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Intl Arctic forum opens in Arkhangelsk

September 22, 2011, 13:49 UTC+3

More than 220 Arctic experts from 20 countries have arrived to discuss these issues

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ARKHANGELSK, September 22 (Itar-Tass) — The Second International Forum “The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue,” organised by the Russian Geographical Society (RGS), was opened in Arkhangelsk on Thursday. The main issue on he agenda is declared the formation of the transport system in the Arctic and complex environmentally friendly development of the region with taking into account its unique nature and interests of indigenous peoples.

“The future of our economy both in transport and infrastructure, as well as mineral resources is in the North,” President of the Russian Geographical Society, Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief (EMERCOM) Sergei Shoigu. He said the forum would primarily focus on the development of commercial and scientific navigation, transportation hubs on the Northern Sea Route, polar aviation. Particular attention will be paid to the formation of multilateral mechanisms to prevent and respond to emergencies, joint protection of the Arctic environment, rational use of natural resources and improvement of the quality of life of indigenous peoples of the polar region.

More than 220 Arctic experts from 20 countries have arrived to discuss these issues. They are the leading scientists, production workers, transport workers, businessmen and representatives of small peoples of the North. The forum will be attended by prominent political figures, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Prince of Monaco Albert II, Vice Governor of Alaska Mead Treadwell, ministries of foreign affairs of the circumpolar countries.

The First International Arctic Forum was held in Moscow on September 22-23, 2010. The organiser of the Arctic Forum is the Russian Geographical Society - the oldest non-governmental organisation in Russia, founded in 1845.

The Arctic Forum is an authoritative international platform for expert discussion of problems of climate change and the effects of human activities, natural resource development issues, prospects for sustainable development in the Arctic. The purpose of the forum is to promote the Arctic region as a zone of peace and cooperation and seek new opportunities for international cooperation.

Te first forum, held last year, was a great success. It was attended by Prime Minister and Chairman of the RGS Board of Trustees Vladimir Putin, Emergencies Minister and RGS President Sergei Shoigu, President of Iceland ·lafur Ragnar Gr·msson, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and more than 300 researchers and experts from different countries, according to the forum’s press release.

“The forum last year confirmed the need to establish in Russia, the largest Arctic nation, a prestigious international venue for discussing Arctic problems,” Shoigu said. “Now that it is done we’ll thoroughly evaluate the prospects for international cooperation in the region.”

The forum’s focus this year is on creating Arctic transportation infrastructure as a foundation for the development of the Arctic. This primarily involves the development of commercial and research navigation, transportation terminals (sea ports and airports) and corridors (the Northern Sea Route), polar aviation, cargo and passenger trans-polar and cross-polar transportation. Steady development of this infrastructure is vital for the very existence of the Arctic region.

Special attention will be devoted to the full spectrum of safety issue in this difficult-to-develop region. From a technological perspective, it is necessary to ensure the safety of sea and air traffic using satellite, radio-navigation and hydro-meteorological monitoring. In terms of international law, it is necessary to create multilateral mechanisms for emergency warning and response, including search and rescue missions.

The forum will also focus on cooperative efforts to protect the Arctic environment, environmental safety, the rational use of natural resources in the Arctic and improving the living standards of its indigenous people.

Up to 400 leading scientists and experts, politicians, heads of subarctic countries and representatives of major Russian, American, Canadian and Scandinavian private companies are expected to attend the forum. High-ranking figures from different countries interested in the region’s peaceful and sustainable development have also been invited to participate.

Arctic exploration has always been central to the RGS. Past and current members include many famous polar explorers, such as Otto Schmidt, Yuri Shokalsky, Sergei Obruchev, and Artur Chilingarov. Now the RGS is working to preserve and disseminate reliable geographical information about Russia, to support environmental protection, to develop and popularise Russian science, research and ecotourism and to contribute to the sustainable development of the Russian regions.


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