The development of the Arctic in the new geopolitical conditions was discussed in St. Petersburg and summed up the year
More than 5000 people participated in the XII International Forum «Arctic: Today and the Future» in offline and online formats from 80 countries around the world. Experts from different countries at 56 business events discussed sustainable development, international cooperation and new opportunities in the macro-region at a time of global instability..
The International Forum «Arctic: Today and the Future» is an annual public event of the year that raises a whole range of issues related to the socio-economic development of the Russian Arctic zone: the development of transport routes, the development of the resource base, investment in Arctic projects, social development and youth support, scientific research, human resource development, ecosystem conservation, cultural heritage, development of a creative economy in the Arctic, creating a comfortable urban environment, the role of women in developing the Russian Arctic zone, and ensuring the development of the Arctic. The forum is the absolute leader in Russia in terms of the number of business events. In 2022 it hosted 56 sessions.
«The Arctic is the largest free economic zone in the world. Today 621 investment projects are being implemented in the Arctic, which will bring 1.6 trillion investments. Already 277 billion rubles have been invested. This has provided 10000 new jobs and should provide 35000 more. More than 3000 participants have received land under the Arctic Hectare program, and more than 10000 people have applied. 70% are building houses, 20% are doing business in this territory, and 10% are farming, » said Alexei Chekunkov, the Russian Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.
Special attention was paid to the Northern Sea Route. Sergey Ivanov, special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the issues of environmental protection, ecology and transport, emphasized environmental development of the Northern Sea Route. «The Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia should develop criteria for shipping along the Northern Sea Route. These criteria should be very stringent, perhaps the most stringent in the world, because the consequences of oil spills in the northern seas is incomparable with the Gulf of Mexico, for example. Ecology comes first, everything else is secondary», says Ivanov.
The deputy chairman of the State Commission for Arctic Development, Vladimir Panov, said in his speech that despite the difficult geopolitical situation, the volume of freight traffic is increasing. Cargo turnover along the Northern Sea Route in 2022 has already reached 32 million tons, and by the end of the year it will increase to 34 million tons. Plans are to reach 80 million tons by 2024, and by 2030 to 150 million tons. To make it possible, it is planned to increase the icebreaker fleet to 17 icebreakers by 2030.
«The Northern Sea Route is the only road in which Russia has unique competences. It all started with Norilsk Nickel's breakthrough decisions. They created today's reality in terms of logistics», summarized Panov.
Chekunkov confirmed that development of the Northern Sea Route requires extraordinary investments and readiness of land and fleet infrastructure. Safety of navigation on the NSR will be provided by new satellite constellation, which includes 12 new apparatuses, new hydrographic infrastructure, emergency and rescue infrastructure. A total of 438 billion rubles has been allocated for this.
Within the framework of the Forum there were special solemn events dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Glavsevmorput with the support of Rosatom and the conference: «90 years of the Northern Sea Route. Experience of the past in the service of the future ».
The Law on Northern Shipping will be adopted in spring 2023. This is a significant document, which is important for all the Arctic regions. It will introduce the concept of backbone infrastructure, and entrust the federal budget with its maintenance. Budgetary credits will be legalized for regions to ensure the northern delivery. The work with the northern delivery will be digitalized as much as possible, which will increase the planning horizon by 3 years and increase its efficiency, reduce the cost of delivery, and give small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to participate in this process.
Irina Yarovaya, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, said that the development of the Arctic is a strategic priority for Russia and an issue of national security. «In my work I see the priority behind the development of health care and education. This is what interests every person and ensures comfortable living. It is necessary to develop regulations for emergency medical care for remote territories, using all the high technology at our disposal. It is the number one issue, because it influences the desire, possibilities, protection of a person in such harsh conditions for living, for planning the future, for creating a family and having children, - said Yarovaya. - Also a draft law has already been developed where a targeted approach to training is provided, when employers will apply and the kids will be able to understand what professions are in demand and build their future based on the real demands of business».
The international agenda was especially prominent at the forum. The event was attended by scientists, public and government officials from many countries around the world who are interested in cooperation on sustainable development of the Arctic.
«We see a growing interest in the Arctic and high-latitude cooperation on the part of BRICS countries, the SCO, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. The current situation requires us to regroup, to switch to a wider range of methods and formats of international cooperation with those countries and organizations that share our approaches to the region's sustainable development», says Nikolai Korchunov, Ambassador-at-Large for the Russian Foreign Ministry and Chairman of the Committee of Senior Arctic Officials.
«The professional community's initiatives developed during the Forum will be summarized in the Forum's final Public Resolution, a universal tool for the development of public dialogue in the Arctic. The resolution will be sent for further elaboration of proposals to the State Commission for Arctic Development, relevant ministries and agencies, all interested structures and will be taken into account when improving legislation, state management and administration», says Mikhail Slipenchuk, Vice-President of the Association of Polar Explorers.
He also noted that the association pays great attention to the development of interregional cooperation on the implementation of Arctic projects. The International Humanitarian and Educational Center «Poles of the Earth» was created by the Association of Polar Explorers to draw public attention to the life of the polar regions, transfer best practices, build a new cadre, preserve the history and culture of the country's peoples, develop educational activities and solve problems within the framework of sustainable development of the polar territories. The Government of the Russian Federation supported the creation of the Poles of the Earth International Humanitarian and Educational Center, including in the Concept of the Arctic Council Chairmanship the use of its capabilities to realize the potential of youth in the Arctic.
During the business program a number of agreements were signed: the Association of Polar Explorers and the Russian Geographical Society, the Association of Polar Explorers and Rossotrudnichestvo, MMC Norilsk Nickel and Rosatom.
The business programme was accompanied by a large-scale exhibition, which demonstrated technical innovations for the Arctic.
The event is organized by the Association of Polar Explorers with the support and participation of both chambers of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Russian Government, the State Commission for Arctic Development, the Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic and other relevant ministries and departments.
The Forum was supported by the general partner - PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, partner of PJSC Novatek and partner of the section of JSC NRC Construction; the general information partner is the Russian News Agency TASS.
Special partner of the Forum - non-profit organization Polar Research Foundation.
The environmental sponsor of the Forum was VTB Bank PJSC.