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Green Economy covers the Arctic too

The head of UN Environment’s Moscow Office Vladimir Moshkalo has taken part in a major Arctic Days event with Russian ministers and business representatives. The Days involve a series of conferences and cultural events that have traditionally aroused huge interest among the general public, leading media and academic and political circles in the country.

Opening a forum on 21 November, the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy explained how the event aimed to draw attention to natural, historical and cultural sites in the Arctic, increase the touristic appeal of the Russian Far North, show its splendor through photos and cinema and discuss environmental problems in the region.

Warming of the Arctic has occurred at twice the global average since 1980, leading to greater areas being accessible to humans, but also presenting major environmental challenges. UN Environment is the coordinating agency for Arctic Agenda 2020, a proposed joint initiative between the Global Environment Facility and the Russian Federation aimed at improving management of the Arctic environment and covering issues such as protected areas and transboundary marine systems.

A panel discussion on ‘Arctic: from forecasts to development’ took place during the forum, with panelists focusing on topics such as the geology and economy of the Arctic’s resource base, Russia’s socio-economic plan for the area up to 2020, infrastructure in the region and more. During his intervention, Mr. Igor Orlov, Governor of the Arkhangelsk oblast northerly region, highlighted the need to protect the Arctic’s environment if the Paris Agreement’s aims are to be met.

The Global Goals must be complied with in the Arctic too, Mr Moshkalo told Russia Today in an interview in the margins of the event – especially given the upcoming Year of Ecology in Russia. “Green economy is a tool to achieve the Goals,” the Moscow Office head noted. “Of course, talking of Green Economy in the Arctic may sound strange. Yet this means building up economy that takes social development into account - an economy with a zero footprint, without damaging environment,” he explained.

On 29-31 March 2017, a major international forum titled ‘Arctic: The Territory of Dialog’ will debate sustainable development for the region in the Russian city of Archangelsk.

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