Plenary session of the international conference took place in NArFU

Plenary session of the international conference took place in NArFU

Today the assembly hall of NArFU hosted the plenary session of the international conference «Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region in the Field of Education and Research as a resource for regional development». The key-note speakers reported on different aspects of longstanding cooperation between Barents regions.

The first speaker was Alexander Ignatiev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Arctic Herald Chief Editor. In his presentation on specific features of cooperation between BEAR regions Mr. Ignatiev noted that cooperation of this type is unique on the European scale: it embraces both states and their regions, it also turns cross-border cooperation into a daily routine.

— The main achievement of the Barents cooperation over the last 20 years is creation of a territory of partnership, trust and mutual understanding in the region, said Alexander Ignatiev. Now we are facing another 20 years which will require new solutions: this is urged by the politics, growth of the world’s demand for raw materials, use of new technologies for oil and gas production, climate changes, higher requirements for environmental protection, opening of new transportation routes.

The portrait of the longstanding cooperation viewed from Norway was depicted by Sverre Stub, Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials of BEAC:

— Cooperation made it possible to improve relations between countries on different levels within a short period of time. The most important thing is that it was developing gradually and involved more and more people. People-to-people contacts served as a true basis for the Barents cooperation and are most likely to be its greatest achievement and success.

The Ambassador told the audience about the background of the relations between the countries which signed the Kirkenes Declaration and about perspectives for further cooperation:

— Today we evidence the growing interest from the international community towards the Arctic and the Barents region in a wide range of aspects. The region is rich in natural and, not least of all, in human resources. There is a huge potential for its sustainable development, but to be a success we will need, first of all, to use scientific knowledge. I recognize that NArFU is playing a very important role in this aspect: the cooperation between the University and other universities in all the four countries of the Barents region is essential. Your ambitiousness and determination are of crucial significance for training of young people for the sake of favorable future of the region.

Another expert opinion on the twenty-years’ history of cooperation was expressed by Andrey Shalyov, Honorary Consul of Norway to Arkhangelsk.

Lars Kullerud, President of the UArctic made a report “Circumpolar cooperation in higher education and research: University of the Arctic” at the plenary session. He covered cooperation between educational institutions in the Barents region within higher education and also intrigued the audience with information about new Kirkenes Declaration which is being prepared now.

The plenary session was finalized with a report by Katja Sukuvaara who presented interim results of the Kolarctic ENPI CBC Programme.

Text by Igor Gunko

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