St. Petersburg to Host International Arctic Forum 2019
The Organizing Committee of the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum held a meeting in Moscow on 17 January chaired by Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev.
The Committee decided to relocate the Forum, which is to be held on 9–10 April 2019, from Arkhangelsk to the ExpoForum Exhibition and Convention Centre in St. Petersburg. The decision is based on the need to accommodate a larger number of guests and participants at the Forum than in 2017 as well as the inability of Arkhangelsk’s hotel infrastructure to handle the growing demand. In addition, the ExpoForum Exhibition and Convention Centre, which hosts the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, allows for using a plenary session hall that can seat up to 3,000 people and also organizing a number of spaces for various formats of protocol events involving international delegations at a single site.
So far, 12 countries have confirmed their delegations will be taking part in the Forum’s business programme. “The International Arctic Forum is evolving and this is an important indicator of the implementation of the development strategy for the Russian Arctic”, Trutnev said. “This year, the number of applications for participation in the Forum has significantly exceeded our expectations. And we need to provide suitable working conditions for all the Forum participants. To this end, the event needs to be moved to St. Petersburg”. He noted that “the site in St. Petersburg has great potential. But now we will have to work more intensively taking into account the relocation of the venue”, Trutnev said. At the same time, some of the events will still be held in Arkhangelsk. “We need to leave a certain part of the agenda of Arctic events in Arkhangelsk. We need to think about how to link events in Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg”, Trutnev said. Measures to improve the infrastructure of Arkhangelsk that were planned as part of preparations for the Forum will also continue. “All this work should continue. We do not live from forum to forum. We have a goal – to develop the Arctic zone and to develop the Arctic territory. Arkhangelsk is one of the largest Arctic territories. All the work planned on these facilities must be carried out. We will control this”, Trutnev stressed to the meeting participants.
After the Organizing Committee meeting, Arkhangelsk Region Governor Igor Orlov said that “the decision was made to hold a conference on natural resources and ecology in the Arctic in even years in Arkhangelsk, and we will hold an ‘Icebreaking Expedition’ for Forum participants jointly with Rosatom State Corporation as part of the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg this year”.
Additional events were also outlined for the strategic development of the Arctic in Arkhangelsk. Artur Chilingarov, special envoy of the Russian President on international cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctica and deputy chairman of the International Arctic Forum 2019 Organizing Committee, said that the government is funding a number of major projects for the development of the Arctic, which
will help to strengthen the national economy, create a powerful icebreaker fleet, and even develop new parts of outer space. “Arkhangelsk Region Governor Igor Orlov and I agreed that we would hold annual enlarged meetings of the public commissions of the Polar Explorers Association, of which I am the president, with industry-specific focuses in Arkhangelsk at Northern (Arctic) Federal University”, Chilingarov said.
“We can state quite confidently that a new stage in the development of the Russian Arctic is upon us. Based on the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin, we must reach the level of 80 million tonnes of transportation via the Northern Sea Route by 2024. Major investment projects are currently being implemented, including the construction of an LNG marine transhipment complex in the Kamchatka Territory and the development of the Baim ore zone in the Chukotka Autonomous District. In the near future, we will also be discussing a number of changes that will help make this process more dynamic in order to fulfil the tasks set by the head of state”, Chairman of the International Arctic Forum Organizing Committee Yury Trutnev said.
Staying in the “Northern capital” Acting St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov stressed that the development of Russia’s Arctic zone is of strategic importance for the country. “The head of state has devoted special attention to improving the mechanisms for the development of the Arctic regions. President Vladimir Putin has approved the Development Strategy for the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and National Security for the Period Until 2020. The state programme for the socioeconomic development of the Arctic Zone has also been updated. It specifies priority measures for realizing the economic potential of the Arctic territories”, Beglov said. The city governor noted that holding the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg in 2019 will make a serious contribution to the implementation of the development strategy for the Russian Arctic. “The leaders of major international companies, politicians and diplomats, scientists and experts, and prominent public figures from different countries will come to discuss this topic. The city’s infrastructure is prepared to host the event at the highest level”, he said.