Preview of Program for
the International Forum
“Arctic: Today And The Future”
Economic Activities in the Polar and Subpolar Regions
Currently, revitalization of exploration and development of mineral resources in the Arctic is a strategic interest not only in Russia but also in other states. Particular focus is given to works on the Arctic shelf. Russian oil and gas corporations conclude significant contracts with foreign companies for development of hydrocarbon deposits.
The further mining activities in the Arctic will boost development of related industries. The need for transportation of hydrocarbons will stimulate creation of a modern infrastructure and upgrades of icebreakers. Arrangement of works on exploration of new fields guarantees creation of new jobs for residents of subarctic territories to be engaged as well. The above factors create prerequisites for successful social and economic development of the northern territories.
At the same time, active field development threatens the ecosystem of the region. Organization of effective work on prevention and elimination of possible contamination should become the key task for the responsible organizations and services.
Topics to discuss:
· Successful economic development of the Arctic regions is a strategic interest of the state;
- Development of offshore fields as a stimulus for socioeconomic development of the Arctic territories;
- Specifics of organization of economic activities in severe climatic conditions;
- Issues of transportation of minerals in the Arctic;
- Environmental safety and social responsibility during development of deposits.
Transportation System in the Arctic: a New Stage of Development
Nowadays, the Arctic is a region, which transport potential becomes the subject of meticulous attention worldwide. Arctic routes make possible to deliver goods via the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia, as well as to shorten the flight to America, taking advantage of cross-polar routes.
And only if modern infrastructure and robust communication and navigation systems are available, it is possible to operate effectively the main road in the Arctic – the Northern Sea Route, as well as to perform transpolar air flights. Solution to the problem should be promoted by the state policy on active development of the Arctic region, in order to construct and upgrade infrastructure, build up icebreaker fleet, update of navigation, communication and weather monitoring systems.
Topics to discuss:
- Revival of the Northern Sea Route is the priority of Russian transport policy;
- Upgrades of icebreaker fleet: intensification of transport and economic activities in the Arctic region;
- Aviation in the Arctic: regional and cross-polar flights;
- Prospects for the modernization of the transport infrastructure and possible use of public-private partnership;
- Creation and development of systems to ensure continuity and safety of transportation.
Environmental Safety in the Arctic zone: the Cornerstone of the Region’s Development
Arctic ecosystem is highly sensitive to human impact and slowly recovers from any interference. Industrial and transportation activities in this region are associated with serious environmental risks.
Currently, the Arctic is regarded by many states as a strategic region, also due to the presence of significant hydrocarbon reserves. Intensification of mining and development of the Northern Sea Route create preconditions for negative ecological processes that have already led to changes in the ecosystem of the Arctic territory and affected its flora and fauna, creating a threat of global climate changes.
Currently, it is important to prevent further aggravation of this situation. Particular vulnerability of the unique Arctic environment requires cooperation to monitor, investigate and resolve problems of ecology and environmental management, to work together towards elimination of accumulated environmental damage and conservation of biodiversity in the Arctic.
Topics to discuss:
- International and inter-regional cooperation in order to ensure environmental safety in the Arctic;
- Global climate changes: how to prevent a negative impact on the Polar regions?
- Ways and means of monitoring conditions of water, air and soil in the Arctic territories;
- How to reduce the human impact on the ecological system of the Arctic?
- Elimination of accumulated environmental damage in the Arctic: a regional and state level;
- Conservation of biological diversity in the Arctic.
Human Development in the Arctic
Implementation of Russia's strategic plans in the Arctic is impossible without highly qualified experts. Polar regions require professionals to work on the Northern Sea Route, industrial plants, and the Arctic shelf. The following socially important occupations enjoy high demand: teachers, doctors, employees in public utilities. The state’s task is not only to prepare highly skilled professionals, required by the modern economy, but also to make them interested in their works and perspectives of the North.
Besides, the Arctic attracts more and more people as a tourist destination. Unique arctic nature reserves and national parks, cruises to the islands, travelling in the footsteps of the Arctic pioneers, and even arctic sailing are gaining popularity among tourists. Also, eco- and ethno-tourism starts to develop in the sub-polar regions, which positively affects conservation of cultural and linguistic diversity of the peoples of the North, their traditional ways of life and economic activities.
Topics to discuss:
- Evaluation of possibilities and study of the personnel market needs for different directions in sub-polar regions;
- Training and retraining of personnel for economic, humanitarian, technical, transport and oil and gas activities in the Arctic;
- Support for the traditional ways of life and economic activities of the indigenous population of the North;
- Preservation of cultural and linguistic diversity of the peoples of the North;
- Development of polar tourism.
Polar Research: Defining the Future Development of the Region
For many years, the Russian government has been a world leader in the field of scientific research in the Arctic. But over the past two decades, these positions have been seriously shaken. Polar neighbors of Russia update their theoretical foundations and regularly carry out expeditions.
At the moment, we have remarkable prerequisites for changing the situation for the better. Russian scientific community with enormous development potential is gradually renewing. International experiences exchange becomes more intense. Set-up of research facilities at the leading universities is one of the major directions in the ongoing education reform. Under such conditions, Russia can and must regain its former positions in polar research.
Topics to discuss:
- Research activities in all areas of the Arctic studies: from theory to practice;
- Funding, material and technical support of Polar research
- Young scientists: how to generate interest in the North?
- Introduction of new technologies as a factor in the effective exploitation of the Arctic zone;
- Experience in organizing research expeditions: overcoming current difficulties.
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