Sergei Donskoi

Sergei Donskoi: An order of magnitude increase in funding is needed to develop the Arctic

Russia's new development projects in the Arctic, as well as the continued operation of existing polar stations require a threefold increase in funding for the development of the North and South Poles, the TASS news agency quoted Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi as saying at a news conference on Polar Explorer Day hosted by Rossiya Segodnya.

"Today, just over 2 billion rubles is allocated to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for projects to develop the Arctic and Antarctica," Donskoi said. "Of course, this amount is inadequate." He added that Arctic development alone required a threefold increase in annual funding.

"I'm not just talking about regular spending to keep existing polar stations afloat. We need to renovate these stations and resume research in a number of areas," Donskoi said.

According to Donskoi, a key objective today is to launch a new federal targeted program to provide funding for Arctic and Antarctic projects.

"This program already exists and we've secured nearly all requisite approvals as everybody realizes its importance. However, we don't have the support of the Finance Ministry as yet. Even so, we believe that we'll manage to secure an increase in funding for our Arctic projects when drafting the 2016-2018 budget," Donskoi said.