International cooperation
Arctic Economic Council members discuss regional cooperation issues
© RIA Novosti. Sergey Subbotin

Arctic Economic Council members discuss regional cooperation issues

Members of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) met in St. Petersburg to discuss cooperation between Arctic countries, including joint development of the Arctic infrastructure, cooperation in marine transport and telecommunications and the creation of mechanisms for attracting investment in Arctic development, AEC Chair Tara Sweeney told RIA Novosti. Tara Sweeney is the Executive Vice President of External Affairs for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation of indigenous Alaska residents.

Meeting participants discussed specific cooperation issues, she noted. She said the AEC had various working groups, including on marine transportation and infrastructure, and that Russia considered the development of high-seas shipping lanes and marine infrastructure in the Arctic to be very important. In addition, meeting participants addressed telecommunications issues and the creation of broadband communications channels in the Arctic. Ms. Sweeney said the relevant working group had prepared a report on creating a telecommunications infrastructure.

Deputy AEC Chair and First Deputy Sovcomflot General Director Yevgeny Ambrosov said that the AEC meeting had taken place in the run-up to the 4th "Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" International Arctic Forum.

 "It is very important to show our colleagues that the Russian Federation is focused on Arctic projects and emphasizes the important role they play in the region. We wanted to show St. Petersburg as the cradle of the Arctic shipbuilding industry and a place where the most important Arctic projects were conceived… Russia has accumulated much experience," he said.

On February 7, members of the AEC Executive Committee met with St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, Ms. Sweeney noted. During the meeting, she suggested directly linking Alaska and St. Petersburg by air.

St. Petersburg hosted the AEC meeting in the run-up to the 4th "Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" International Arctic Forum, scheduled for March 29-30 in Arkhangelsk. This is also the first meeting of AEC delegations in Russia, involving business persons from Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States.

Established under the inter-governmental Arctic Council, the Arctic Economic Council brings together representatives from Arctic states' business communities to promote responsible economic development, local business opportunities, and to launch sustained trade ties and attract investment to the region.