The 6th International Meeting of Representatives of Arctic Council Member States, Observer States and Foreign Scientific Community has finished. Why does the Security Council of Russia pay so much attention to the Arctic topic?
- The development of the Arctic Region is high-priority task both for the Russian Federation and for leading foreign countries. Here are explored almost 30 percent of global oil and gas reserves.
This region is the most important resource base for Russia. It provides round 11% of Russian national income. The region creates 22% of the total Russian exports; more than 90% of nickel and cobalt are mined and produced there, 60% of copper, 100% of barite and apatite concentrate.
Complex of marine fisheries produces round 15% of total volume of the country's fish production and other aquatic biological resources.
The large transport and power facilities are under building in the Arctic, the Northern Sea Route rebirths.
It is important to provide economic, transport, energy, ecological security in the region. Thatâ€™s why we have arranged such meetings since 2011.
In previous years, such events were held on the board of Yamal icebreaker in Murmansk, Salekhard, Naryan-Mar and Arkhangelsk, and different topical issues on cooperation in the Arctic region were discussed.
The Representatives of 8 Arctic Council Member States participated in the 6th International meeting â€“ Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the USA, Finland; and also Observer States â€“ India, China, Republic of Korea and Singapore.
The participants discussed security issues in north latitudes, and key directions of political, economic and cultural cooperation of Arctic states. In this year, the meeting took place in the most eastern part of the NSR, on the board of nuclear icebreaker â€ś50 let Pobedyâ€ť and topics for the discussion were international legal, organizational, economic, technological, technic and logistic aspects of shipment in the Arctic.
What are the overall national interests of the Russian Federation in the Arctic?
- According to the basis of state policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic the most important national interests of the country in this region are usage of Russian Arctic area as a strategic resource base for economic and social development of the country; preservation of the Arctic as an area of peace and cooperation; conservation of unique ecosystems of the Arctic; the use of the Northern Sea Route as a national integrated transport communications in the Arctic.
The Development Strategy of the Russian Arctic and national security for the period up to 2020 articulates priorities of our state in the Arctic. Among them is the international cooperation in the Arctic.
We need stability in this region and absence of any attempts to confrontation of Artic countries. For this aim, it is essential to stimulate positive development of the Arctic.
The speakers at the conference talked about the importance of maintaining a high level of predictability of the Arctic countries' policies, especially on such hot issue as the delineation of the outer continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.
To maintain the Arctic as an area of peace Russia supports mutually beneficial bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Arctic states on the basis of international treaties and agreements. The efficiency of foreign trade activities, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation is improved, as well as cross-border cooperation, including the field of efficient use of natural resources, conservation of the Arctic environment.
What is the role of the Northern Sea Route in the development of the Artic and world economy in general?
- The NSR is significantly shorter than traditional route via the Suez Canal and the most promising route from Europe in America and Asia. For the NSR work, Russia uses 35 diesel-electric and 4 nuclear icebreakers.
Today on Baltic shipyard in Saint-Petersburg 3 new multi-purpose nuclear ships with variable draught and 60 MW capacity are under the construction: leading vessel â€śArcticâ€ť and two serial vessels â€śSiberiaâ€ť and â€śUralâ€ť.
In 2015 for FSUE â€śRosmorportâ€ť 2 lead diesel-electric icebreakers, â€śVladivostokâ€ť and â€śMurmanskâ€ť, with 16MW capacity were constructed; their tasks are providing of icebreaking support in the freezing non-Arctic seas and works in the NSR waters.
The construction of diesel-electric icebreaker â€śNovorossiyskâ€ť with 16 MW capacity and diesel-electric icebreaker â€śViktor Chernomyrdinâ€ť with 25 MW capacity is continuing.
Variously estimated, the cargo flow on the NSR can increase ten times to 65 mln t per year up to 2020.
According to representatives of the Russian and international scientific community, public authorities, the development of the Russian export via the Northern Sea Route in the coming years will depend on the possibilities of further development of natural resources in the Arctic and the creation of conditions for the export of the Northern Ural and Western Siberia products through the Arctic sea ports.
As for the transits, our foreign partners, especially in China, are showing high interest to possibilities of the NSR.
The interest of Korea and Singapore in the light of the NSR is mainly connected with ability of business cooperation with Russian side on portsâ€™ modernization and arranging of their work.
Will the safety of the route there be provided?
- Yes, of course. Today Russia is working to ensure the safety of navigation in the Arctic, equipping of the Northern Sea Route with a modern infrastructure, including navigational equipment, improving search tools and oil spill response in the Arctic seas. There many examples, because the aim is been achieving by the complex.
On the coast, three specialized rescue centers operate in Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar and Dudinka, four regional search and rescue teams, nearly 200 fire brigades totaling about 10 thousand people. In the future, up to 2020 Russia will open more than 10 emergency response centers in the Arctic area. Arctic states are successively combining the efforts in the creation of a unified regional system of search and rescue, and preventing manmade disasters and elimination of their consequences, including the coordination of rescue forces.
The infrastructure is necessary to provide emergency medical assistance to crew members and passengers of cruise ships, workers of camps, polar stations, the rescuers, border guards and the military. In the harsh conditions of the North sometimes we have to solve non-standard problems involving air ambulance, icebreakers, high-speed vessels.
It is important to respond to possible emergencies, to be ready to confront terrorist threats, possible smuggling, drug trafficking and other aspects related to organized crime.
Conference participants had the opportunity to look on-site in the Arctic at the possibilities of multifunctional rescue ship "Spasatel Karev" ensuring safety when working on offshore facilities in the Arctic. On the shore, they saw aviation and ground equipment used by Russian rescuers, designed for firefighting, emergency situations of technogenic and natural character at any object and in any weather.
Summing up the results of the International Meeting, I note that more than 50 reports and messages were presented at the conference. Iâ€™m confident that the results of our work have laid a good foundation for the development of cooperation and strengthening security in the Arctic.
NSR IO: Northern Sea Route Information Office / E-mail: email@example.com / Phone: Murmansk, Russia +7-911-310-90-69 / Kirkenes, Norway: +47-954-67-093
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