The 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was held in the beginning of June, and the AEC was represented in the event by its Vice Chair Tero Vauraste. During the conference, Mr. Vauraste spoke at a panel titled “New Approaches to Governance, Research and Protection of the World Ocean”. The session was initiated by United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC).
The event took place just two days before the World Oceans Day. Mr. Alexey Rakhmanov, the President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, underlined ecology as a cornerstone of new shipbuilding solutions. 85% of all global transportation is done by sea. By 2050, this growth is expected to triple. Hence one of the essential factors in the future of global transportation is the development of the Northern Sea Route.
Mr. Vauraste highlighted the global importance of fisheries and, more broadly, that of the blue economy. Blue economy is expected to grow into a major revenue generator. Already now, 15-20 % of fish eaten globally comes from the Arctic areas. By 2030, coastal tourism and aquaculture are expected to double while shipping and sea bed mining are expected to grow even more. As a sign of the significance and potential of ocean related industries, the AEC has decided to establish a Working Group on Blue Economy.
Mr. Vauraste also touched upon the international trade development. While a European issue, Brexit also causes worries across the Arctic. The overall growing global protectionism which we witness is expected to hit the Arctic economies hard. Small and medium-sized enterprises provide over 50 % of the jobs in the Arctic. Their success is dependent on open economy.
Vice Chair Vauraste also called for an international approach. The Arctic covers several regions of international cooperation and trade, such as the EU or the North American countries. In addition, the region is the focus of increased international attention. One common feature for stakeholders coming from outside the Arctic is sustainable development as one key factor in their approach towards the region. The AEC has taken over the work on the Arctic Investment Protocol. This work aims at ensuring that investments in our region are done in a responsible manner.
The session “New Approaches to Governance, Research and Protection of the World Ocean” is available online.