The Case of Key Arctic Settlements Under Consideration

backbone territories

Photo: Wikipedia

The attempt to launch and run the topic of backbone territories or key settlements in the Russian Arctic is intended to foster substantial social and economic development of the region, but currently it seems more a framework decision on the paper.

The backbone territories represent 16 agglomerations consisting of 26 settlements. If they result in constructive changes on the ground, it will give a chance to design a new milestone in the conceptual development of Arctic governance tools.

Interestingly, the Kem-Belomorsk Agglomeration, one of the aforementioned territories, is believed to enhance national security capability and give an impetus to the development of various economic initiatives, primarily a decent standard of living and infrastructural facilities on the White Sea as part of the NSR development are concerned. Insofar as the purpose requires it, the Agglomeration master plan shall be designed by July 1, 2024.

So far, the agenda of initial expert session on the Agglomeration master plan covered both risks and opportunities for the revival of port infrastructure, increased cargo traffic through the White Sea - Baltic Canal, development of mineral resources, and appropriate infrastructure within UNESCO World Heritage sites. The second and the third session will be held in a due term in spring 2024.

The proceedings will help establish scenarios outlining the social, economic, and spatial development of the territory over the next decade. The output is slated to be unveiled by October 1, 2024, in the form of a comprehensive plan delineating the long-term social and economic development of the agglomeration until 2035.

Nikita Kiselev