SPIEF Considers Outlook for International Cooperation in the Arctic
Participants of the‘International Cooperation for Sustainable Development in the Arctic’ session of the Think Arctic project, which is being implemented as part of the programme of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 with the assistance of the Roscongress Foundation, discussedhow to carry out joint Arctic projects of various kinds andmaintain multilateral interaction. The event was held at the 25thSt. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which has been taking place from 15–18 June 2022.
According to Nikolay Korchunov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials at the Arctic Council,the Arctic is gaining global importance in world politics. The reasons for this transformation stem from climate change and the Arctic’s role in this process, the emergence of new transport routes, and the increasing economic importance of the Arctic region amid the current energy transition. This comes with an increased demand in the strategic and critical materials that are available in the Arctic.
“I would like to adopt our analytical project‘Think Arctic – Think Global’ as a motto,” Korchunov said. “We welcome the creation of a broad international partnership involving our respected foreign colleagues, including non-Arctic states, for the sustainable development of the Arctic region,a development that would be able to incorporate environmental, social, and economic components harmoniously.”
At the same time, Korchunov commented on the decision of other countries in the Arctic Council to partially resume organization project activities without the participation of Russia, expressinga belief that the current situation was temporary in nature. “We hope and assume that the situation will be resolved and we will return to full cooperation,” he said.
According to Dmitry Kobylkin, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection,no other country was more familiar with the problems of the Arctic than Russia. “The Arctic is not a communal flat, you can’tjustmoveout,” Kobylkin said. He also stressed the importance of considering the views of those living in the Arctic before setting about developing the region. “It is very important that we preserve the traditional way of life of the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. Everything that we create in the Arctic, including industry, must be done with an eye to the wisdom and knowledge of the aboriginal inhabitants of the polar regions.”
Zhou Liqun, President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia, talked about the current state of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the Arctic and the outlook for future cooperation and noted that Beijing attached particular importance to the Northern Sea Route as a faster and more profitable route for shipping goods from Asia. At the same time, the President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs expressed a belief that it would be preferable to realise the potential of the Arctic region in international cooperation rather than in a spirit of rivalry.
For his part, Vice Admiral Satish Soni, a retired Indian Navy officer and former Commandant of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Commander-in-Chief of the Southern and Eastern Commands, suggested cooperating in maritime shipping, particularly in the waters of the Northern Sea Route. He alsospoke of India’s considerable experience in dealing with climate change and reclaiming new areas suitable for agriculture as it is freed up from the ice. Other areas of potential cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi in the Arctic include combating carbon dioxide emissions and constructing roads.
According to Mads Frederiksen, Executive Director of the Arctic Economic Council, an organization that represents companies working in the Arctic region, a number of partners, including companies from France, Switzerland, and Greece, have expressed their interest in working together in the Arctic. He also invited companies from India and China to take part.
“The Arctic region is enormous, and a great part of it is in Russia, so cooperation needs to continue. We all face the same challenges: climate change, jobs for the people living there. Many companies, such as Novatek, continue to do their work. A lot of jobs in the region depend on them. Yes, there are difficulties to be dealt with, but you can’t just stop working. This applies to companies and to cooperation in the Arctic,” Frederiksen said.
The ‘International Cooperation for Sustainable Development in the Arctic’ session was the fourth Think Arctic project event to take place. It was jointly implemented by the Roscongress Foundation and the Centre for Integrated European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics as part of the programme of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The event was attended by Alexander Makarov, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Alla Pozdnakova, Professor at the University of Oslo, Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway,Kapoor Nivedita, Post-doctoral Fellow, International Laboratory on World Order Studies and the New Regionalism, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, National Research University Higher School of Economics, and Venkatesh Varma Datla Bala, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Indian Republic in the Russian Federation among others.
The comprehensive programme of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council aims to promote cooperation to improve the well-being and quality of life of those living in the Arctic, including the indigenous peoples of the North, to facilitate their adaptation to the effects of climate change, preserve Arctic biodiversity and unique ecosystems, ensure social and economic development, find solutions to questions of global energy and transport security, promote scientific cooperation in the polar regions, and strengthen Arctic cooperation.
Official social media accounts of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council:
The leaders of more than a hundred initiatives in the top 1000 of the ASI and Roscongress Foundation's Powerful Ideas for a New Era Forum visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2022). They presented initiatives in seven thematic areas of the Forum to potential partners: 25 ideas from the National Technology Initiative (NTI), 23 ideas from the National Social Initiative (NSI), 16 ideas from the National Human Resources Initiative, 16 ideas from the National Environmental Initiative, 13 ideas on entrepreneurship, and five from each of the Open Talk and Regional Development tracks.
Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials at the Arctic Council Nikolay Korchunov and Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy met during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to discuss the importance of interdisciplinary Arctic research on the climate, ecology, and biodiversity, according to the university’s press office. The meeting took place during Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The operator of Russian Chairmanship events is the Roscongress Foundation.
The Russian Ministry for Development of the Far East stand ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ was first opened at the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and has become a platform for 16 Arctic agenda events, including a number constituting part of the official plan of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 with the assistance of the Roscongress Foundation.
The 25th anniversary meeting took place in the face of unprecedented pressure from sanctions, but this did not affect the attention paid by both Russian and foreign companies to this major business event.
“Digital economy is a new paradigm for the development of the state, the economy and society.”
To participants, organizers and guests of the
25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. I sincerely congratulate the Forum organizers and all those who have taken and are taking part in its work on this significant anniversary.
Over the years, the Forum has become a highly respected and representative international event. Its participants, which include Russian and foreign politicians, scientists and entrepreneurs, focus on a variety of topics concerning the domestic and world economy: from specific areas of industrial cooperation to information security and environmental protection. Mutually beneficial long-term contracts are signed and business experience is exchanged in the course of direct and constructive communication.
The Forum’s anniversary is taking place at a difficult time for the entire international community. The mistakes of Western countries in economic policy over many years and illegitimate sanctions have led to a wave of global inflation, the disruption of usual supply chains, and a sharp increase in poverty and food shortages. Yet, as can be the case, along with these challenges, new prospects are emerging. This is why the Forum’s slogan – New Opportunities in a New World – seems so relevant.
I am confident that for Russia the 2020s will become a period when the country strengthens its economic sovereignty, which involves the accelerated development of its infrastructure and technological base, qualitative upgrades in the level of training for specialists, as well as the establishment of an independent and efficient financial system. In addition, the Russian economy will increasingly rely on private initiatives and, of course, will remain committed to transparency and broad international cooperation.
It is in our common interests to bolster trade and investment, encourage the joint development of technologies, strengthen financial and stock markets, and increase the share of settlements in national currencies. It is crucial to introduce and develop truly mutually beneficial integration models, as is already being done in the Eurasian Economic Union.
I strongly believe that the Forum will continue to make a significant contribution to solving numerous high-priority challenges facing humanity, while mutual trust, meaningfulness and commitment to fruitful dialogue and partnership will invariably remain its distinguishing features.