Outcomes of the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg
The ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum brought together more than 3,600 participants from the political, scientific, and business communities, as well as public representatives and leading media outlets from Russia and around the world. This represents a 50% increase compared to the last time the Forum was held in 2017, when it was attended by 2,400 participants. The number of countries represented also increased markedly – from 31 in 2017 to 52 in 2019. The largest delegations came from China, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the USA, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, and Japan.
The Forum was attended by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö, President of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Anders Samuelsen, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide. Eight countries sent officials responsible for Arctic affairs at their respective foreign ministries, and a number of EU representatives were also in attendance. Several heads of major international organizations were among the participants, representing the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Economic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, and the Saami Council. Other notable figures included Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Russia was represented by 7 federal ministers, 10 heads of national bodies and services, and 15 regional leaders.
The International Arctic Forum invariably attracts significant attention from the scientific community. In addition to regular participants, such as Artur Chilingarov, President of the Association of Polar Explorers, the Forum was attended for the first time by Gennady Cheurin, full member of the Russian Geographical Society since 1984, and Honorary Polar Explorer. Sabri Mered, co-founder of the French Polar Cluster, was also among the Forum’s first-time attendees.
A session of the State Commission for Arctic Development was held at the Forum, and attended by Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, as well as other members of the commission.
“We have presented an incentive system to ensure that projects in the Arctic are economically viable. Over the following week, we will collect feedback, suggestions, and comments. In two weeks’ time, we will be proposing a version of this incentive system to the Government of the Russian Federation,” Trutnev said at the session.
The key event on the Forum’s business programme was the plenary session, entitled ‘The Arctic. An Ocean of Opportunity’. In his address, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said, “This year we are going to draft and adopt a new strategy for the development of the Russian Arctic up to 2035. It is to combine measures stipulated in our national projects and state programmes, the investment plans of infrastructure companies and programmes for developing Arctic regions and cities. All Arctic regions should be brought to the level of at least the national average in key socioeconomic indicators and living standards.”
“The International Arctic Forum 2019 has brought together leading experts, top executives from major companies, and heads of relevant ministries and departments from Arctic nations. All of them are united in wanting to collaborate in the region. We have achieved what we set out to do, and we look forward to seeing the formation of international partnerships that will deliver results,” said Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation. “The event’s business programme was impressively broad in scope, covering all topics related to the comprehensive development of the Arctic. The Forum reinforced its position as one of the world’s leading platforms for discussing international collaboration, not only with regards the development of the Arctic economy, but also social development and protecting the environment and climate.” he added.
The business programme was divided into three pillars: ‘Coastal Territories’, ‘The Open Ocean’, and ‘Sustainable Development’. Over the course of three days, 49 events were held, including sessions, discussions, pitch sessions, and lectures.
The Forum was attended by 129 top executives from Russian companies, and 12 from international companies.
33 session across three pillars.
11 events for Youth Day.
- roundtable on the development of the Northern Sea Route held on board the 50 Let Pobedy icebreaker
- Session of the State Commission for Arctic Development
- Arctic Municipalities Forum
- 2nd Northern Forum Governors’ Meeting
- roundtable on the ideological basis of Arctic development, by TASS News Agency.
The Forum’s exhibition featured 24 stands. These showcased the largest Arctic regions, including Arkhangelsk Region, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, St. Petersburg, Murmansk Region, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the Sakha Republic [Yakutia], the Komi Republic, Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Khakassia, and the Republic of Tyva (the latter three united by the Yenisey Siberia project). Companies with stands at the Forum included Gazprom, Novatek, NORNICKEL, Almaz – Antey Corporation, Damen Shipyards, and others. Other organizations to showcase their developments and exhibits included BMSTU, the Central Research Institute for Automation and Hydraulics, the Kurchatov Institute, the Roscongress Foundation’s Innovation Space, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, and the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs.
Eight hundred and forty-five badges were issued to media representatives from Russia and 15 other countries, including Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Vietnam, and the USA.
Forty-five agreements were signed at the Forum worth a total of RUB 69.8 billion (counting agreements where the figures were not classified as commercial secrets).
The biggest of these agreements are detailed below:
• Arkhangelsk Region, ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. and the First Ore-Mining Company signed an agreement worth RUB 35.5 billion to support an investment project to construct a mining and processing plant at the Pavlovskoye lead-zinc ore deposit.
