Arctic Economic Council Holds Meeting at SPIEF 5 June 2021The Russian FederationRussian Chairmanship The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) hosted a meeting of the Arctic Economic Council. This was the first event since Russia took over the Chairmanship in the organization. Nikolai Korchunov, Chairman of the Committee of Senior Arctic Officials and Ambassador-at-Large at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was in attendance. As Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev noted in a video message to the meeting participants, a territory of common responsibility which is the Arctic demands concerted action, as well as open and constructive dialogue. “The Government of the Russian Federation will make every effort to ensure that during Russia’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Economic Council, all of us together take a step forward in mutual understanding, economic cooperation, and maintaining the sustainability of the Arctic region,” Mr. Trutnev said. According to Alexei Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, it is extremely important to set the right pace and channel the rhetoric and spirit of international cooperation and partnership for the development of the Arctic in the most constructive way. “As a business superstructure over the intergovernmental mechanism, the Arctic Economic Council speaks the language of business and can reach agreements in a faster and more efficient manner. It may become the icebreaker that leads the way to constructive interaction in the Arctic for politicians, diplomats, and the general public,” Mr. Chekunkov noted. Russia has set up a framework for state policy in the Arctic for a decade and a half to come. The world’s largest preferential economic zone with a total area of 5 million sq. kilometres has been created. Under preferential treatment, more than 100 companies are already implementing projects with a total volume exceeding RUB 200 billion. The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic is creating a digital model of the economy of the North, which would also allow Russia to manage its Arctic territories more efficiently, and to demonstrate all interconnections to the global community, using the most advanced technology. Members of the AEC expressed a shared opinion that business development in the Arctic should be based on the principles of balancing the environmental, climatic and social factors with business activity. The Arctic Economic Council is an independent international association of companies implementing major projects in the Arctic, aimed at developing partnerships and sharing best practices. The council includes 38 companies from Russia, Sweden, USA, Canada, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Norway. Russia is represented by companies such as Novatek, Sovcomflot, and Rosatom. These companies actively participate in the economic development of the Arctic, implement projects of global importance that put their imprint on the world energy market, and promote the peaceful use of modern nuclear technologies. Megafon and Gazprom Neft are partners of the AEC. In addition, representatives of small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North participate in the Council’s work. In May 2021, Russia took over the Chairmanship in the Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council. The Secretariat of the AEC’s national section was formed on the basis of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.