News and Updates 2017

Sergey Lavrov: The young generation will determine the development of the Barents region

23.11.2017
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Barents region with its many unique characteristics holds its own unique position in the Arctic interaction. With is 5.2 million inhabitants it is the most populated and economically advanced region in the Arctic.

– We believe that is very important to promote the Barents region. BEAC as a format of inter-state interaction can be considered as one of the most successful models of regional cooperation that could well be extended to other parts of the world.

Trust, cooperation and good-neighborhood relations are the key principles that guided Russia during the Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) in 2015–2017. According to Sergey Lavrov, the regional work significantly promotes the values of peace, security and stability on the European continent.

– It is important that we all keep good memories of cooperation that existed between our countries during those harsh years. Today, when we are witnessing recurrent attempts to rewrite the history of the Second World War, to hero worship the Nazis and their henchmen, the efforts aimed at preserving the historical truth and immortalizing the heroic deeds of those who saved Europe and the whole world from the horrors of the “brown plague” acquire special meaning.

Minister Lavrov is pleased that the joint activities within BEAC are strictly practical and concrete, which makes it possible to achieve progress in almost all spheres of cooperation. For him, facilitating sustainable social and economic development of the region and creating favorable conditions for the citizens who live in the North remain an absolute priority of the joint efforts within the framework of BEAC.

– In this regard, special emphasis should be put on the sustainable use of unique scientific, innovative and resource capabilities, complying with environmental standards and taking into account the interests of indigenous peoples, he says.

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80 events and a number of major decisions

Barents Euro Arctic Council’s Chairmanship was handed over from Russia to Sweden in in the ministerial meeting Arkhangelsk in the end of October. During the Chairmanship, Russia focused on developing transport and logistics infrastructure, protecting the environment and addressing climate change, promoting cultural and tourism ties. Each priority was given further emphasis at a relevant ministerial meeting.

– An important outcome of the efforts made to address climate change was the updated version of the Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Cooperation.

– The Ministers of Transport Meeting (Arkhangelsk, June 2016) helped to achieve progress in the development of the large-scale Joint Barents Transport Plan, which envisages the establishment of 16 cross-border transport routes (corridors) comprising rail, road and sea routes. Seven of them run through the Russian territory. There are plans to develop the east-west flight connections in Northern Europe. Modernization of the Murmansk-Nikel-Kirkenes section of the “Kola” motorway, which was completed in September 2017, is another major achievement in the development of the transport network in the Barents region, states the Foreign Minister.

At the Ministers of Culture Meeting (Moscow, November 2016) the Barents Scholarship for Cultural Cooperation was established and it is to be awarded every second year to young artists and artistic associations from Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

In April 2017, Moscow hosted the first Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit, the outcome of which is meant to strengthen the mechanisms for protecting the interests of indigenous peoples and to contribute to building an equal dialogue between them and authorities.

– Emphasis was placed on supporting the indigenous peoples of the North. We hope that this work will continue systematically.

Lavrov highlights also the importance of the contacts between people and potential of tourism in the Arctic.

– The decision adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation in July 2016 on the introduction of a 72-hour visa-free regime in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk for passengers of cruise liners will give an additional impetus to our cooperation in this sphere and facilitate contacts between people.

The cooperation needs to continue and adapt

The Barents Cooperation turns 25 years in 2018. According to Foreign Minister of Russia, the Barents process' anniversary provides a good opportunity to try to see beyond the horizon, outline plans for the future.

– I am convinced that close coordination at both the national and regional levels of the Barents cooperation will further remain essential to the successful dynamic development of the Council, providing for aligning priorities of States with the needs and interests of particular regions. At the same time, even such a successful cooperation format as BEAC should “keep up with the times”, adapt to new global realities.

He states that is important that young people regularly communicate with each other, discuss acute issues of the regional agenda.

– Obviously, it is the young generation that will determine the development of the Barents region in the foreseeable future. That is why Russia also proposed to establish a Youth Forum, which should embrace all the levels of cooperation – national, regional and municipal. We consider this as an investment in our future cooperation.


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