• Murmansk Region and Kola MMC signed an addendum to their Special Investment Contract worth RUB 34.3 billion covering state support for investment in Murmansk Region in relation to the region’s strategic project involving a programme to reconfigure production facilities at Kola MMC.
• ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. and Almaz – Antey Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding covering cooperation on Arctic projects.
• Arkhangelsk Region and St. Petersburg signed a road map for increasing collaboration in 2019–2021. The document forms an addendum to an agreement signed on 18 June 2015 between the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Government of St. Petersburg on trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation.
• Sakhatransneftegaz and RNG Gas signed an agreement on a joint venture involving geological surveying and development of the Ulugursky subsoil site.
• Arkhangelsk Region and Nenets Autonomous Okrug signed a cooperation agreement covering regional and interregional air transport.
• Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Rosatom State Corporation signed a cooperation agreement on using the Indiga port as a hub for transporting international shipments from feeder lines to the Arctic fleet, with subsequent transportation along the Europe–Asia–Europe route.
• The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and Sovcomflot signed a cooperation agreement.
• The Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation signed three agreements to implement Smart City pilot projects, involving the digitalization of municipal services. The projects will be implemented in Yakutsk (Republic of Sakha), Petrozavodsk (Karelia), and Velikiye Luki (Pskov Region).
• The Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard, and Zhatayskaya Shipyard signed an agreement to foster staff training in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry, conduct joint scientific and technical research, and develop and implement joint initiatives on a mutually beneficial basis.
• The Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (China), signed an agreement on the establishment of the China–Russia Arctic Research Centre, with the aim of studying the Arctic region and preserving its natural diversity.
• The Russian Geographical Society and the Arctic Society of Finland signed a cooperation agreement covering scientific and cultural collaboration in studying the Arctic region.
• Sberbank and Aeon Corporation signed a strategic cooperation agreement as part of a project to build the Indiga frost-free deep-sea port.
• Novatek and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug signed an addendum to an earlier cooperation agreement between the two entities. In 2019, Novatek will help fund social, educational, sports, and environmental projects in the region, as well as provide support for indigenous peoples of the North.
• The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart), and Gazprom signed an agreement on the development of technologies and equipment in oil refining, petrochemicals, and processing and liquefaction of natural gas, including those based on gravity type platforms.
A wide range of issues was discussed during the Forum’s Youth Day.
The event was organized by the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) and the Russian Centre for Youth Entrepreneurship, with the support of the Roscongress Foundation.
The plenary session was entitled ‘Bringing Together Young People in the Arctic: Opportunities for Personal Development and Career Growth’. Speakers at the session were unanimous in their view that it will not be possible to implement ambitious projects in the Arctic over the foreseeable future without the participation of young people. Andrey Platonov, Deputy Director of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) said, “The International Arctic Forum provides young people with an excellent opportunity to present their projects and get assistance in implementing them.”
An informative and engaging cultural programme was provided for guests and participants of the Forum, encompassing numerous exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, concerts, and presentations.
This was the first forum to feature events held by the Roscongress Sports Club. Horse-riding, a gala ice-hockey match, sporting and practice shooting tournaments and a squash tournament were all on offer.
Expert and analytical support for the Forum
The Roscongress Information and Analytical System continued to roll out its Summary service, a product by the Roscongress Foundation and TASS News Agency providing analytical summaries of discussions. These include overviews of conclusions, problems, and solutions covered at the event. A total of 30 express summaries covering Forum events were rapidly created and published, providing clear analytical overviews.
Important quotes by key speakers at the Forum can be viewed in the Expert Opinion tab of the Analytics section.
Expert and analytical support for the Forum was provided by more than 30 specialists in economic sciences, international cooperation, and the digital economy. These included employees of Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University of Economics, the Centre for Information and Legal Support for the Development of the Arctic, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Regional Economic Problems, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, the European University in St. Petersburg, and the Far Eastern Federal University. Their work will culminate in a set of expert opinions on the outcomes of discussions at the Forum.
A booklet covering the outcomes of the International Arctic Forum 2019 will be published and made available on the official event website (forumarctica.ru) and the Roscongress Information and Analytical System (roscongress.org).
The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, exhibitions, and public events.
The Roscongress Foundation was founded in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives. The Foundation’s events draw more than 80,000 participants each year from 195 countries, with more than 10,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 2,500 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with economic partners from 75 countries worldwide.