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One Down, One to Go

The first year of Russia's chairmanship of the Arctic Council has come to an end

27 may 2022

May 20, 2022 // 20 May 2022 marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's chairmanship of the Arctic Council. During this time, it has conducted 36 events covering all the relevant Arctic issues. One more year of chairmanship is ahead, and with it even more important and interesting forums, conferences, seminars, round tables, festivals and exhibitions.

The results of the first year show that Russia is consistently moving toward its goal. The central event of the official block of events linked to Russia's chairmanship was the Council's plenary session on 1-2 December 2021 in Salekhard. It featured a number of issues related to the Arctic's socio-economic development. The participants discussed all the pressing issues, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of indigenous peoples and other residents of the Arctic region.

During its first year of chairmanship, Russia initiated many international projects aimed at digitising cultural and linguistic heritage of the indigenous peoples of the North, developing renewable energy sources, creating an international Arctic research station using carbon-free energy, ensuring biosecurity in the Arctic, etc. Russia is currently preparing projects for preserving traditional medicine of indigenous peoples and developing creative industries in the Arctic. Russia's initiative Digital Arctic Museums is also being worked on.

"Arctic dialogue participants who are willing to act together and eliminate competition between countries make make a significant contribution to the balanced development of the region. This approach is based on international scientific research, advanced technology and close attention to the ecosystem and the people who live and work in the North," says Aleksey Chekunkov, Minister of Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic.

There is even more work ahead. For its second year of chairmanship, Russia has planned a wide range of events covering all areas of Arctic development. A conference on preserving human health in the Arctic, as well as the Arctic: Territory of Development Conference on Ensuring a Comfortable Urban Environment and The Arctic as a National Megaproject: Staffing and Scientific Support conference will be devoted to improving the quality of life in the macro-region.

Ways to preserve the fragile nature of the northern latitudes will be discussed at the International Forum on Protected Areas in the Arctic, the Arctic Meteorological Summit, as well as at a conference on waste and the issue of microplastics in the Arctic. The focus will be on the development of environmental cooperation and the introduction of environmentally friendly technologies.

The Arctic-themed stand at the 2022 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will host three events as part of Russia's chairmanship: an international seminar on shipbuilding and ship repair in the Arctic, a conference on the development of telecommunications and digitalisation in the Arctic, as well as the block Creative Industries of the North of the Creative Business Forum. The Territory of Dialogue forum will also be held during the SPIEF. The key events of the 2022 cultural programme will include Teriberka Arctic Festival in the Murmansk region, the Bering Strait Festival in Chukotka and the 4th Northern Cultural Forum in Syktyvkar.

Unfortunately, in March, Western member countries of the Arctic Council temporarily suspended their participation in the official activities of the Council and its subsidiary bodies. This creates risks for the region's development.

"The sooner the Arctic Council resumes normal operations, the better off the entire international community will be. Russia is ready to resume high-latitude dialogue," said Nikolay Korchunov, chairman of the Arctic Council Committee of Senior Officials and ambassador-at-large for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Photos: MIA Rossiya Segodnya Read more Russia's Chairmanship of the Arctic Council A cross-cutting priority for the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council is 'responsible governance for the sustainable Arctic.'


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