, but a symptom of a planet that is becoming increasingly apparent. How do decision-makers keep climate targets in mind when acute fires are being extinguished in different directions?

Petteri Taalas, Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, says that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is slipping away, but the two-degree target is achievable.

– Hope is not yet lost. Wind and solar power are being built at a fast pace and transport is becoming electrified. The more we can fight global warming, the less the impact will be felt.

Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute Petteri Taalas on Towards a Green Transition in rebuilding Ukraine seminar and 27 February 2024.

Good results from stakeholder involvement

Finland is at the forefront of climate action, with good progress in the energy sector in particular, according to Taalas. This knowledge can be used elsewhere, including in Ukraine.

– We have a lot of expertise in areas such as wind, hydro and nuclear power.

According to Wuorisalo, Savonia’s strength lies in applying the Finnish Total Safety approach to the promotion of human security. It is useful in a time of multiple crises.

– In Ukraine’s climate work, we have learned how, through broad stakeholder involvement in building a better future, we can achieve concrete action even in difficult circumstances.

Taalas also sees support for Ukraine’s climate work as important for the country’s sovereignty.

– It is important to reduce Ukraine’s dependence on Russian fossil and nuclear energy. To become a member of the European Union, Ukraine must also meet the EU’s common climate targets. That is why it is important to start taking steps towards a green transition while the war is still on.

The war has destroyed weather data

Finnish expertise in weather and climate is already helping Ukrainians. The war has left Ukrainians without about 85% of their own weather data. Weather stations have been lost, and not all remaining stations can be operated due to staff shortages. This affects the accuracy of weather data across Europe. Taalas says that in 2022, the National Meteorological Institute of Ukraine started cooperation to modernise the Ukrainian Meteorological Institute.

– Supporting Ukraine’s independence, including in terms of weather and climate knowledge, is one way of putting pressure on Russia to stop the military action, says Taalas.

The article originally appeared in finnish on Kauppalehti 11.3.2024.

Savonia University of Applied Sciences , together with Business Finland, supports the green transition in Ukraine.