Research Center for SCO and APR takes part in the initiative of the Bering Pacific-Arctic Council

On June 26-27 of 2019 the 24th annual meeting of the Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) took place in Khabarovsk, Russia. Head of KSUEL’s Research Center for SCO and APR (Center) Aleksandr Voronenko was a moderator of the third section, which was dedicated to the cooperation in the Arctic and Northern part of the Pacific Ocean. Summarizing the results of the section its participants proposed the initiative of professor Boris Krasnopolski from Economic Research Institute (Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences) on the establishment of the «Bering Pacific-Arctic Council» (BPAC, Council).

RAPP officials were receptive to the proposal and it found its place in the final report of the 24th annual RAPP meeting. It was decided to form an initiative working group (WG) to study the relevance and possibility of BPAC. The president of NGO «Marine Exchange of Alaska» and a member of Arctic economic council and Dr. Boris Krasnopolski became coordinators of the WG from US and Russian side respectively. Our Center also became an important member of the WG and takes active participation in studying the BPAC initiative.

Some words about the Council. The idea of establishment of such mechanism floated around for some time. On several occasions it was discussed by scientific communities, regional and local authorities both of Alaska and polar territories of Russian Far East. However, it was never implemented on practice.

Works of Russian and American researchers, as well as, operations of business entities show the necessity of interregional cooperation. Pacific Arctic becomes an important «crossroad» not only of transport communications (intersection of Northern Sea Route, Far Eastern transport corridors, Alaska transport corridors, vessel traffic form North-East Asia to the Arctic), but also of geo-ecological, geo-political and geo-economic interests.

Contrasted with active cooperation between Russia and North-European countries in development of Atlantic Arctic, not that much attention is paid to the development of Pacific Arctic region. In these terms, activities of «Barents/Euro-Arctic Council», which proved its efficiency in long run, can be an example of such international and interregional cooperation for Pacific Arctic.

In the frame work of WG activities our Center organized and participated in a working trip of American coordinator Paul Fuhs to the Russian Far East. WG members visited Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, where they had meetings with regional authorities, business and scientific communities. Paul Fuhs and Aleksandr Voronenko presented the overall concept of BPAC to the officials of Ministries of economic development of the regions, Chambers of Commerce, Economic Research Institute and several major Universities. Confidants were supportive, gave their comments and agreed to collaborate with the WG on this issue.

Head of our Center A. Voronenko also presented the BPAC project during the international conference «Northern Sustainable Development Forum», which took place on September 24th – 28th 2019 the city of Yakutsk. As a result, the initiative got support from the regional authorities of Republic Sakha (Yakutia) and Chukchi Autonomous Region they also agreed to assist the WG on this issue.

Our Center also developed a web-site of BPAC initiative ( Web resource has detailed description of the purposes, areas of activities and structure of BPAC, information on current activities of the WG, its reports and draft documents of the Council (declaration, governing structure and other forming documents). The main purpose of the web-site is to gain the comments from all interested stakeholders and to involve them into the WG’s activities.

Today the WG, with humble contribution of our Center, already prepared the report and a feasibility study of the BPAC for RAPP, draft of the declaration and governing structure of the Council, with specification of its goals, tasks and areas of activities. The report will be presented on 25th annual meeting of RAPP in July of 2020 and if it will be approved by the officials WG will move on to the stage of practical establishment of BPAC. Today members of the WG are working through the mechanism of practical participation of regional authorities in BPAC and trying to receive the official support from US and Russian national governments.



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