NEWS 9-10 April the conference The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue was arranged by the Russian government in St. Petersburg. The event caught immense media attention since the Prime Ministers of Sweden, and Norway and the Presidents of Finland and Iceland joined Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on the stage to discuss The Arctic. An Ocean of Opportunity.
Putin stressed the importance of transportation solutions and concluded that Russia now has 13 heavy icebreakers. He also put attention to the economic strategies of Russia in the north with lower tax rates and funding through the Russia Far East Development Fund. In a global perspective, Putin stated that Russia is only the sixth economy in the Arctic, with China now in the lead followed by the United States. He also claimed that the warming process is four times higher in the Arctic compared to the rest of the world.
The Nordic leaders emphasized how important a good dialogue is, plastic pollution, black carbon, blue bio-economy and gender issues.
The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén also stressed that globalization is affecting the Arctic, and expressed a sincere interest to keep the region as a low-tension area. He also stressed the importance of the Arctic Council and the Barents Council stating that “the Arctic is an example to be proud of” in terms of international cooperation. He concluded that climate change is a huge challenge, but said that the Arctic is very much defined by the people who live there. Finally, he pointed to the great efforts of the top-ranking northern universities in Sweden, and stated that the Arctic requires new and innovative research.
Earlier that day Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, stated that the work of the Arctic Council, Arctic diplomacy, and the implementation of international law are decisive for a positive development in the Arctic.
The special presidential representative for international cooperation in the Arctic, Artur Chilingarov concluded that the Arctic countries need to be observant on the role of China and reported that Russian icebreakers now could move icebergs with a weight up to one million tons.
Arcum director Peter Sköld participated in the session Healtcare in the Arctic: Two Years’ Progress and New Objectives together with Evgeny Kamkin, Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation and Anne Husebekk, rector at UIT The Arctic University of Norway.