On September 14, 2021 the online seminar “Sustainable Regional Development, International Cooperation and the Protection of the Arctic Environment” was organized as a cooperative effort involving Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center, Human Resource Development Platform for Japan-Russia Economic Cooperation and Personnel Exchange (HaRP, in particular, the specialized section “SDGs: Environment, Resource Development and Multicultural Education”), the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) II – project (especially research program “Elucidating the Complex Dynamics of Arctic Politics and Its Contribution to Japan’s Arctic Policy” and its subgroup 4 “Non-state actors and paradiplomacy”), the UArctic Thematic Network on the Arctic in Asia, Asia in the Arctic, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the Association of Institutions of Higher Education of Russian Federation and Japan. This event was one of the 4 sessions of the Japan-Russia Scientific Forum held with the aim of promoting Japan-Russia academic collaboration for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its objectives were to: 1) to discuss the ecologically sustainable development and protection of the Arctic; 2) analyze the role and possibilities of regional and local actors (including indigenous peoples) to participate and influence the planning and implementation of environmental policies; 3) to discuss the role of cross-border cooperation in the protection of the Arctic cooperation.
The seminar with simultaneous interpretation into English, Japanese and Russian was attended by about 110 participants from Russia, Japan, Finland, Norway, Canada, Indonesia, and Bulgaria. It continued a seminar series (Multilevel Governance and Interregional Cooperation) organized as part of the ArCS II project and HaRP:
- Seminar 1 – Online workshop “Multilevel Governance and Interregional Cooperation: Vol.1 – The Pacific Arctic” held on January 12, 2021;
- Seminar 2 – Online workshop “Japan-Russia Interregional Cooperation in the Arctic and North – Theory and Practice” held on March 3, 2021;
- Seminar 3 – Online workshop “Multilevel Governance and Interregional Cooperation: Vol.2 – The Barents Region” held on June 9, 2021”.
It drew on the results of cooperation and network of contacts established through the Cold Lands seminars / Northern Sustainable Development Forums in 2019–2020.
The seminar consisted of two parts.
Part 1 included two presentations and two commentary speeches from Russian and Japanese scholars and representatives of NGOs (Olga Tutubalina, Moscow State University; Irina Onufrenya, WWF Russia; Vyacheslav Shadrin, Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Yukaghir people and Vice President of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North; Jeffry Gayman, Hokkaido University.
Part 2 included two presentations and two commentary speeches delivered by scholars representing Russian, Japanese and Norwegian universities (Alexander Pilyasov and Nadezhda Zamyatina, Moscow State University; Shinichiro Tabata, Hokkaido University; Ilya Stepanov, HSE University; Aileen A. Espiritu,UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the Barents Institute).
Part 1 shed light on both the increasing environmental consciousness in Russia and on the different types of concrete activities through which the local people and organizations are contributing to the monitoring and protection of the fragile Arctic environment. Furthermore, besides emphasizing the ties between the environment and the traditional indigenous way of life, the speakers also analyzed how the development of the environmental legislation and the development of indigenous rights have been connected. Part 2 continued from here and analyzed different models of regional economy and city development, the impacts of global decarbonization on the sustainable development of the Arctic, and the effects of global warming on the international relations in the Arctic.
This seminar brought together speakers and participants representing various universities, research institutes, NGOs, different levels of national and sub-national governments and the associated agencies, private companies. We hope that it contributed at least to three kinds of discussions: 1) discussion concerning the role of non-state actors in the environmental protection in the Arctic; 2) discussion concerning the development of the Arctic that is ecologically sustainable and socially and economically responsible; and 3) discussion concerning the role of non-state actors in cross-border cooperation.
(Report by Dr. Juha Saunavaara, Assistant Professor of Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center)
[Japan-Russia Scientific Forum] Online Workshop “Sustainable Regional Development, International Cooperation and the Protection of the Arctic Environment” on 14 September, 2021.
Click here to see the full program.