China, Finland forge vision on cooperation
By Zhang Zhihao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-25
Beijing forum discusses transition to a sustainable future
China and Finland have great potential for innovation cooperation — especially in sectors such as education, the environment and energy — which will help both countries transition to a more sustainable future, experts from both countries said on Friday.
Sustainable transition and development is a global challenge that requires a joint effort from a diverse range of actors, sectors and countries, Pan Jiaofeng, president of the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD), said during his opening remarks to the Sino-Finnish Forum 2019 in Beijing.
The forum, first held in Finland last year, was organized by the Sino-Finnish Research Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation, which was co-founded by CASISD and the University of Vaasa, Finland.
The center was established in 2017, after President Xi Jinping visited Finland and opened a new chapter of Sino-Finnish relation, Pan said.
The center and the forum aim to utilize innovation, research and higher education to promote international collaboration on sustainable transition, as well as help establish a policy research network to support government officials, scientists and businesses in China and Europe, he said.
Jari Kuusisto, rector of UVA, said Vaasa is considered to be the energy center of northern Europe, and is home to many international energy companies, as well as more than 1,600 small- to medium-sized companies working on sustainable energy.
Kuusisto said he hopes China and Finland can have more collaboration on addressing common challenges such as climate change and improving education. "We also hope to see more analysis on policies and development. I believe these fields are of common interest and will serve as a strong foundation for future collaboration."
Jarno Syrjala, Finnish ambassador to China, said China and Finland have had a rich history of diverse collaboration, from energy to winter sports, since establishing formal diplomatic relations in 1950.
"In the past 100 years after its independence (in 1917), Finland went from being a poor country to becoming one of the most developed and stable countries in the world, and education has been a very important driver," he said, adding that globalization and automation have led to new challenges that will require countries to raise their education capabilities to new heights.
Syrjala said many Finnish universities and research institutes have conducted extensive collaboration with their Chinese partners, focusing on renewable energy, waste management and smart grids. "For China, this cooperation is key to building a future smart city and ensuring smart living."
The challenge of sustainable transition is "common for all of us", he said. "But in this transition, the position of China is particularly crucial. And I am very happy to see China and Chinese institutions are taking an active role in the global arena and are taking the next step to find the best technological solutions."
Zhang Xiliang, the director of the Institute for Energy, Environment and Economy at Tsinghua University, said global climate change, pollution, human development and modernizing industry are key topics for sustainable transition.
"How to balance national priorities with sustainable development is the big question of our time," he said, adding stronger administrative support, more resources for R&D and standardization, as well as more effective market-based instruments are part of the grand solution to sustainable challenges.
Eija Tynkkynen, the commercial counselor at the Finnish embassy in Beijing, said Chinese and Finnish businesses can play a bigger role in promoting research and collaboration related to sustainable development.
Tynkkynen said Finnish companies have developed many world-class innovations, including bio-based packaging, renewable diesel, and recycling wastes such as saw dust and plastics into useful industrial ingredients like bioethanol.
At the same time, Finnish companies like Savosolar and Heliostorage are participating in building key technology applications for the renewable energy network in the Guangzhou Nansha demonstration zone in Guangdong province, she said.
"We hope to combine business and research innovation to provide better living environment for all," she said.