Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
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Publication about
the Åland Example


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When the Åland Islands Peace Institute organises the Kastelholm Talks on Peace for the sixth time, the theme is “War, Peace and the Environment”. The Kastelholm talks are recurring conversations about peace, under the patronage of the former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. The talks are always held in connection to Åland’s demilitarisation day, which is 30 March. The talks of 2020 will be held on Monday, 30 March.


The conversation begins with a panel discussion at the castle of Kastelholm with a panel consisting of Ms. Margot Wallström, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Government and EU Commissioner; Mr. KG Hammar, theologian, priest and Swedish archbishop and Ms. Marja Lehto, Ambassador, Associate Professor of International Law and Senior Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Moderator is the Peace Institute’s Director, Associate Professor Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark.


Thereafter, the discussion continues in round table form at nearby restaurant, Smakbyn. The discussion begins with three commentators reflecting on this year’s theme, after which there is an open discussion with the panel from the castle and the audience. The audience consists of invited guests from the neighbouring region, in addition to a number of open seats to which interested parties can register. This year's commentators are Ms. Pella Thiel, ecologist, systemic activist and cultural change agent; Mr. Mikael Sjövall, journalist, communicator and career diplomat at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Ms. Emma Hakala, Doctor in Political History at the University of Helsinki. Moderator is Ms. Petra Granholm, Research Coordinator at the Åland Island Peace Institute.

The theme of this year, War, Peace and the Environment, is important at a time characterized by severe climate change, declining biodiversity and environmental anxiety. At the same time, global tensions and militarisation are increasing. The Kastelholm Peace Talks give the opportunity to discuss and draw attention to the links between peace and environmental issues. Which are the environmental effects of war? Are we at peace with nature or are we at war with it? What does it mean for environmental work that the concept of security has been recently expanded and now also includes environmental aspects? Are the principles of humanitarian law sufficient to tackle the environmental consequences of armed conflicts? And what role does environmental work have as a factor for peace?

This Year’s Panel:

Ms. Margot Wallström, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Government (2014-2019) and EU Commissioner (responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy 2004-2010 and for Environment 1999-2004). During the 1990’s Ms Wallström was Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Culture and later became the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (2010-2012). During her time as Foreign Minister, the concept “feminist foreign policy” was launched and she was also involved in the development of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In 2008, she was awarded the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development for work on the environmental effect of chemicals. Ms Wallström is a honorary doctor at several universities in Sweden and the United States, and is Commander of the French Legion of Honor.

Mr. KG Hammar, theologian, priest and Swedish archbishop 1997-2006. Mr Hammar was ordained in Lund in 1965, where he later became Doctor of Theology, Associate Professor of Church History, Clergyman and Bishop of Lund’s diocese. Nowadays, he has a personal guest professorship at Lund University. Mr Hammar’s commitment to peace, ecumenical dialogue and the environment is expressed in many ways, including in numerous publications such as The Road Chose You - a guide to Dag Hammarskjold's Markings (2011).

Ms. Marja Lehto, Ambassador, Senior Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Doctor of International Law, Associate Professor of the same subject at the University of Helsinki and expert on issues of environmental protection in armed conflicts. Ms Lehto has served as Director of the Unit of public international law at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as Finland’s ambassador to Luxembourg and has held positions in Helsinki, New York, Paris and more. In her recent role as Special Rapporteur of the UN International Law Commission (ILC), Ms Lehto has worked diligently to raise the issue of international principles of environmental protection in armed conflicts. Ms Lehto presented a draft of such principles to the UN General Assembly in the fall of 2019.