Sustainable Development of the Far North Discussed at the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue Stand During SPIEF
Sustainable development of the Far North was discussed at the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue stand at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The business programme of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic included some 15 events covering such topics as international cooperation, creation of new supply chains, environmental conservation, tourism and others.
This is the second time that the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue stand has been set up during the SPIEF. The discussions focused on the most important areas of development in the northern regions. They further raised awareness of the challenges and prospects facing the Russian Arctic. The most important, strategic task is to maintain a balance between economic activities and further development of the region, on the one hand, and environmental conservation and elimination of accumulated damage, on the other. “I am confident that the representative list of participants from among heads of leading companies will make it possible to develop common approaches to this topical issue”, said Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The stand programme featured events planned as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the operator of the chairmanship events being the Roscongress Foundation.
Participants in the session “Protecting and Monitoring Arctic Biodiversity” examined the impact of climate change on Arctic ecosystems, use of modern technologies and public-private partnerships. The experts noted the need for legislative change in relation to operation of protected areas, as well as the importance of modernising the integrated monitoring system in the Far North.
The stand’s environmental and conservation agenda continued with the session “The Russian Arctic – Focal point. Protected Areas in the 21st Century”, which covered aspects of preserving ecosystems in the Arctic and the prospects for developing specially protected natural areas. The key challenges for further development of protected areas in the Arctic were said to include transport accessibility, elimination of accumulated damage, and attraction of new personnel to the industry.
Development of a new global transport artery was considered at the session “The Northern Sea Route. Outcomes and Plans”. According to the experts, the main challenges for further progressive development of this corridor are staffing and commissioning of new icebreakers. Given the congestion of traditional supply chains, this route could gain an additional competitive advantage. At the same time, organisation of sustainable shipping along the Northern Sea Route is key to further economic and infrastructure development of Siberia and the Far East.
“For the past two years, Russia has chaired the Arctic Council, an international format involving discussions between Arctic states on developing the North. Yet, following these countries’ decision to suspend collaboration with Russia within the framework of this alliance, we have shifted our focus to the domestic agenda and development of the Russian Arctic, which makes up half of the Arctic overall. What is happening there now, in terms of economic development, of navigational development, of technological development, is unprecedented. A new economic power is literally being forged before our eyes – a new economy for decades to come”, stressed Alexei Chekunov, Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.
A special event was held to look at further development of the business environment in the Far North, where the heads of all nine of Russia’s Arctic regions presented the investment opportunities in their constituent entities. Another session focused on developing new ways of state support for investment projects in the Arctic. The stand also hosted discussions on a convenient urban environment and master plans for cities and townships in the Russian Arctic, digital infrastructure, scientific and educational potential, attracting professional staff and young talent, as well as the prospects for the tourism industry and for promotion of Russian Arctic entities.
The programme also covered international cooperation in the Far North. The emerging areas of Arctic multilateral cooperation in the face of the global changes were addressed at the session “The Arctic Region as a Unique Area of International Cooperation: Prospects and Opportunities” under the Think Arctic – Think Global international project. The theme of partnership with non-Arctic countries was further elaborated at the session “Russia–Asia. Development Based on Trust.”
“The Russian Federation appreciates the increased attention that the non-Arctic states – China, India, the Gulf States and Latin America – are focusing on the Arctic agenda. The development of scientific and humanitarian cooperation, testing of joint approaches to climate-related challenges and joint development of infrastructure projects are key topics for continued inter-state cooperation. We believe that the BRICS states can also be involved in the partnership for the benefit of the northern latitudes, bearing in mind Russia’s forthcoming chairmanship in this integration format”, noted Nikolay Korchunov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.
Achievements of representatives of Russia’s creative industries, with an emphasis on regional and ethnic features, were presented to the guests of the Lenfilm studio, where the Soul of Russia International Festival of the Peoples of the North was held. It brought together more than 400 musicians, artists, craftsmen, designers, lecturers and other representatives of creative industries from 15 regions of Russia’s North. The event included exhibitions, workshops, lectures and film screenings. In addition, ethnic dwellings and street art works were on display, and music groups performed. As part of the Festival a session entitled “Film-Making in the Arctic: Dialogue between Nature and Technology” was held at the stand of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, where participants looked at various aspects of organising film production in the Arctic regions.
Apart from business events, visitors to the stand were able to enjoy the Arctic Bar, send a postcard with views of the Far North to anywhere in the world, and take part in a raffle to win tours to regions of the Russian Arctic.