Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the world to pull together and protect the shrinking Arctic ice cap ahead of this week's fourth International Arctic Forum.
Organized by Russia's Geographical Society, this year's meeting in the northern city of Arkhangelsk will focus on the vulnerability of people to climatic change.
Of the five nations with Arctic coastlines, Russia has the longest – stretching more than 16,000 kilometers.
But many other states also have vital interests in the Arctic, including China, South Korea, Great Britain, and Japan. Events such as International Arctic Forum provide a platform to discuss exploration of the region, environmental concerns and economic development.
Putin plans to build a new fleet of nuclear icebreakers – part of the Kremlin's biggest Arctic build-up in more than 25 years. With Arctic ice levels reaching a record low, Greenpeace activists argue that every nation on Earth has a stake in the Arctic conservation.
Several companies, including Russian oil giant Rosneft, are currently engaged in new oil and gas projects along Russia's Arctic coast. One of the issues to be discussed at the forum will be tougher action against any oil company polluting Arctic territories.