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2021 May 17 14:09

Russia approves its Arctic Council Chairmanship program for 2021–2023

Its concept is aimed at facilitation of well balanced development in the Arctic Region

Under the Russian Federation’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023 Russia is set to develop cooperation with the Member States with the following priorities: the Arctic population including low-numbered indigenous peoples of the North, environment protection including climate change issues, social and economic development of the region and strengthening the role of the Arctic Council as the key platform for multilateral cooperation in high latitudes. The Concept of the Russian Federation’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023 has been approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, says press center of the Russian Government.

Established in 1996, Arctic Council is the pre-eminent intergovernmental forum for cooperation on Arctic affairs. Canada, The Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States are Members of the Arctic Council. Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to non-Arctic states, along with inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work.

The Concept approved by the Prime Minister is aimed at accomplishment of objectives set forth by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Basics of the State Policy in the Arctic and the Strategy for Developing the Russian Arctic Zone and Ensuring National Security until 2035. Among them – strengthening of the Arctic Council’s role as the key regional forum coordinating international activities in the area as well as development of good neighbour relations with the Arctic states on a bilateral basis and through multilateral cooperation.

“The Russian Federation is open for cooperation with other states towards the economic development of the Arctic, raising living standards of people, implementation of new investment projects, – said Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation - Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District. – Our country has been a leader in several activities related to the Arctic development. Among them is the development of the Northern Sea Route, science, technologies and environment protection”.

According to Yury Trutnev, international cooperation can give a new impetus to the development of the current scientific projects and launching of new ones. It will contribute to interacademic cooperation, enhance partnership within the business community and ensure stronger economic ties.

“Chairmanship is a unique platform for stimulation of economic growth, international cooperation, support of investment projects through public private partnership and it is also an excellent opportunity for the development of interaction between the Arctic States, coordination of their activities in the interest of sustainable development in the area, protection of environment, preservation of culture, traditions and languages of indigenous peoples of the North”, says Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee for the Russian Federation’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023.

Mikhail Mishustin also approved a detailed plan of activities under Russia’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The plan includes festivals, research and practice conferences, congresses, expeditions, summits, roundtables, forums and professional skill exchange activities. They will be organized by the federal and regional executive authorities, public and educational organizations and business structures. Most of activities will be held in the northern cities of Russia: Yakutsk, Salekhard, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Syktyvkar and in the north of Norway. That will let foreign guests know more about Russia’s polar areas and find territories most suitable for investments. The activities foreseen by the plan will involve more than 467,000 people.

The official part includes the executive meetings, meetings of work and expert groups as well as meetings of the Arctic Economic Council where Russia also takes over the chairmanship in May 2021. The years of 2021 and 2023 will also see the holding of the international forum “Arctic – Territory of Dialogue” acknowledged as the key platform for discussing the issues of social and economic development of the northern territories and development of multilateral partnership instruments.

The ‘Economic development’ segment includes activities dedicated to the development of shelf, strengthening of ties between chambers of industry and commerce, shipbuilding and aquafarming issues.

The climate change issue will be discussed at the global summit on the permafrost thawing scheduled for 2023 and at conferences on the region’s adaptation to the global climate changes, on improvement of systems to monitor the environment, to cope with the microplastics pollution, to prevent oil spills, to keep the bio diversity and to promote green energy.

Among other issues to be discussed are the development of the human capital and support for the low-numbered indigenous peoples. The main priorities are - how to attract new human resources to the region, how to save the health of local residents, and to improve the urban environment.

Some events are related to the international project “Children of the Arctic” aimed at supporting new educational forms in specific climate and cultural conditions, and the initiative to keep the cultural and linguistic heritage of the North’s indigenous peoples.

The plan also foresees an eventful cultural programme.

“Russia is interested in maintaining the Arctic as the territory of peace, stable and mutually beneficial cooperation. Any interaction in the North should be based on the strategic interests of the global commons”, said Aleksey Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic.

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