Kirkenes-2: timely response to the Arctic challenges
Next year is the time of another historic event in the Arctic region: a Kirkenes-2 declaration is to be signed on a high level in Norwegian Kirkenes. This declaration will determine the fields of cooperation between the countries of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. Russia suggests adding cooperation in information technologies to the existing seven fields.
Norway was the initiator of cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region and now it has called a working group for developing a second Kirkenes declaration. The first one was signed in 1993 and included seven priority spheres of cooperation between the countries of the region: environmental protection, economy, science, culture, education, medicine and tourism. Russian participants suggest supplementing it with introducing information and communication technologies. This concept was discussed at the conference ‘Innovative and Safe Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region’ which was held in Arkhangelsk. The conference also discussed the initiative to build a regional social network for communication between the residents of the four countries of the region.
Over the 20 years of cooperation within the Kirkenes declaration, Russia and Norway have established warm relations that are to be further developed. The region needs large-scale social and economic projects, the Chancellor of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University Yelena Kudriashova believes.
“A new generation of people has grown in the region. The frontiers are open now and mentalities have changed. Now that powerful human resources are available and an education and exploration basis has been set up we should develop large-scale joint projects essential for the social and economic growth of the region.”
The new Kirkenes declaration will be adopted in the summer of 2013, 20 years after the first document was signed. The new declaration is expected to be signed on the high level of ministers and presidents. Over these years, the countries of the region have done a lot in the development of all seven fields of cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. However, new challenges spring up with time and it is necessary to adequately respond to them. Cooperation in the field of information technologies will be one of such timely responses.