The AEC was well represented as the fourth International Arctic Forum “Arctic – a Territory of Dialogue” was held in Arkhangelsk, Russia on 29-30 March 2017. AEC Vice Chairs Evgeniy Ambrosov  and Tero Vauraste were among the invited speakers at the conference.

Vice Chair Vauraste addressed the conference audience at a session titled “Integrating Efforts to Achieve Strategic Growth”. Mr. Vauraste underlined that the basis of strategic growth in the Arctic can be found from linking Arctic business value chains into global economic value chains. Securing market access and lowering trade barriers is of high importance. To meet the vast investment needs of the Arctic, one option could be to include private investors by using Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).  To secure sustainable investments and return on investments for companies, the Arctic needs high and uniform business standards and stable regulations. Integration with the indigenous peoples and local communities should be secured with education and consultation as well as by working with local businesses.

The Arctic Business Forum session, a special event organized in the sidelines of the International Arctic Forum, discussed the role of business in the development of the Arctic. Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, the Senior Arctic Official of Finland, described the establishment of the AEC as an independent body as a decisive step. According to Ambassador Härkönen, the AEC creates activities which are long overdue and will be much needed to increase the chances of successful Arctic cooperation in general. With the establishment of the AEC, businesses and economic organizations now have a platform they can use to cover issues they face in the Arctic. He also confirmed that Finland wants the public and private sectors in the Arctic to work together for common goals. Finland takes over the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in May 2017.

Vice Chair Vauraste underlined the need for a holistic approach regarding the development of the Arctic. The interests of all stakeholders – communities, nations, people, environment, business  – should be combined. At the work of the AEC, the people and businesses of the Arctic are at the driving seat. Vice Chair Vauraste also pointed out that the AEC has an inclusive approach in its work: the Arctic is global, and the AEC is interested in working together with all stakeholders regardless of their geographic origin.

AEC’s Russian Vice Chair, Senior Executive Vice President of PAO SovComFlot Evgeniy Ambrosov underlined the long tradition of Russian activities in the Arctic and of the country’s experience in working in the Arctic. With several different forums working on Arctic-related issues, there is a need for a united perspective.

The full broadcast of the Arctic Business Forum can be found here (external site).