English language Web site on current affairs in the biggest russian region
01:07 | Aug 17 | 2012

It is getting warmer in the North

Powers of the Secretariat of the Northern Forum were transferred to Yakutsk.

The international non-governmental organization founded in 1991, which aim is to improve life quality in the North (through cooperation in the field of science and health protection), goes through tough times. It should be noted that Yakutia is the chairman of this organization.

We need a dialogue
This April the Yakut delegation headed by the President of the Republic participated in the meeting of the Committee of Regional Coordinators of the Northern Forum in Quebec. Representatives of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, Gangwon Province (the Republic of Korea), Yukon Territory (Canada), Hokkaido Prefecture (Japan), Nunavut Territory (Canada), Quebec Province (Canada), the Secretariat of the Northern Forum in the person of Executive Director Priscilla Wohl and the Deputy Executive Director, the representative of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the Secretariat of the Northern Forum, Anastasia Bozhedonova gathered at the meeting.
It is not a secret that in recent times there are some certain difficulties in the activity of the Northern Forum. The main problem is absence of proper financing of available projects. For this reason the Northern Forum mainly serves for communication of heads of Northern territories.
Speaking at the meeting, the Head of the republic, the Chairman of the Northern Forum Egor Borisov noted that it is necessary to have a dialogue in order to break negative processes in complicated history of the organization.
Egor Borisov declared that the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) undertakes some additional obligations to support the international authority of the Northern Forum, to involve new regions and to return former members of the organization.

Crisis is to be overcome
According to the Minister of Federal and Foreign Affairs of the Republic Valery Maksimov, election of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) to the Chairman of the Northern Forum was under conditions of a serious crisis in the organization. Such events, which happened immediately after X General Assembly, as, in particular, the membership termination of the State of Alaska, Heilongjiang Province and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and also regular financial problems of the Secretariat of the Northern Forum in Anchorage, evidence it.
Problems with secession of some regions and financial problems of the Secretariat are inseparably connected, because secession problems involve shortfall of membership fees which form the basis of the budget. All these factors lead to long-term unpaid leaves of the head and the staff of the Secretariat. In practice it means very long periods of full stagnation in project and organizational activities of the Northern Forum. For example, the present meeting of the Committee of Regional Coordinators has been organized actually by regional coordinators from Quebec and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Secretariat took a small part in it.
So, the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has made a detailed analysis of the current situation in the Northern Forum for last ten months and on its basis the Presidency Program for the period till 2013 has been developed.
Yakutia offers support and development of the Strategic plan and the Pyeongchang Declaration of the Northern Forum, work activation of all member regions, cooperation with leading international organizations, such as the United Nations and its structures, the Arctic Council, the European Union, improvement of organizational structure of the Northern Forum, improvement of information support.
On initiative of the republic certain steps have been already taken to improve the situation with activity of the Northern Forum. In particular, letters with information about plans of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the capacity of the Chairman of the Northern Forum have been sent to regional authorities who left the Northern Forum. At the present moment answers from Sakhalin, Kamchatka and the Magadan Region were received, and it proves that authorities of these regions are interested in membership renewal.

New meetings in future
According to the offer of the Government of Yakutia, on May 30 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia will hold a Council meeting of regional heads devoted to «Participation of regions of the Russian Federation in the international cooperation in the Arctic Region, including international organizations». At the present moment negotiations to invite other countries to the Northern Forum are conducted. So, today there are preliminary arrangements with regions of Norway and Finland. Active cooperation with other international organizations of the Arctic Region, and, first of all, with the Arctic Council is conducted.
During the meeting the issue concerning creation of the Secretariat in the city of Yakutsk was also considered. After discussions and exchange of views, powers of the Northern Forum Secretariat were transferred to the capital of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) - Yakutsk. At that, former powers, except for the Northern Forum Secretariat functions, were left at the corporation «Northern Forum» in Anchorage.
The result of this meeting is signing of resolutions on the temporary Secretariat of the Northern Forum in Yakutsk by regional coordinators of the Northern Forum, on the approval of the Plan of work for 2012-2013, on recognition of Priscilla Post Wohl’s services and on determination of conditions to continue her relations with the Northern Forum.
It should be noted that in 2013 the General Assembly of the Northern Forum will take place in the city of Yakutsk.

The Chairman of the Northern Forum, the President of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Egor Borisov:
«The tendency proves that the influence of the regional factor on leading branches of world economy increases all over the world. Considering the tense situation in our organization, we have to change purposes and solve problems on a large scale, creating a platform for consolidated interest. With the help of our active actions we should achieve a high decision-making level. Under the conditions of active industrial development and implementation of a large number of infrastructural projects in the North and in the Arctic Region, and consolidation of states to research and react to consequences of climate changes, we should offer effective ways of collective participation in the international Arctic cooperation. We should find a way to turn the Northern Forum into the international platform for consolidation of our common interests at international level».