Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of Arctic Region Meets in Murmansk

A meeting of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR) was held in Murmansk. The Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians working group includes experts from Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, the United States, Finland, Sweden, and the European Parliament.

Event participants discussed topical issues related to the development of the Arctic region, its transport system, including the Northern Sea Route, and also touched upon issues of climate change.

The keynote address was delivered by Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nikolai Korchunov, who is Russia’s representative to the Arctic Council.  His report was devoted to Russia’s current Arctic policy, approaches to the development of international cooperation in high latitudes, and an assessment of the current state of multilateral interaction in the region. He named integrated socio-economic development of the Far North as a key priority of the Russian strategy for Arctic development. Korchunov also noted the important role played by parliamentary cooperation in developing collective approaches by Arctic countries to dealing with issues on the agenda facing this region and overcoming emerging challenges.

“We are firm and consistent in our support of the development of international parliamentary cooperation in the Arctic, which helps to effectively and comprehensively address issues and problems relevant to all people living in the Far North and to search for and develop the best ways to solve them”, Korchunov said to those present. “It is significant that practically on the eve of the upcoming ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, Arctic issues were considered in this inter-parliamentary format. Without a doubt, all the ideas and proposals expressed by the Arctic state parliamentarians at the meeting can and should be considered as a parliamentary intellectual contribution to the common collection of ideas and proposals for the upcoming Arctic meeting”.

Following the meeting, opportunities for constructive cooperation, dialogue, and a joint search for solutions were approved. The undoubted advantage of this meeting format is the opportunity to openly and frankly discuss a variety of topics and urgent issues related to Arctic development.

Representatives of the Russian delegation also reported that all of the parliamentarians were in favour of preserving the Arctic as a place of low military tension, peace, and cooperation. The meeting served as compelling evidence of the necessity of expanding and deepening cooperation in the Far North on a wide range of Arctic issues.

In his speech to the parliamentarians, Korchunov noted that despite the fact that borders remained between the countries, they were not an obstacle to cooperation. This follows from activity in the Barents Region, which drives the economic development of the Arctic in a powerful way. Good neighbourly relations in the region affect almost all areas of life from ecology, fishing, transport, and tourism to education, health, culture, and sports.