The Programme of Russia’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Council Presented to SPIEF Participants

The objectives and the programme of the Russian Chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 were presented at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ambassadors of Iceland, Canada, Finland, and Sweden, participating organizations and observers of the Arctic Council, as well as business representatives. The presentation was held in accordance with the Action Plan of the Russian Chairmanship in 2021–2023 approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Alexei Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, announced that the plan for the Russian Chairmanship in the Arctic Council includes 116 events. All of them are aimed at preserving the Arctic as a territory of dialogue, as well as peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation. The events will be dedicated to discussions on climate change and the Arctic environment, Indigenous Peoples, prevention of emergencies, infrastructure development and sustainable shipping, economic cooperation, international scientific cooperation, Arctic tourism, and cultural events. The events will take place in 11 regions; more than 40,000 people will take part.

“We see how much interest in the Arctic has grown, and how the region’s importance in the world has increased. We will strive to ensure the balance and sustainability of the Arctic region in all dimensions: environmental, social, economic,” said Nikolai Korchunov, Chairman of the Committee of Senior Arctic Officials, Ambassador-at-Large at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A prominent place in the agenda will be taken up by issues of preserving the identity and heritage of indigenous peoples, minimizing anthropogenic impact, preserving the environment, rational use of natural resources, sustainable economic development and building up international cooperation.

Vyacheslav Fetisov, legendary athlete and State Duma Deputy, spoke about the ‘Ultimate Game’ hockey match planned to be held at the North Pole. “Nobody has ever played at the North Pole. But it may happen so that this will be the first and last game, because of rapidly melting ice,” Mr. Fetisov said in his speech.

Vladimir Panov, Special Representative of Rosatom State Corporation for the Development of the Arctic, announced a project planned for implementation within the Arctic Council to develop sustainable shipping in the Arctic, and spoke about the work carried out by Novatek, Rosatom and Sovcomflot in terms of developing year-round navigation in the Northern Sea ​​Route.

During the presentation, it was also noted that the Russian Chairmanship is aimed at the effectiveness of scientific activity and the practical applicability of its results in the Arctic. Russia intends to optimize the application of scientific infrastructure, use advanced technology and best practices in the implementation of joint projects.

Under Russia’s Chairmanship, it is also planned to hold events in support for the development of sustainable tourism. The uniqueness and natural beauty of the Arctic’s wide-open spaces, as well as the traditional areas of industrial development in the Arctic, present great prospects for the expansion of tourism in the Arctic, which is becoming an important sector of the economy.

Answering one of the questions, the Minister for Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexei Chekunkov named three factors that will determine the quality of life in the Arctic. In his opinion, those are economy, technology, and emotions. “For Russia, the Arctic is the engine of economic growth. It accounts for 10% of our GDP and 20% of our exports. New projects that are in progress require a large number of employees. New jobs in the Arctic will attract people who are interested in working on breakthrough projects. We will work to strengthen the role of the Arctic Council as the main platform for international cooperation in the Arctic. It will be a strenuous and interesting work. Hopefully it will not be crippled by the pandemic-related issues. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum shows that we are able to return to our usual working formats. I hope that we will continue to work in this manner in the next two years of Russia’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Council,” Mr. Chekunkov said.

The theme for Russia’s Chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 is ‘Responsible Governance for Sustainable Arctic’.