Matti Vanhanen, Member of Parliament for the Centre Party and former Prime Minister of Finland.

MP Talk gives members of parliament the opportunity to share their views on Finnish society with an international audience. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

Whether it is war in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea or war in Syria and political upheaval following the Arab Spring, Finland and the international community are navigating complex international events.

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Fred Stolle, Senior Associate at the World Resource Institute’s Forests Program

Indeed, a surprising number of trees were recently discovered thriving in the world’s drylands. They are key to survival for millions of people – and are a worthy cause for global reforestation efforts.

I recently joined a group of scientists to announce a surprising discovery in Science magazine:

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Jonathan Gaventa, Director at E3G

Almost a year ago, voters in Britain opted to leave the European Union. Now, as Brexit negotiations begin to heat up, both sides will have an interest in ensuring that climate and environmental policies do not get lost in the shuffle.

Britain did not vote to leave the European Union for worse air pollution or a degraded natural environment.

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Laura Olson, Senior Consultant at the United Nations Development Programme

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Bhola Slum is a consequence of the many factors that have prompted people to migrate from traditional rural livelihoods to urban centers in the precarious hope that they will find safe haven and a brighter future.

Millions of people have migrated from rural communities to urban centers in recent years, a trend that is only accelerating.

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Elliott Sclar, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University

As urban areas become more crowded and commuting times longer, governments and urban planners will need to consider ways to create easier access for all – be it by walking or cycling – rather than catering to easier mobility through ever more roadways.

Cities exist for one reason: They create easy access.

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Kris Hartley, Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University

Western know-how can help developing nations withstand and recover from earthquakes. But to be most effective, there has to be an understanding about the facts on the ground: Modern building standards can help, but indigenous knowledge of local geography, traditional building methods and community mobilization will go a long way in helping to facilitate the adoption of new models.

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Anne Louhelainen, Member of Parliament for the Finns Party

MP Talk gives members of parliament the opportunity to share their views on Finnish society with an international audience. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

The Finns Party is a young political party with a steady but colourful history.

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Deborah Gordon, Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The days of simply sticking a pipe in the ground and tapping a pool of easy-to-handle – and profitable – crude oil is fading. In order to maximize the planet’s oil reserve we need to challenge traditional thinking, as well as harness technical know-how in a way that will have minimal impact on climate.

There’s no standard oil.

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Stefan Wallin, Member of Parliament and Chair for the Swedish Parliamentary Group

MP Talk gives members of parliament the opportunity to share their views on Finnish society with an international audience. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

You would have been called insane if, a little over a year ago, you had said that Brits would vote to leave the EU

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Ivar Virgin, Senior Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute

Smallholder farms – those that are mainly family-focused – will be key to keeping the African continent well fed in the decades ahead. But a transformation agenda is needed that includes supportive government policies, institutional reforms and long-term investments in infrastructure.

Despite more than a decade of high economic growth and promising development,

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Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, former President of Mexico.

By one measure, there are two billion hectares of degraded land around the globe. Restoring it to arable conditions could not only help put food on the table, it could create twice as many jobs as smokestack industries.

The tension between urban and rural populations in countries around the world is emerging as a 21st century polarizing political force,

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