The letter of the RAIPON to the International Maritime Organization 

February 10, 2020

To: International Maritime Organization

Dear colleagues,

Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) is a large non-governmental organization, which includes 33 regional associations that bring together representatives of 40 Indigenous Peoples. Almost half of Russian Indigenous Peoples live in the Arctic. RAIPON is one of the first three Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council. In this connection, issues of protecting the ecological environment, socio-economic development of the Arctic territories are in the focus of the RAIPON.

We are seriously concerned about the initiative to ban the use of heavy fuel by ships in the Arctic and its transportation as fuel. Arctic regions where the Indigenous Peoples live are distinguished by remoteness and extreme climate conditions. High transportation costs are one of the reasons for the low competitiveness of traditional types of economic activity of the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. We estimate that the ban on the use of heavy fuel by ships in the Arctic and its transportation will entail a number of significant negative consequences Of a socio-economic nature, primarily on the local population and Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. So, the ban will cause a rise in price of the “Northern Delivery” due to the rejection of the cheapest marine fuel.

We wish to ask the International Maritime Organization and the participants of the meeting of the Subcommittee on Pollution Prevention and Response to pay particular attention to the above when discussing this issue. In addition, we would like to recommend that the IMO should be advised to take the proposal to invite the RAIPON delegation into account, so Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic from the Russian side would be able to participate in the discussion of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization on March 30, 2020.

With best regards,

Grigorii Ledkov
Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples
of the North, Siberia and the Far East
of the Russian Federation