Second Russian Forum-Festival ‘The Arctic. The Ice Has Broken’ Held in Murmansk
Participants of the Second Russian Volunteer Forum-Festival ‘The Arctic. The Ice Has Broken’ business programme discussed the development of Arctic tourism and a comfortable urban environment in the Far North, how to protect the environment in northern latitudes, and environmental initiatives to this end in Murmansk on 22–25 June. The event was held as part of the plan for Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Chairmanship events have been operated by the Roscongress Foundation.
“The state has been paying priority attention to the exploration and harmonious development of the Arctic. It is notable that volunteers, students and representatives of public organisations and businesses, who are energetic and caring people with a responsible stand in society and life, are actively contributing to dealing with these challenging issues. I know that they have already accomplished a great deal: they have cleaned 110 hectares of the Arctic and removed over 5,000 tonnes of waste. This ambitious and much-needed project will continue. I am confident that during this forum you will discuss a broad range of issues pertaining to environmental protection and will map out new objectives and plans,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his opening address to event participants.
One of the forum-festival programme’s most important events was the plenary session ‘To Live, Work, Learn, and Discover in the Arctic’. Speakers included representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the State Duma, the Federation Council, regional Arctic authorities, and public organizations. They joined the volunteers in discussing how to raise local living standards, environmental volunteering, improving human resources in Arctic constituent entities, and modernizing environmental legislation, monitoring the permafrost, and organizing volunteer activities.
The forum also included an ‘Arctic Dialogue’ on business development and attracting young people to the Murmansk Region. It was attended by representatives of the Ecosystem movement, the Arctic Initiatives Centre, and Clean Arctic partner companies Rosatom, Nornickel, PhosAgro, and Arktikugol.
“Russia has held the chairmanship of the Arctic Council for 2021–2023. Environmental conservation has been one of our chairmanship’s main priorities. The development of the Arctic territories has meant an increase in the number of icebreaking ships and tourist and freight traffic along the Northern Sea Route and lending the issue particular urgency. The forum-festival ‘The Arctic. The Ice Has Broken’ is a unique platform where solutions to the most important issues facing the climate and environmental agenda — such as the development of the Northern Sea Route and its environmental monitoring system, the functioning of specially protected areas, and a general clean up of the Arctic — can all be explored,” Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev said.
During the forum-festival, experts and volunteers also discussed the implementation of the Northern Sea Route project, the functioning of specially protected natural areas, and the training of personnel for the regions of the Russian Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. The programme likewise included a brainstorming session during which volunteers prepared projects for the development of Arctic territories and then presented them to experts and the audience.
“It is important that the Arctic nurtures new generations and that new enterprises are created, transport and energy infrastructure developed, housing built, and improvements made to the urban and natural environment. It has always been the case that strong people are needed to overcome the dangerous conditions and break the ice in the northern territories, and not only metaphorically. You have already done a lot to mitigate the damage done to the environment over time and cleaned up huge swaths of land. I would like to thank all event organizers and participants for their initiative and concern, for their positive attitude, and for their desire to contribute to the development of the Arctic,” Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Alexey Chekunov said.
As part of the forum-festival, volunteers took part in a special nighttime Arctic clean-up in the polar village of Abram-Mys and helped lift a sunken vessel. EMERCOM Russia was also involved in preparing master classes for the volunteers on mountaineering, first aid and open water rescue, diving, and survival in the natural environment. Finally, the volunteers had an opportunity to test their strength in the popular team sporting event, the Clean Arctic Heroes Race.
The forum-festival cultural programme included a screening of the film Nuremberg, a special meeting with the film’s creator, a tour of Murmansk, a visit to the museum in Severomorsk, and technical tours of local Atomflot, and SUEK sites.
200 individuals from 89 Russian regions and Mongolia, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Slovakia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo participated in forum-festival events. Addressing the volunteers and other participants were representatives of federal and regional authorities, legislative bodies, heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Arctic zone, and experts from environmental and conservation organisations.
The Second Russian Forum-Festival ‘The Arctic. The Ice Has Broken’ was organized by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, with support from the Clean Arctic Organization.
The First Russian Volunteer Forum-Festival ‘The Arctic. The Ice Has Broken’ was held on 16–18 August 2022 in Usinsk (Komi Republic) and was attended by volunteers from every Russian region.