Yakutsk Hosts 4th Northern Sustainable Development Forum
Participants in the 4th Northern Sustainable Development Forum in Yakutsk discussed ways to increase energy supplies to the northern territories, enhance the resilience of Arctic settlements, and attract young people to the region. The event was held as part of the plan for the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The chairmanship events are operated by the Roscongress Foundation.
“In recent years, the Northern Sustainable Development Forum has established itself as a key and respected expert platform for the Arctic as a whole. This is confirmed by the fact that leading Russian and foreign scientists take part in the forum,” Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aysen Nikolayev said.
The forum was attended by representatives of 10 countries, including Kazakhstan, India, China, Mongolia, Iceland, South Korea, the United States, Switzerland, Finland, and Italy. The event was held under the motto ‘Arctic Energy: New Challenges – New Solutions and Technologies’. The forum featured over 40 events in the format of foresight sessions, expert discussions, strategic sessions, and roundtables centred around five thematic pillars. The discussion topics included issues concerning the distributed generation of energy, the development of medicine and tourism, and support for Indigenous peoples, young people, and the training of human resources. The forum discussions also focused on ways to develop partnerships for the sustainable development of the North and the Arctic, find a balance between ecology and investment in the development of tourism, the digitalization of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the peoples of the Arctic, and the modernization of Arctic transport corridors.
“Providing the necessary conditions to improve people’s quality of life in the Arctic, including increasing the availability of education and healthcare services and expanding scientific and humanitarian contacts, including youth exchanges, plays a central role in the agenda of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. It is of paramount importance for Russia that cooperation in matters concerning sustainable investment and economic activity in the Arctic is expanded taking into account the rights, interests, and traditional way of life and cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic,” Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Arctic Senior Officials Nikolay Korchunov said during the forum’s plenary session.
In addition, the forum also hosted the 3rd Summit of Governors of the Northern Forum, which was attended by the heads of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), as well as regional coordinators, business partners, goodwill ambassadors of the Northern Forum, representatives of the regions and business, and the expert community. The participants noted that there are prospects for developing cooperation with regions and organizations of Asian countries, including the SCO and BRICS, since the problems raised by the organization’s participants are universal in nature and even non-Arctic regions are interested in solving them.
In addition, the participants of the Northern Sustainable Development Forum signed an agreement on the establishment of the Russian-Asian Consortium for Arctic Research. The consortium includes more than 10 Russian universities from Russia’s Arctic zone. The consortium participants will work on promoting and implementing joint projects with partners in Asian countries.
The forum was organized by the government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Northern Forum International Organization of Northern Regions, and Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University, which who initiated the forum.
Russia is chairing the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. A cross-cutting priority of the chairmanship is to ensure responsible governance over the sustainable development of the Arctic. Based on its respect for international law, Russia intends to promote collective approaches to the development of the Arctic with a social, economic, and environmental balance.