The opening ceremony was held in the Assembly Hall of the Northern Arctic Federal University. Russian Deputy Prime-Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the first to take the floor. «Arkhangelsk is hosting the Forum once again, and this time the event has gathered over two thousand participants – twice the number originally planned. This impressive figure clearly indicates the growth of the global community’s interest in the Arctic», — remarked Dmitry Rogozin in his welcome address. The Deputy Prime-Minister also stated that Russian activities in high latitudes are directed towards the creation of a comfortable environment, preservation of the indigenous peoples’ identity, traditional way of life, knowledge and experience. That’s why this year’s forum is dedicated to humans in the Arctic. According to Dmitry Rogozin, all Russia’s efforts in the area meet ecological standards, and the country is currently working towards the elimination of all the negative effects of the Soviet activities in the region.
«Russia has accumulated unique experience in Arctic exploration. We are now the internationally recognized leader in this field. Our global aim is to shape an adequate attitude of the people towards the region. People should gravitate towards the Arctic. Today the Arctic is the territory of the wise and the responsible, of those who know how to preserve the region for our children», added the Deputy Prime-Minister.
The speech was followed by a welcome address by Artur Chilingarov, Special Presidential Representative on International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic and an honorary doctor of NArFU. The famous polar explorer highlighted the importance of the forum’s return to NArFU. The Arctic, according to the speaker, is currently a key part of the international agenda, and cooperation in high latitudes is an example of good neighbourly relations in politics. Chilingarov also stated that the forum is a great opportunity for all the stakeholders to hear each other.
The forum united representatives of Finland, Iceland, France, Singapore, Germany, Spain, the USA, China and other countries for whom the Arctic is first and foremost the territory of peace and cooperation.
The speakers list also included Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft, Singaporian Minister of State for Manpower, Sam Tan.