Young Scientists Discuss Arctic Environmental Issues in Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk hosted the International Student Summit on Arctic Environment Conservation and Maintenance as part of the main events of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, which are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation.
“For our country, which is chairing the Arctic Council, the problem of preserving this unique region’s nature is of fundamental importance. It’s no coincidence that the Arctic is called the ‘weather kitchen’, as global economic development depends directly on how climate scenarios play out in this region,” Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Valery Falkov said in his greeting to the Summit’s participants.
Roughly 80 students from Russia, Hungary, Israel, Ireland, Canada, China, and Mexico took part in the Summit in person and online. The programme included both lectures, which took place on the first day of the Summit, and field trips. Over the course of several days, students collected material and samples on the coast of the White Sea, Nikolsky Island, and other sites for their research and projects.
The event concluded with the students defending their group projects. The students were divided into several groups based on the chemical, biological, and geographical profiles of their projects. The first two groups solved a case involving the ecological situation in the territory of Yagry, an island where treatment facilities need to be installed for wastewater discharged into the Kambalitsa River and the White Sea. Other students from a group with a geographical focus assessed the tourism recreation and excursion potential of the landscape and ecological environment of a village on Nikolsky Island, the Babonegovo educational base of Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NAFU) and the Kurtyaevo isolated terrain feature. The commission of experts who heard the reports noted how well all the projects were prepared and invited the Summit participants to continue their work in areas that are of interest to them as part of master’s, postgraduate, and advanced training programmes at NAFU.
The Summit took place from 27 June to 1 July with the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic in cooperation with platforms that are part of the Arctic Floating University, NAFU’s annual Arctic expedition.
Environmental protection, including issues related to climate change, is among the top priorities of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Considering the rapid climate change being seen in the Arctic, including the degradation of permafrost and the emission of gas hydrates, Russia believes the primary objectives for mitigating the negative effects of climate change are to further adapt life-sustaining activities and ensure resilience to its consequences, preserve and restore the environment, use natural resources in a sustainable manner, and support the health of Arctic ecosystems, including the marine environment and the preservation of biodiversity, in particular migratory birds.
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