2021-2013: Russia to chair Arctic Council
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Reykjavik and attended a meeting marking the 25th anniversary of the Arctic Council. He urged other countries not to bring confrontation into the work of the organization.
According to Lavrov, states responsible for the future of the polar region can skillfully manage it only through concerted efforts. Russia, he pointed out, advocates expanded dialogue.
“The Arctic Council is a unique forum where the member states are not divided into “us and them”; decisions are adopted by consensus, and the interests of the indigenous people of the North, who sit at the same table with representatives of the member states, are taken into account,” Sergei Lavrov said.
He recalled that Russia would assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council this year. In this connection, Russia which accounts for one-third of the Arctic region, plans to continue the development of the region’s social, economic and nature conservation. According to the diplomat, efforts to improve people’s well-being and the quality of their lives are the main goal of work in this direction.
Those attending the Reykjavik meeting also approved a regional development strategy for a period of the next ten years. Lavrov explained that it was intended to prepare the polar region for all-out climate change to the greatest possible extent, and to minimize human impact on the environment. Some state projects will aim to preserve the cultural, historical and linguistic heritage of Northern ethnic groups.
This is the first long-term planning document for the Arctic Eight, namely, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, the United States and Iceland.
There were plans to approve the strategy in 2019, during Finland’s chairmanship, but the US position prevented this from happening.