The discussion ‘Talking Barents: Prospects and Formats of Cooperation’ will be one of the central sessions the ‘Coastal Territories’ business programme pillar of the International Arctic Forum. During the session, participants representing the countries of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) will discuss priorities for cross-border cooperation and promising projects that can be implemented jointly in the interests of the Far North.
Since it was founded more than a quarter of a century ago, the Council has proven to be one of the most effective organizations for cooperation in the region. The BEAC works to ensure the region’s sustainable development and cooperation in matters concerning the economy, science, technology, infrastructure, and tourism, and also to facilitate the implementation of projects that aim to improve the lives of indigenous people of the North. The parties involved in projects that are being implemented in the region work jointly to solve strategic objectives. As a result of their joint efforts, the countries have managed to create a stable area of trust and open dialogue in Northern Europe.
One of the key themes of the session will be a discussion of the ‘Transport and Logistics of the Barents Region’ project, which focuses on developing and enhancing the efficiency of the region’s transport system well as ensuring environmental protection with the creation of ‘green corridors’.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Head of the International Barents Secretariat Tomas Hallberg and the speakers will include: Magdalena Andersson, Governor of Sweden’s Västerbotten County; Pentti Malinen, Region Mayor at Finland’s Regional Council of Kainuu; Nikolai Korchunov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Marina Kovtun, Governor of Russia’s Murmansk Region. Lars Georg Fordal, Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, will also join the discussion. Norway is set to take over for Sweden and chair the BEAC this year.
“Given the complex international situation, multilateral cooperation in the Barents region remains an important channel of dialogue with our Northern European partners and allows for discussing the common issues our countries face in a business-like and constructive manner. In this regard, the BEAC is a successful example of collaboration that demonstrates strong immunity to the fluctuations in the political situation”, Korchunov said.
“Maintaining cooperation and an open dialogue on matters concerning the development of the North is one of the most important strategic objectives. The Arctic as a whole and the Barents region in particular are of interest to numerous countries and can only be successfully developed if there is well-coordinated interaction between the partners, so it is extremely important for us to develop international relations in this region. I am certain that the International Arctic Forum will serve as another effective channel to exchange experience and work out joint practical solutions.
For its part, Russia will do everything possible to preserve stable good-neighbourly relations and an atmosphere of mutually beneficial cooperation in this region”, Adviser to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov said in comments on the importance of this theme.
The ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum will be held in St. Petersburg on 9–10 April. Three pillars will form the basis of the business programme: ‘Coastal Territories’, ‘The Open Ocean’, and ‘Sustainable Development’, which will all be united under the key theme of ‘The Arctic: An Ocean of Opportunity’.