«Experience exchange expands the boundaries of the use of our capabilities»: why does Yamal attract scientists from different countries of the world?

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Yamal, and specifically Salekhard, is hosting an annual meeting of INTERACT’s international scientific network members. 50 scientists from Russia, Norway, Great Britain, the USA, and the Czech Republic have arrived here. They all are about to work out strategies for joint solutions addressing the issue of northern territories sustainable development in the conditions of the climate change. Participants of the meeting emphasized that Russia accounts for two thirds of the Arctic zone and it is necessary to maintain friendly relations to ensure qualitative research throughout the Arctic. Pavel Razuvaev, the reporter of vesti-yamal.ru, knows more about what the scientists have agreed on.

Many people are worried about the health of the Arctic. Including the countries where the northern lights can only be seen via the Internet and no one will ever go outside when the temperature is minus 20 degrees.

“It may sound very strange, but local and Italian ecosystem conditions are quite similar. Even though the climate in Italy is hot, we also have mountains, and many of our scientists will benefit from the experience of your region, as a result we will have fruitful cooperation,” says Luigi Paolo D’acui, Institute of Ecosystem Research, National Research Council, Italy.

Luigi is one of INTERACT’s international project participants. It is the first time when he has met his colleagues in Yamal. For the first time he has learnt about the work of the Russian research station located above the Arctic circle.

“Experience exchange expands the boundaries of our opportunities. As well as exchange of research material. When several stations work together following one program, we can have a better analysis of the material, so we can make more holistic conclusions,” says Natalia Sokolova, Senior Researcher, Arctic Research Station, Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology.

Such a joint international approach to the Arctic problems blurs the boundaries between states and makes everyone forget about political perturbations.

With no doubt international monitoring of ecosystems in the Arctic is impossible without the participation of Russia, the most Arctic country. INTERACT is genuinely interested in accessing the data that has been collected by Yamal scientists for decades.

All parties will definitely benefit from this cooperation: the global community and, of course and more importantly, the Arctic itself. The research station in Labytnangi joined INTERACT network 7 years ago as an observer.  Besides this one, two stations from Yakutia, two stations from Ugra and one station from Murmansk region represent Russia in the global project of the Arctic research.  What does the international project give to polar scientists?

“It can be said that this program has broadened our horizons. We can start with the fact that at Tomsk University we were able to create quite a unique infrastructure called Megaprofile. That is a research profile stretching from the south to the north for 2,500 km,” says Sergey Kirpotin, Professor, Department of Botany, Biological Institute, Tomsk State University.

You would agree that while protecting the Arctic from careless industrial development during natural resources extraction and responding to environmental risks, it is necessary to preserve the main thing: the culture of the indigenous northerners, who have created the foundation of today's circumpolar world. International scientists with high academic regalia were asked to think about that in the small village of Gornoknyazevsk founded more than 300 years ago on the banks of the Ob river.

We see the need to cooperate with indigenous peoples of the North because they live in this territory and they know better than others about the problems arising form, for example, the climate change. They pass the ability to adapt to the environment from generation to generation and, therefore, they have extensive knowledge of the Far North. It helps massively in our scientific research,” says Margaret Johansson, Lund University, Sweden.

Progressors of high latitudes from INTERACT project have got together in Russia for the first time. But they have known our country for a long time, and it is absolutely clear for them that Russia, which controls the Northern Sea Route and has the largest icebreaker fleet, is the country that sets the pace for the circumpolar behaviour today.

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