Joint statement by Canada and the Russian federation on cooperation in the Arctic and the North

Canada and the Russian Federation acknowledge that for more than a quarter of a century, cooperative efforts in addressing the common challenges presented by the Arctic region have been one of the most productive areas in the Canada-Russia relationship and have favourably influenced its overall evolution. They reaffirm that cooperation in the Arctic and the North remains a priority of Canada-Russia relations and one of its most promising avenues.

With a view to promote environmental protection in the Arctic and the North as well as sustainable development, especially with an aim to create favourable living conditions for aboriginal peoples and other inhabitants of these regions, Canada and the Russian Federation are committed to the further enhancement of their cooperation in the spirit of the 1992 Canada-Russia Agreement on Cooperation in the Arctic and the North, as well as in accordance with the principles laid down in the 1996 Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council. In this connection, the Russian Federation also welcomes the June 8, 2000 announcement by the Canadian government of the Northern Dimension of Canada's Foreign Policy.

Canada and the Russian Federation recognize the importance of their cooperation for the economic and social development of the northern regions. They renew their commitment to work together in such areas as energy, natural resources, mining, construction and transportation. They reiterate their interest in further progress on the Arctic Bridge maritime shipping project as well in the use of transpolar air routes. They will actively pursue their cooperation in such areas as environmental protection, health care, culture, science, education, corporate governance, as well as capacity-building for indigenous groups. They will also work together within the Arctic Council to achieve the objectives set forth in the Declarations adopted at the Ministerial meetings held in Iqaluit in 1998 and Barrow in 2000.

Canada and the Russian Federation agree to use the Intergovernmental Economic Commission and in particular the Working Group on the Arctic and the North to develop further their cooperation. They are also committed to the work of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) and its Russian counterpart through the Joint Committee created under the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning Cooperation on Northern Development and Aboriginal Issues. To this end they agree to hold regular consultations at the level of senior officials on northern policy matters and to continue to jointly administer programs that address areas of common concern to both Canada and the Russian Federation through capacity building and the promotion of direct bilateral North-to-North linkages. They also agree to organize in Canada in 2001 a joint Canada-Russia North-to-North dialogue and symposium to discuss the challenges and opportunities of northern development in the 21st century.

Canada and the Russian Federation note the importance of the further continuation of the technical cooperation programs carried out though the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in various regions of the Russian North. These programs that have attracted considerable and widespread interest in the Canadian as well as in the Russian North are called upon to promote reforms in economic, social, governance and environmental protection areas.

On the basis of the experience gained in bilateral cooperation in the Arctic and the North, Russia and Canada will continue to promote active involvement of regional and local administrations, local indigenous peoples organizations and other non-governmental organizations in the joint cooperation projects. They will also increase their efforts to involve private sector participants, including small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as to facilitate investment activities.

Canadian Sponsored Projects in the Russian North

The Arctic and North remain a promising area for our bilateral relationship. Primarily through CIDA sponsored projects and those initiated under the DIAND MOU on Northern Development and Aboriginal Issues, Canada committed well over $40 million to northern and aboriginal projects over the past few years. These projects promoted environmental protection, sustainable development, transition to a market economy and democratic development. The following is the most representative sample of the more than 45 Canadian sponsored projects undertaken in the Russian North during the past few years.

Women & Labour Market Reform—Helping women, youth and northerners be more competitive in the labour market.

Aboriginal Women's Entrepreneur Training Program—Helping aboriginal women to establish businesses and market products effectively that will also foster linkages through the creation of a Canada-Russia forum for aboriginal and northern women in business.

Institution building for Aboriginal Peoples—Strengthening aboriginal participation in the decision-making process at the national, regional and local levels.

Northern Chambers of Commerce Linkage Program—Fostering bilateral commercial links that will also help form the foundation of a Circumpolar Chamber of Commerce.

Building Partnerships between Northern Cities and Communities—Facilitating capacity building through municipal partnerships towards long term linkages between northern Russian and Canadian cities and communities.

Komi Republic Water Management and Economic Development Project—Promoting sustainable economic development and protecting the environment in the Komi Republic.

Russian Small Business Fund—Assisting the transition to a market economy by providing capital, training and technical assistance to banks for lending to businesses in the North.

Energy Policy Advice Project—Training government officials at both theFederation and regional levels in techniques of oil and gas public management.

Promotion of Energy Efficiency—Helping municipalities develop policies and adapt technology that will promote energy efficiency.

Reindeer Meat Processing in Eastern Siberia—Sharing Canadian northern expertise and enabling Russian partners to experience first hand the development of wild meat processing in Canada.

Canadian Housing in Russia Far East—Building affordable, energy efficient housing in the Russian Far East.

Northern Regional Parliamentary Reform—Engaging parliamentarians in a dialogue with Canadians to contribute to the evolution of Russian legislation in three priority areas: aboriginal issues, local government and natural resources.