Yakutsk to Host Research and Training Conference on Climate Change and Permafrost Thawing on 22–24 March

Yakutsk will host a research and training conference on climate change and permafrost thawing on 22–24 March as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The event aims to find joint practical and scientifically grounded solutions to adapt the economy to climate change.

“Science as a whole and scientific cooperation in particular are among the key drivers for the development of the Arctic. The intensive and sustainable development of the Arctic and Far Eastern regions and improving people’s quality of life is a priority for our country. Today, new unique enterprises as well as transport, industrial, and social infrastructure are being created in the Arctic, and much attention is being devoted to environmental protection. It’s crucial that this work is based on modern scientific research and development, which, among other things, helps to take into account the risks associated with climate change and ensure a balance between economic development and the preservation of the unique Arctic ecosystem,” Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexey Chekunkov said.

The conference will be attended by Russian and foreign scientists, economists, engineers, builders, and government representatives, including federal ministers and heads of Russia’s Arctic regions. More than 200 experts from Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, and other countries are expected to attend the conference.

“The topics that will be discussed at the conference in Yakutsk are crucial for the entire planet. The changing climate is one of the most serious challenges of modern times. Thus, it is extremely important to join forces and learn how to better understand the causes and mechanisms of climate change, as well as to counter its consequences. In the context of global warming, the Arctic, which is regarded as the ‘kitchen’ of the weather, is a vulnerable territory, where the process of climate change is most clearly manifested. This is why the second key issue of the conference is the problem of permafrost thawing. It literally and figuratively serves as the foundation on which the Arctic ecosystems, engineering structures, cities and towns, and the lives of people planning their present and future are built. Indeed, permafrost occupies about two-thirds of our country’s territory and a quarter of the land of the entire globe,” Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Arctic Senior Officials Nikolay Korchunov said.

The research and training agenda of the conference will primarily be devoted to the sustainability of the natural and technical systems of permafrost in the context of climate change, which will be discussed in a popular science format, among other formats.

The event will include two plenary sessions: ‘Permafrost and the Challenges of Global Climate Change’ and ‘The Experience of Russian Regions in the Preservation of Permafrost and Climate Change Issues’. Roundtables will also be held on the adaptation of industry, the environmental risks of climate change, and prospects for scientific research of the Earth’s cryosphere in Yakutia. A special youth section at the conference will provide the community of young scientists with an opportunity to discuss topical problems related to permafrost in the current realities of climate change.

The conference events will be held both in person and remotely. Studios will be organized for participants in Moscow, Beijing, and Astana, and live broadcasts of meetings and sessions will be available on the event page on the Russian chairmanship’s official website. The conference is being organized by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic together with the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The Roscongress Foundation manages the events of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Environmental protection, including issues related to climate change, is among the priorities of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Given the rapid climate change in the Arctic, which includes, among other things, the degradation of permafrost and the emission of gas hydrates, Russia believes the primary challenges are to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, ensure people adapt their daily activities to these changes and enhance their sustainability, preserve and restore the environment, use natural resources sustainably, maintain the health of Arctic ecosystems, including the marine environment, and preserve biodiversity, in particular as concerns migratory bird species.