Cold Arctic Gets Hot
The main activities within the "Days of the Arctic in Moscow" were completed with the plenary session "The Arctic - the ecological balance and development prospects" attended by the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy, the Russian president's special representative for international cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic Artur Chilingarov, and Russian and foreign experts on the Arctic.
Various aspects of the development, study and preservation of natural diversity of the region were discussed. The participants of the forum paid special attention to the actions of Russia. In particular, it was pointed out that 11% of the national income is provided by Arctic resources.
In April this year a special program of Arctic exploration was adopted covering the period up to 2020. A law on the continental shelf designed to prevent oil spills was adopted as well.
Against the background of anti-Russian pressure (or "sanctions"), the issue of the project "Yamal SPG" for the development of the South Tambeyskoye field of natural gas (492 billion сu m of reserves and 14 million tons of liquid hydrocarbons), calculated for the period until 2045, was discussed specifically. The extracted resources are to be exported to the international market as liquefied natural gas. Currently, it is referred to the so-called "premium markets" with the highest prices, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the need to create new and active participation in existing domestic and foreign platforms to attract innovation and investment was stressed.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Terry Callaghan criticized the negative impact of "sanctions" on the cooperation between the Western countries and Russia in the field of Arctic stations data exchange. He said he would "fight" with that.
In the field of state diplomacy, the important task of filing the application with the United Nations to expand the national Arctic shelf stands out. Artur Chilingarov identified a number of problems without which effective development of the region is impossible. These include establishment of a central coordinating body (a State Commission or a relevant ministry) and active involvement of young professionals on the Arctic.
During the discussions, the question about the attitude towards the people, on whom the burden of laborious, difficult and sometimes dangerous work falls, was raised. What it involves in particular is "environmental health" - the study of environmental factors affecting human, as well as ways to preserve physical and mental health.
Nikolai Drozdov, a well-known scientist-zoologist, spoke about his own scientific, educational and patriotic project "Living Planet".
At the same time on the sidelines of the events the experts talked about the unresolved issues: ownership in the Arctic regions, training and social welfare of young professionals, as well as inadequate funding of a number of promising projects.
The festival once again showed that Russia has both people and political will for sustainable development of the Arctic which is especially important in terms of sanctions and competition in foreign markets of hydrocarbon exports. Several EU Member States and Canada have been actively working in the Arctic area. In addition to their scientific and economic activities, there are plans to build groups of troops and create military infrastructure there. In this regard, the resource-rich region may well become a hot battleground of a number of states soon.