Northern Sustainable Development Forum Held in Yakutsk

Photo: Rumyancev Sergey/

Northern Sustainable Development Forum Held in Yakutsk

On 27-30 September, the 3rd Northern Sustainable Development Forum themed as “Climate Change and Permafrost Conservation” took place in Yakutsk, the capital city of the Yakut Republic, one of major Russian Arctic provinces. About 400 delegates from 45 countries took part in the event.

PORA was actively involved in its activities. For instance, PORA organized a round table on ESG in the Arctic and held a discussion panel focusing on the key PORA projects, while PORA experts participated in various forum events.

Here are the top highlights of the forum.

  • The special economic area established in 2020 in the Russia Arctic generates growth and new jobs. According to the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, 216 companies have already been registered as residents of the Russian Arctic Zone with a projected investment of 277 billion rubles (USD 3.8 billion). Not only big players will benefit from doing business in the Russian Arctic, with about 88% of such residents being SMEs.
  • More and more funds are being invested in the Russian Far East and Arctic. The Far East and Arctic Development Corporation says that some 6.3 trillion rubles (USD 86.5 billion) will be spent in the near future by both private and public investors on building infrastructure in the Russian Arctic and Far East, thus creating some 200,000 new jobs.
  • In 2021, about 17,000 wildfires scorched 8.8 million hectares of forest in Yakutia -- 20 times more than in 2020. More than 25,000 firefighters from 19 Russian regions have been battling the blaze. According to regional authorities, the damages caused by wildfires amount to some 1.6 billion rubles.
  • Thawing permafrost is a troubling trend. The Russian Academy of Sciences believes that by 2050, the sum of damages resulting from permafrost degradation may reach up to 5 to 7 trillion rubles (USD 69 to 96 billion). To keep track of changes, a permafrost monitoring system will be deployed in Yakutia. However, experts argue that a national system encompassing all regions with permafrost should be designed.
  • Experts believe that the transition of the Russian Arctic towards a low-carbon economy should be region-specific. To find the best solution for Yakutia, scientists suggest launching a testing ground for carbon management technologies in this Arctic province.
  • As part of the Ecology National Project, three conservation areas have been established in the Arctic areas of Yakutia: Bear Islands Preserve, Katalyk National Park and New Siberian Islands Refuge. In near future, several new conservation areas will be set up in the Arctic part of Yakutia, namely, Amma Nature Park, Chibagalakh Reserve and Khastakh Reserve, with more protected areas to follow in coming years.
  • Yakut authorities plan to install more wind-diesel hybrid power plants across the region’s Arctic territories. By 2024, the number of such stations is expected to total 47.
  • This October will see the long-awaited launch of newly constructed distribution centers in two remote Arctic districts of the Yakut Republic. These distribution centers will serve as hubs to store goods (such as foodstuffs, including fruits and vegetables) imported from the rest of Russia and abroad. A network of such distribution centers to be built in Yakutia will make such goods more available to, and affordable for, local residents.
Alexander Stotskiy
1 October 2021
Arctic Today