Talking Barents at the Artic Conference in Arkhangelsk
Moderator Geoff Cutmore, Sauli Niinistö, Vladimir Putin and Guðni Jóhannesson
The last major event in Arkhangelsk, Artic Territory of Dialogue, gathered more than 1700 participants and was reckoned a success – both by the organizers and the participants. “We did not anticipate more than half of that when we started to plan the conference” said Arkhangelsk governor Igor Orlov to Tomas Hallberg from the IBS. “This is a huge event for the region so the expectations were high, but luckily we got a lot of practical support from the organizer, Roscongress Foundation.”
The highlight of the conference was undoubtedly the presence of three Arctic presidents. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Finland’s Sauli Niinistö and Iceland’s Guðni Johannesson met in the last big panel of the conference, discussing timely topics related to the Arctic. Like often in Arctic politics, the interconnectedness of the globalized world brings events beyond the Arctic itself to the table: the presidents got to discuss a myriad of issues from Ukraine and Crimea to the newly elected president of the United States.
The IBS, represented by Tomas Hallberg gave an overview of the Barents cooperation together with the Russian Chairmanship's representative Sergey Petrovich in a panel devoted to Barents issues. As a tribute to all the Arctic organisations their representatives were invited to sit in the front row – so the IBS had the honour to follow the discussions side by side with the International Arctic Science Committee, the Artic Council officials and the Arctic Circle. The representatives of these organizations were all very active in different panels during the two days of the conference.
The Russian Chairmanship of the BEAC, represented by Sergey Petrovich also had the chance to participate in the Talking Barents event, organized by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. “These events are good opportunities for us to promote what we are doing in the Barents”, Petrovich said hurrying between the panels. “It would be great if we could combine all the Barents events”. Since we at the IBS think big about the cooperation, we were admiring the idea – it might be, that in the coming events we’ll join our forces with our Norwegian colleagues to promote the Barents even more efficiently!
The Barents panel: Slava Khodko, Sergey Petrovich, Tomas Hallberg, Mika Riipi, Arthur
Parfenchikov, Cecile Mirset, Alexander Tsybulskiy, Valentina Pivnenko and Timo Rautajoki
Lars Fordal (Norwegian Barents Secretariat), Hanne Fugl Eskjær (Senior Arctic Official of Denmark)
and Tomas Hallberg (IBS)