In our increasingly interdependent world all of us are affected by climate change and other global developments that have brought new challenges and opportunities. Based on many studies, the Nordic countries have done well in meeting them. The success has increased global interest in the Nordic model, but we can all still do better.
The best way to face contemporary challenges is collaboration. We see deepening Nordic cooperation as a key to answering the challenges that we are facing in the international arena. We stand ready to contribute our knowledge and experience to the global efforts to achieve ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development.
At our meeting in Helsinki yesterday we discussed how Finland and Iceland can jointly further enhance Nordic cooperation, drawing on our strengths. As Nordics we share and stand for values based on democracy, the rule of law, gender equality and respect for human rights. These guide our policies at home as well as n international organizations, including the UN, OSCE and regional organisations in Northern Europe.
Nordic foreign and security policy cooperation is maturing. One important step in bringing us closer together was taken in Helsinki in 2011, when the five Nordic Foreign Ministers agreed on the Nordic declaration on solidarity, underlining that we will come to each other assistance when faced with serious risks such as natural or man-made disasters or cyber and terrorist attacks.
Our defence cooperation is also deepening within the NORDEFCO framework. The Nordic countries will reach a milestone in their cooperation when Sweden and Finland will participate in the air surveillance related training event in Iceland next month.
Our countries' cooperation is based on a comprehensive and broad concept of security. We agree that prevention and preparedness are important when addressing modern security challenges, be it human trafficking, cyber threats, humanitarian crises or environmental issues such as climate change.
Some of these challenges have also influenced and guided Finland's and Iceland´s approach to changes in our own regions and neighbourhoods. In this regard the Arctic Council has become the central forum for international cooperation. The council is gradually changing from a policy-shaping to a policy-making forum. In recent years, it has adopted legally binding agreements on search and rescue and response to marine oil spills. It is in our mutual interest to further strengthen the role of the Arctic Council.
Regional and international cooperation help build a broad security for the Nordic countries. They are the key to the future.