Working Group on the Arctic

In the context where the future of the polar zone, a large percentage of Russia’s territory, gains the renewed focus of major research activities, economic and political interests, it is bound to become one of the key development priorities Russian Federation will be addressing in the near future. Most visible elements of concern include the environmental risks, the demographic trends, the livelihoods of indigenous populations, as well as issues of health and access to basic social services for population living in remote northern areas.

Representing an area-specific dimension of the key national priorities (the 4 national projects), these issues both correspond to the mandate ofUN in Russia, which can contribute through creating an inclusive multi-lateral platform for knowledge sharing.

The Working Group formed in September 2007 will contribute to enhanced understanding of the development aspects of the exploration of the Arctic and will provide coordinated support to ongoing and new national and international policy processes and programmes, including Russia’s participation in the Arctic Council; the International Polar Year; the Northern Strategy currently being drafted by the Ministry of Regional Development, etc.

The Group initially involves UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UNESCO, UN Information Centre and World Health Organization (WHO), but open to participation of other UN agencies as well as national and international partners.