Arctic Forum Foundation cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region: Kirkenes/Murmansk, 21-24 October 2012

Arctic Forum Foundation’s Secretary General Steffen Weber made a quick tour of the Kirkenes-Murmansk EU Border Region, attending meetings with Barents area regional organizations in Kirkenes on 21-22 October and continuing with the conference “Transport and Logistics Solutions in the Northern Dimension Area from the Development Perspective of the High North Region” on 23-24 October.  Mr. Weber met with key actors in the region, and took part in discussions generally dedicated to issues of Barents regional development and Euro-Russian cooperation in the Arctic.

While in Kirkenes, Mr. Weber held talks with the Norwegian Barents Secretariat (NBS), the International Barents Secretariat(IBS), and the Center for High North Logistics (CHNL).  Mr. Weber met with NBS Rector Rune Rafaelsen and IBS Head of Secretariat Ari Sirén to discuss cooperation on Norwegian/German/Russian energy infrastructure, as well as the development of a new harbor in the Kirkenes region. Also on the agenda was talk of increasing European engagement in the Arctic and Arctic Forum Foundation’s role in facilitating the development of formal EU Arctic policy. Dr. Bjørn Gunnarsson,
CHNL Managing Director, spoke to the continuing development of the Northern Sea Route and the potential for a communal database to facilitate expected logistical challenges posed by increased Arctic maritime activity.

Director of the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics, Oddgeir Danielsen. Photo: NDPTL

The 23-24 October Northern Dimension transport and logistics conference in Murmansk, chaired by Mr. Yury Chuykov, Minister of Transportation of the Murmansk Region, was centered on the topic of European interest in the development of the transportation sector in the Arctic.  Director of the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics, Oddgeir Danielsen, formed part of a special session on financing transport and logistics infrastructure – a talk complimented by an informative tour of Murmansk’s impressive port infrastructure.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Russian Geografic Society and Alexander Ignatiev, editor of the “Arctic Herald”, and former IBS director.  Ignatiev shared details from recent meetings of the IBS and thoughts on German/EU/Russia cooperation in the Arctic. Director Martti Hahl of the Finland Barents Center gave an update on the progressing nature of Russo-Finnish cooperation talks.

Written by Stephen Perry
Research Fellow at the Arctic Forum Foundation



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