Bellona’s president Hauge travels to Murmansk’s Parliament

Thomas Nilsen

Publish date: November 4, 2010

Written by: Ruth Astrid Saeter

Translated by: Charles Digges

Next week Bellona President Frederic Hauge will be a guest of the Regional Parliament in Murmansk, “the first time we've heard of a Russian parliament inviting an NGO on an official visit,’ said Kristin Jørgensen, head of Bellona's Russian Department.

Yevgeny Nikora, speaker of parliament Murmansk, heard Frederic Hauge make a speech during the ninth “Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians” in Brussels in September – and shortly after, Hauge was invited on an official visit to Murmansk.

Tuesday, November 9, Hauge will be the Murmansk Parliament’s official guest, and environmental challenges in the northern areas are on the agenda.

Golden opportunity

“Bellona sees this as a golden opportunity to put important issues on the agenda – the environment, nuclear safety, energy challenges and environmental rights. Here we have a unique opportunity to discuss these issues at a high political level,” said Jørgensen, while wondering if this is an indication that Russia is finally beginning to take environmental issues seriously.

“We feel that Frederic Hauge’s visit is very important for the status of NGOs in general in Russia and for Bellona Murmansk’s role in the region in particular. We now have a more important position and the opportunities to cooperate with authorities in a more constructive and appropriate way,” Jørgensen added.

Tight Programme

Hauge travel to Russia on Monday and has a busy schedule from arrival to his departure on Wednesday November 10. Tuesday, he will have a separate meeting with Nikora until he meets a number of politicians at a roundtable conference on nuclear safety and industrial activity in the Arctic.

On Wednesday, November 10, Hauge will hold a lecture on renewable energy for students at Murmansk Humanitarian institute. He will also set aside time for a series of interviews in the Russian media, and a meeting with Norwegian business people in Murmansk.