The seventh Northern Dimension Forum focused on discussing the challenges and business opportunities in the Arctic region. The need for international cooperation and sustainable development in the Arctic was highlighted throughout the discussions. The ND Forum – organized by the Northern Dimension Business Council (NDBC) and the Association of European Businesses (AEB) – was held on 7 April 2016 in St. Petersburg with over 200 delegates attending the event.
Overall, the presentations and keynote speeches took a very balanced approach on the Arctic recognizing both the vast economic potential as well as the varied challenges that are prevailing, as highlighted in the opening speeches of the co-chairmen of the NDBC:
“The fact that the Arctic agenda has been chosen as the main topic for the VII Northern Dimension Forum reflects increasing worldwide interest in the region. The Arctic today is already a significant region for the global economy. It is an important resource for rare metal production and experts predict this will become a major region of investment for Europe in the future. Sustainable Arctic development is a complex issue that requires a sensitive and considered approach, involving the development of public private partnerships, collaboration with partners and technological support.”
Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of PAO Severstal and NDBC Co-chairman
“The Arctic is an issue where a long-term perspective is needed. Decisions made today will have long-lasting consequences for generations to come. In the Arctic, the environment, logistics and infrastructure contain both challenges but also opportunities. A general lack of infrastructure on both sea and land is perhaps the largest barrier for the development in the Arctic. Successful cooperation in this area requires commitment of all the actors – countries, regions and business representatives”.
Tapio Kuula, Member of the Board, Fortum Corporation and NDBC Co-Chairman
The current political challenges and their implications for cooperation at different levels were also discussed. Despite geopolitical tensions, it was largely acknowledged that international cooperation is essential in the sustainable development of the Arctic and Northern areas in general. By joining their expertise and resources, countries and companies in the ND area and the Arctic are better equipped to overcome the varied challenges and to be able to reap the Arctic opportunities in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Over the years, the Northern Dimension Forum has become an established platform for open dialogue bringing together ND actors, senior representatives of European and Russian ministries and departments, and company executives. This year, the Forum was also launching the cooperation of the ND Business Council and Arctic Economic Council (AEC) with two vice-chairmen of AEC invited as special guests.
“I believe that the extensive experience of cooperation gained under the Northern Dimension project should be further utilised in the new and promising international organisation — the Arctic Economic Council”.
Evgeny Ambrosov, First Deputy General Director, Member of the Board, PJSC Sovcomflot, Vice-chair of Arctic Economic Council
The Forum included also roundtable meetings focusing on energy, the quality of life in the Arctic: ecology and nature conservation, transport and logistics, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and creative industries (including tourism).
See the official press-release and other materials of the ND Forum at AEB’s website: