Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
March 26, 2012
Table of Contents
Policy Steering Group
Agriculture Working Group
Arms Control and International Security Working Group
Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group
Civil Society Working Group
Counternarcotics Working Group
Counterterrorism Working Group
Defense Relations Working Group
Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group
Emergency Situations Working Group
Energy Working Group
Environment Working Group
Health Working Group
Innovation Working Group
Intelligence Cooperation Working Group
Military Cooperation Working Group
Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group
Rule of Law Working Group
Science and Technology Working Group
Space Cooperation Working Group
The U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission continues to broaden and deepen cooperation between our governments and peoples to advance common interests. Over the past year, the Commission’s structure has grown, with working groups on innovation and rule of law added to the now-20 working groups that are producing practical results. Over sixty U.S. and Russian government agencies now support the work of the Commission and have facilitated over 400 meetings, exchanges, exercises, and other joint projects since the Commission’s start. The Commission has also served as a venue for connecting American and Russian citizens across a wide range of professions--from high technology entrepreneurs to business students, from doctors to nuclear scientists, from counter-narcotics experts to green technology innovators.
On the security front, we have begun implementation of the New START Treaty, restarting inspection and verification procedures to reinforce the process of agreed reductions in nuclear weapons and delivery systems; both sides consider implementation to be a success. We also agreed on important amendments to the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, which will allow both sides to dispose of enough weapon-grade plutonium for a total of 17,000 nuclear weapons. Strengthening bilateral military cooperation is a top Commission goal. In 2011, U.S. and Russian armed forces performed joint exercises and carried out more than 50 military-to-military activities, an unprecedented level of engagement. We have shared best practices on military reform and modernization in areas such as logistics and personnel management. Cooperation to bring stability and security to Afghanistan reached new levels in terms of efforts to equip the Afghan National Security Forces and facilitate the transit of personnel and equipment in support of multinational operations. Our counternarcotics cooperation has become more systematic as we conduct joint operations to interrupt supply as well as share strategies to reduce demand. Joint exercises at sea, in the air and on land bolster our counterterrorism cooperation.
Combined U.S. and Russian efforts to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation helped to secure an invitation for Russia to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Two-way trade and investment increased with Boeing aircraft sales to Aeroflot and UTAir, Rosneft’s joint venture with ExxonMobil to explore Arctic oil and gas fields and to increase Russian investment in Texas, and with joint ventures between General Electric and Inter RAO UES and Rostekhnologii. Energy efficiency is another priority area for the Commission. San Diego and Belgorod are working together to advance implementation of new Smart Grid infrastructure to improve municipal energy efficiency and reduce energy costs for consumers. A second city-to-city Smart Grid program between Kaliningrad and a U.S. partner city will begin this year.
Perhaps the Commission’s most important work this year has been on the people-to-people front. A new agreement will make multiple-entry, three-year visas the norm for American and Russian businesspeople and tourists. Another agreement will increase protection for inter-country adopted children and strengthen adoption procedures. A joint U.S.-Russia protocol on global polio eradication signed in 2011 resulted in joint efforts to help tackle polio outbreaks in Central Asia. Public-private partnerships increased. One example of use of new technologies was the 2011 launch of Text4Baby, a free mobile health information service promoting maternal and child health through text messages. There have been new cultural exchanges -- performances of the Bolshoi Ballet in Washington, D.C. and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and St. Petersburg are but two examples. Academic and youth exchanges continued as well. We established new Fulbright Science and Technology scholarships and continued to sponsor Russian-American youth sports exchanges.
Despite tangible progress in many areas, the Commission’s work is far from finished. There is more to be done that will benefit both of our nations. Our ongoing strategic stability talks seek to make progress to build cooperation and enhance mutual confidence, and we are working to increase our capacity to meet non-traditional challenges in areas such as cyber security. On the economic and commercial front, the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation has barely been tapped. As we move toward Russia’s entry into the WTO, we will turn our attention to advancing Russia’s bid to join the OECD and leveraging innovation to bolster the competitiveness of our companies and workforces. And we are confident that the Commission’s work will continue to benefit all Americans and Russians as we seek ways to increase our educational and professional exchanges, to find new avenues of cooperation in the public health and other social sectors, and to bring civil society actors together to discuss common challenges. The United States and Russia commit to take full advantage of the Commission’s capabilities to advance common interests and unlock the creative and entrepreneurial potential of our societies in the months and years ahead.
The co-chairs of the Policy Steering Working Group, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, engaged in regular meetings and telephone contacts, further complementing the achievements of the working groups in the direction of cooperation and future activities. Since June 2010, under the aegis of the Presidential Commission, there have been over 300 events, including delegation visits, workshops, seminars, and roundtables.
The co-chairs share the intention to intensify the joint efforts of U.S. and Russian agencies, business, scientific, cultural, and public circles, extending them to new areas, so as to give the Presidential Commission a truly universal character and to increase its effectiveness. The goal is to build up a multifaceted partnership between the United States and Russia, based on the purposes and principles of the U.N. charter.
William Burns and Sergey Ryabkov used the opportunity afforded by the Presidential Commission to discuss the recent urgent challenges to international security derived from the turbulent developments in North Africa and in the Middle East, Afghanistan and in Northeast Asia. This channel of communication has proven its effectiveness and helped promote a deeper dialogue between the United States and Russia, both on the bilateral level and in multilateral fora.
Through the Commission’s Agriculture Working Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Russian Ministry of Agriculture have focused on food security, veterinary sciences, and domestic nutrition programs. Under the Working Group umbrella, a series of meetings between high-level officials of the United States and Russia on agricultural issues took place in 2011. During the Working Group’s meeting in February 2011, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack and Russian Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik discussed the following: Russia’s international initiatives in the area of food security and development of scientific cooperation; cooperation in veterinary issues and animal disease research; social nutrition programs; trade in cattle and cattle genetics, including technical assistance in this area; and Working Group funding to support joint aquaculture disease research and exchange programs in sustainable agriculture.
Throughout the year, USDA furthered the goals of the Working Group by focusing on the following activities:
In June 2011, U.S. Acting Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse met with Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Oleg Aldoshin, while in December 2011, U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator Suzanne Heinen met with Russian Senator Vladimir Plotnikov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Agriculture, Food Policy, and Fisheries and Chairman of the Association of Private Farmers and Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR), who traveled with fellow Senators Aleksey Chernyshev and Bato-Zhargal Zhambalnimbuev. Both sets of discussions focused on bilateral agricultural cooperation and Russia’s pending accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In August 2011, USDA hosted a group of Russian Ministry counterparts studying the USDA’s experiences controlling animal disease outbreaks and conducting public affairs outreach. The Russian guests toured Maryland farms to learn about animal genetics, participated in a simulated animal disease outbreak at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service National Center for Animal Health and Emergency Management, met with a U.S. interagency team to discuss animal health cooperation, and met with a wide range of USDA public affairs officers to learn how they use social media and radio and video broadcasts. In addition, Russian Assistant Minister Dmitry Bobkov described his own Ministry’s public awareness work.
Also in August 2011, the Working Group began the first phase of its “Best Practices in Agricultural Sustainability” program. In partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa State University, and AKKOR, USDA hosted four Russian agricultural experts who traveled to the Midwest to study technologies and practices. Participants attended the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Summer Policy Conference and stayed with Iowa farm families for several days. They also visited the Monsanto research facility in Huxley, Iowa; the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois; the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; and Iowa State University Extension facilities.
In October 2011, USDA facilitated the visit of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale A. Rodman to Moscow, where they toured the Golden Autumn Agricultural Exhibition and met Minister Skrynnik and Veterinary Service Head Sergey Dankvert. During their meeting, both sides agreed to work together in the areas of cattle breeding and improved genetics, animal disease research and control, and agricultural education. Animal health remains an important area of cooperation through the Working Group. Also in October 2011, a group of U.S. veterinarians from both the public and private sectors visited Russia. There they held constructive meetings with agricultural officials and representatives of veterinary institutes concerning the diagnosis and control of African swine fever, among other potential areas of collaboration.
The Russian Ministry of Agriculture also worked throughout the year to further the goals of the Working Group by focusing on the following activities:
In April 2011, a group of American specialists from the Iowa Farm Bureau visited Russia at the invitation of AKKOR. The visit included trips to the Volgograd and Moscow regions, as well as negotiations at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. The sides confirmed their commitment to the development of bilateral cooperation in the framework of the Working Group, and AKKOR and the Iowa Farm Bureau signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.
In May 2011, a Russian delegation took part in an investment forum in New York in order to discuss the investment climate in Russia’s agro-industrial sector. The forum participants exchanged their views on the prospects of foreign investment in Russian agriculture; a report on the investment climate in the Russian agricultural sector was also presented during the forum.
In June 2011, during his visit to Moscow, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa met with Minister Skrynnik to discuss U.S. agricultural products’ access—including from Iowa—to the Russian market. Also in 2011, the University of Wisconsin continued to offer agricultural training programs for Russian business circles.
In December 2011, the U.S.-Russia Business Council held a Russia Agribusiness forum in Nebraska, which resulted in agreements on potential joint projects on the Russian territory in the area of livestock breeding (Boer goat breeding) and agricultural machine-building (production of agricultural irrigation equipment).
Additionally, throughout 2011 many U.S. and Russian companies continued cooperation and investment activities contributing to the goal of food security. For example, Russia’s largest industrial facility for beef production is being built in the Bryansk Region by Miratorg Agribusiness Holding. The $1 billion project foresees establishment of a parent stock of 100,000 animals with a capacity of 48,000 tons of beef a year. As part of the project, Angus beef breed cattle were purchased in the United States. In the Voronezh Region, a livestock breeding center is being established by the Stivenson-Sputnik Company. The project, worth 560 million rubles (over $19 million), saw 1,300 heads of purebred Aberdeen Angus and Hereford heifers and bulls imported from Montana to the region. Another livestock breeding project was launched in the Kaluga Region, where a Center for Angus genetics for breeding Aberdeen Angus beef cattle is under development.
Looking ahead, the Agriculture Working Group plans for 2012 include a USDA-hosted conference of U.S. and Russian experts to launch an aquaculture disease research program. Also, phase two of the “Best Practices” program will commence in spring 2012 as U.S. agricultural experts from Iowa travel to Russia to further share experiences and technical expertise. Both sides will also work jointly on agricultural initiatives as Russia hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in 2012, including its School Feeding Systems workshop, High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology, and food security efforts. In December 2011, USDA conveyed a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation from the State of Kansas to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, and the MOU is expected to be signed during 2012. Following Russia’s WTO accession, both sides envision implementing activities to foster bilateral agricultural trade and provide training on WTO obligations, mechanisms, notifications, and benefits.
The Arms Control and International Security Working Group is co-chaired by U.S. Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense Ellen Tauscher and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
The Working Group met in a full interagency plenary format in January and December 2011 in Washington D.C., and in August 2011 in St. Petersburg. A wide range of issues was discussed, including strategic stability, missile defense, space, WMD nonproliferation challenges, and conventional arms control in Europe. In addition, regular meetings of the two co-chairs were held, mainly focusing on the issues of missile defense and strategic stability.
This year, the working group plans to address issues related to strategic stability, as well as to continue to seek mutually acceptable solutions on missile defense.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina co-chair the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group. The Working Group explores cooperative approaches to boosting two-way trade and investment, increasing economic and energy efficiency, modernizing industry, growing small and medium-sized businesses, developing customs cooperation, and interacting in the sphere of policy against anti-competitive practices.
As two-way trade recovered throughout 2011, Secretary Bryson met with Minister Nabiullina on the margins of the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial in Honolulu to discuss the transition of APEC chairmanship from the United States to Russia in 2012 and Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Minister and the Secretary applauded the November 2011 conclusion of a bilateral visa agreement that, when implemented, will provide for three-year, multiple-entry business visas as standard practice by both countries.
In 2011, with the active assistance of the Working Group, a number of business projects were launched, particularly to advance cooperation in the high-technology and healthcare sectors, including production of an innovative anti-pneumococcal vaccine. American medical technology companies and Russia’s higher-education institutions developed new joint programs focused on advanced-level students, scientists and researchers intending to work in Russia’s pharmaceutical industry. In addition, with the Working Group’s encouragement, specific projects were advanced in the areas of space, road construction, and energy efficiency technologies.
The Working Group supported visits of management training delegations from Russia to the United States in October 2011 in the information-technology and energy-efficiency sectors. In November, the Working Group also supported a Russian water treatment experts’ business mission to New York, where delegation members met with representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local U.S. companies and toured a waste management facility.
In October, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council in Chicago, the Working Group supported a seminar on building a U.S.-Russia. “innovation bridge” to advance cooperation in high technology. Russian development institutes and companies from both countries participated. In May and December 2011, following on a suggestion by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, seminars were held in Moscow and Washington that provided Russian officials opportunities to engage directly with U.S. legal experts regarding U.S. legal principles and practices in judicial and pre-judicial settlement of customs disputes.
To further trade and investment, the Working Group provides assistance in resolving systemic problems and private issues arising among investors from Russia and the United States. In accordance with a Memorandum signed between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia in April 2010, both sides continued acting during 2011 as ombudsmen for investors’ obstacles and disputes.
In 2011, the Working Group supported cooperation in the field of technical standards and regulation by facilitating a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Standardization between the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and the Russian Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology, and well as a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Standardization between the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) and the Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology.
In the sphere of small and medium business, the Working Group’s discussions focused on several areas: enhancement of infrastructure for support of small business, improvement of conditions for lending and microfinancing, and development of innovative and high-tech small and medium companies. A highlight of this interaction was the June 2011 visit to the United States, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, of a Russian delegation that visited Detroit and Pittsburgh. The members studied U.S. experiences in diversifying the economies of “single-industry” cities and developing small businesses as a means of encouraging economic revitalization in economically depressed regions.
In 2011, the Working Group continued to serve as a channel for communication between the two governments for troubleshooting existing and potential market access barriers. For example, the Working Group responded to interest expressed by businesses to organize discussions on possible conflicts between the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and efforts by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia to discourage arbitrary terminations of business relations between foreign companies and distributors in violation of Russian laws governing competition. The Working Group also facilitated correspondence between U.S. and Russian experts on potential problems involving access of Russian goods to the U.S. market regarding U.S. antidumping measures and policies, and export controls that sometimes impact Russian and American companies’ ability to conclude sales agreements or service contracts.
Given synergies on the one hand, between Russia’s expressed interests in diversifying its economy, in more fully utilizing its high-tech talent, and in cultivating a culture of innovation within Russia and, on the other hand, the considerable experience that the U.S. technology industry has accumulated in the area of policies that sustain innovation; cooperation is developing in involving U.S. companies in shaping Russia’s infrastructure for innovative development. Many U.S. companies – among them Boeing, Cisco Systems, Google IBM, Intel, Microsoft and others – have announced plans to participate in Russia’s well-known Skolkovo project to develop an innovation hub, and the mutually beneficial business opportunities that this could potentially entail. During an April 2011 meeting in Moscow, the Working Group organized a seminar on the benefits and conditions for participation in Skolkovo. More than 30 representatives of American companies attended.
In May 2011, thanks to the Working Group’s direct efforts, the two governments organized an exchange of information in the field of government procurement, with experts from the Ministry of Economic Development and other Russian agencies visiting Washington, D.C. for a three-day program in which experts from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, Department of Defense and other U.S. agencies provided insights on the development and implementation of U.S. Government practices in the area of federal procurement.
Looking ahead to 2012, the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group seeks to build on the positive momentum achieved by the significant growth in two-way trade in 2011 by encouraging additional trade missions. These will include missions from the United States to Russia in the automotive supply industry, as well as in the field of energy efficiency. The Working Group will also support visits by Russian business missions to the United States that will focus upon building business links in pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, ecotourism, and the chemical industry and new materials. Throughout the year, Working Group participants will continue to consider ways to remove remaining barriers to trade, encourage projects that address shared business interests and opportunities in economic modernization and innovation, additional training exchanges for management professionals, development of customs cooperation, and sharing of best practices for encouraging financial institutions’ support for support for small and medium businesses. With Russia’s accession to the WTO expected to occur in 2012, both sides look forward to unprecedented opportunities to foster the great potential for bilateral trade and investment that serves the interests of both countries’ economies.
The Presidential Commission’s Civil Society Working Group was established in 2009 to foster peer-to-peer ties between U.S. and Russian civic groups and to facilitate a dialogue between our governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In October 2011, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and Ambassador Konstantin Dolgov, Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law within Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were named as new co-chairs of the Working Group. The new co-chairs met in Washington in February 2012 to review the existing bilateral engagement and discuss new approaches and topics.
Melia and Dolgov replaced Michael McFaul, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, and Vladislav Surkov, former First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, who in June 2011 held a plenary session of the Working Group in Washington, D.C. Membership of the four sub-working groups (Prison Reform, Migration, Child Protection, and Anti-Corruption) consists of a mix of government officials and leading NGO experts.
For Prison Reform-related work, a delegation of Russian human rights activists visited Washington in May 2011. Meeting with U.S. officials and NGO counterparts, they discussed effective advocacy for prisoners’ rights, access to legal counsel, and the protection of vulnerable populations. Subsequently, Mary Mitchell, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Vladislav Tsaturov, Russian Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Corrections Service, led a visit to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. There Prison Reform sub-working group participants examined how prisoner healthcare, cell size, recreation, inmate violence, and prison oversight are addressed in the United States as well as the role NGOs can play in the development of universal prison standards and re-integrating prisoners back into society. A conference on Cross-National Prison Reform and Prison Conditions Monitoring took place in Moscow in January 2012.
In the area of Child Protection, an August 2011 sub-working group session near Lake Baikal in Russia led into the inaugural meeting of the Russian-American Forum on Child Protection. In all, about 250 participants from 32 Russian regions and eight U.S. states—including government officials, child welfare experts and service providers, and university and NGO representatives—discussed a variety of problems related to child physical and sexual abuse, pornography, trafficking, and abandonment. Earlier in 2011, sub-working group co-chairs Andrew Oosterbaan of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and Pavel Astakhov, Russian Presidential Ombudsman on Children’s Rights, led a joint site visit to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and discussed NGO and private-sector support for protecting children.
Migration co-chairs Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Yekaterina Yegorova, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Migration Service, met in June 2011 and led their respective sub-working group on a visit to the Arlington Asylum Office to observe the U.S. asylum application and interview process. In addition, fellow co-chair Steve Bucher, Deputy Associate Director of Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, traveled to Moscow in April 2011 to meet with Yegorova and NGO leaders as well as visit a migrant registration center, a work permit processing office, and a refugee reception site. In October, eight Russian non-governmental experts visited four major U.S. cities, where they met counterparts and shared best practices of migrant integration in the U.S. context.
At a June 2011 meeting of the Anti-Corruption sub-working group in Washington, co-chairs Brooke Darby, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Yuriy Lyubimov, Russian Deputy Minister of Justice, held a discussion on the best practices to counter corporate corruption and how public-private partnerships can be used to increase accountability. Participants stressed the importance of U.S.-Russian cooperation outside of government channels as a means to create transparency and build trust between our two countries’ companies. They agreed that the sub-working group’s future agenda should include information-technology transparency, whistleblower protection, transparency in procurement, and judicial accountability.
At present, Deputy Assistant Secretary Melia and Ambassador Dolgov are setting the agenda for the Civil Society Working Group going forward in preparation for the next meeting of the Working Group to be held in Moscow, tentatively set for June 2012. As our four active sub-working groups continue to expand cooperation and engage new partners, we hope that 2012 will bring a broadened and deepened dialogue between our governments and peoples on issues of concern to civil society in both countries. We also acknowledge and support the work of the U.S.-Russia Civil Society Partnership Program, which aims to create efficient mechanisms for collaboration between U.S. and Russian NGOs.
Established as one of the Presidential Commission’s initial groups in 2009, the Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG) is jointly led by R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Victor Ivanov, Chairman of the State Anti-Narcotics Committee and Director of the Federal Drug Enforcement Service (FSKN).
A number of U.S. government agencies support the efforts of the CNWG. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is joined by interagency partners from the National Security Staff and the Departments of State, Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Treasury. Specific agency representation includes the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The Russian Federation is represented by the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health and Social Development; the Federal Financial Monitoring, Federal Customs, Federal Migration, Federal Security Services; the Supreme Court, the Federal Agency for Development of the State Border, the V.P. Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, and the Office of the Prosecutor General.
Since June 2010, Directors Kerlikowske and Ivanov have held three plenary sessions that brought together this wide constellation of government partners. The United States and Russia have pursued three primary areas of cooperation through the Counternarcotics Working Group: supply reduction, demand reduction including drug dependence treatment, and legal frameworks for counternarcotics efforts. As part of the joint effort to reduce the supply of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the DEA and FSKN carried out multiple coordinated operations. Major successes included the interdiction of a significant cocaine shipment from the United States to Russia in July 2010 and the elimination of four drug laboratories (including 932 kg of heroin and 156 kg of opium) in an October 2010 Afghan National Security Forces-led operation with cooperation from U.S. and Russian experts. Robust joint investigations continue for identification and liquidation of narcotics infrastructure in Afghanistan. Also, coordinated efforts were taken to identify indicators of illicit financial flows related to Afghan narcotics smuggling.
Demand reduction has been a major focus of the CNWG plenaries. During the Washington, D.C. plenary of October 2010, the Working Group identified areas of potential cooperation between NIDA and the Russian National Scientific Center of Narcology. In Moscow meetings, the two sides exchanged experiences on drug prevention in schools. As part of the most recent plenary session in Chicago in November 2011, experts conducted site visits focused on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and family-based treatment programs.
In the third area of ongoing cooperation, the two sides have worked together to improve legal standards, administration, and criminal prosecution for crimes involving narcotic drugs. Working Group members studied the U.S. system of drug courts, which informed the subsequent drafting of legislation to establish similar courts within Russia. Both sides also discussed how to strengthen law enforcement cooperation and support critical institutions in Central Asia, a transit region for the illicit narcotics industry.
Continuing talks, exchanges, and operations during the last several years demonstrate that both nations are committed to furthering broader bilateral cooperation. In addition, both the United States and Russia see clear prospects for greater interaction on the international and multilateral levels.
Looking ahead, the Counternarcotics Working Group will expand demand reduction-focused collaboration by increasing information exchanges related to the prevention of drug use and comprehensive assistance programs to those who abuse drugs or have a substance use disorder. This focus reflects a national priority identified in both the Russian State Anti-narcotics Strategy and the U.S. National Drug Control Strategy. Similarly, coordination efforts to decrease the drug threat from Afghanistan and transit regions will remain a priority for Working Group activities. At the next Working Group session in St. Petersburg, Russia, scheduled for late-spring 2012, the following issues will be discussed: strengthening of our partnership against the global drug threat, cooperation in implementing demand reduction and drug abuse programs, as well as evaluation of the conducted operations and determination of the format of future counternarcotics operations.
The Counterterrorism Working Group is both a continuation and institutionalization of an important U.S.-Russia dialogue begun in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. The Working Group serves as a platform for our counterterrorism leaders to discuss current threats, strengthen and deepen our cooperation on relevant law enforcement matters, work in the multilateral arena to strengthen international counterterrorism norms and increase capacity building, discuss important transportation security issues, engage in ways to counter violent extremism, and bolster information-sharing. Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the U.S. Department of State, and Aleksandr Zmeyevskiy, Russian Special Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Fight against Terrorism, co-chair these Commission efforts.
As one part of our multi-track cooperation, the Working Group has completed operational-level activities such as counter-IED (improvised explosive device) training in the United States as well as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) observations of heavily-traveled Russian airports. In May 2011, TSA and the Russian Ministry of Transport signed a memorandum of understanding on information exchanges and sharing best practices to further cooperation in the sphere of civil aviation security. Under this memorandum, a high-level delegation from Russia’s Ministry of Transport visited a major U.S. airport.
In May 2011, our two countries’ Presidents reaffirmed a common assessment of the threat to global security posed by al-Qa’ida and made a commitment to close cooperation to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat this terrorist organization. Earlier that same month, our countries’ top military leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance U.S.-Russia cooperation in the realm of counterterrorism; our respective armed forces have executed complementary bilateral exercises through the Commission’s Military Cooperation Working Group.
Also in May 2011, Russia welcomed Secretary Clinton’s decision to designate the Caucasus Emirate and its leader as Specially Designated Global Terrorists—thus helping stem the flow of financial and other assistance to the group—and include its head Doku Umarov in the U.S. “Rewards for Justice” program. With U.S. co-sponsorship, Umarov was added to the United Nations 1267 al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee Consolidated List. Continuing in the realm of multilateral cooperation, the United States and Russia collaborated closely in the launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011. Foreign Minister Lavrov joined Secretary Clinton for the launch of this new Forum, which was the realization of an idea that arose in one of their conversations on the margins of the G-8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in March 2010. Our two countries are now working closely to ensure the Forum lives up to is “action-oriented” mission. We are also working together in other counterterrorism-related fora such as the APEC Counterterrorism Task Force, in which the United States and Russia serve as the respective 2011-2012 vice-chair and chair.
A practical result of U.S.-Russian cooperation was UN Security Council Resolution 2017 on the problems of the proliferation of Libyan weapons, which was unanimously adopted on October 31, 2011.
Counterterrorism Working Group Chairmen Ambassadors Benjamin and Zmeyevskiy held an introductory meeting in New York on February 22, 2012. The two sides touched upon important aspects of U.S.-Russian counterterrorism relationship, and discussed the work of the bilateral Counterterrorism Working Group, including the dates for the group’s next meeting in Moscow this year. The Russian delegation shared a draft document for expanded cooperation on tourism security from terrorism and criminal threats, and the delegations discussed ways to build on their record of cooperation in this area. The delegations also discussed the U.S.-Russia initiative within the OSCE on Public-Private Partnerships for the security of tourist infrastructure against terrorist attacks, an initiative which has been promoted since 2010.
The United States and Russia are pleased with the cooperation we have established to date in the area of counterterrorism; we recognize that we must remain cognizant, however, of the need to deepen further means to promote international security, counter violent extremism, repel terrorist threats, protect the lives and rights of citizens, and bring terrorists to justice. We look forwarding to strengthening our cooperation through bilateral and multilateral means.
The Defense Relations Working Group was established by the U.S. Secretary of Defense and Russian Minister of Defense in September 2010 to implement the decisions of the Presidents of the United States and Russia and establish a new level of relations between these two defense agencies. Creating the group has facilitated open and timely discussions of emerging problems and the development of cooperation on various issues of mutual interest.
The Working Group, led by the Secretary of Defense and Minister of Defense, met in Moscow in March 2011. Eight specialized expert sub-working groups, headed by senior leaders from each side, have been formed for practical work. Expert meetings are conducted on a regular basis, at least once per year. The frequency of the meetings is determined by the mutual interest of the two sides. There have been a total of 18 meetings of the eight sub-working groups since December 2010. The first focus area of sub-working group activity is to gain a better understanding of each nation’s approach to military modernization and reform efforts. Another goal of sub-working group activity is to encourage open discussion concerning our respective defense strategies and policy priorities with respect to the national security of the United States and Russia. The second focus area includes the objective exchange of best practices in the field of military logistics, social issues, training and education, and military and civilian personnel management. The third area of interest seeks cooperation in the sphere of defense technology and maritime matters, and includes a sub-working group focused on discussing global and regional security issues. In light of the results of the NATO-Russia Council Summit meeting at Lisbon, U.S. and Russian officials have discussed their plans, concerns, intentions, threat assessments, and capabilities in the area of European missile defense.
Several sub-working group meetings have incorporated site visits to U.S. and Russian defense establishments, providing the opportunity for both sides to observe the day-to-day missions of each other’s defense organizations and interact with subject matter experts in their respective areas of interest. In addition, site visits to U.S. and Russian military training organizations were conducted, where both sides shared their respective approaches to training and educating military personnel. The Department of Defense hosted a visit by Russian experts to the U.S. Defense Finance and Accounting Service Center in Indiana to discuss and observe practices in military financial management, as well as a visit to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Center in Pennsylvania to observe the U.S. model for military logistical support.
The Defense Relations Working Group provides an unprecedented opportunity to conduct open discussion and share information on a broad range of issues and strengthen defense and military cooperation. Receiving senior-level support, the sub-working groups have made significant progress towards increased mutual understanding between military establishments and facilitated positive dialogue at multiple levels. Such cooperation also allows for a frank discussion of the problems that arise between the United States and Russia.
Looking ahead, both the U.S. and Russian sides are finalizing the schedule for sub-working group meetings in 2012, including a possible Working Group session between the U.S. Secretary of Defense and Russian Minister of Defense.
Among the many highlights of a busy 2011, the Working Group on Education, Culture, Sports and Media launched an ambitious series of cultural events in Russia in July called “American Seasons,” which was kicked off by a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Moscow. “American Seasons” is designed to bring a wide spectrum of cultural offerings to the Russian public by introducing them to contemporary American artists, including legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz and the Bill T. Jones dance troupe, which performed in Moscow and Volgograd. A joint theater project “Gorod.OK” was performed at the Mossovet Theater during the International Chekhov Festival. Youth sports exchanges continued, with young Russian hockey players visiting the United States, and U.S. basketball players coming to Russia. Fulbright announced new awards in science and technology. Acting on an idea that originated in the Education sub-working group, Kazan State Technological University hosted the first International Fulbright Summer School in Nanotechnology. The school brought 22 young scientists from various regions of Russia to explore new ideas through workshops, lectures, seminars, discussions, and meetings with U.S. and Russian nanotechnology experts. The Media sub-working group held sessions on journalistic ethics and the future of media and signed an agreement to sponsor a young media professionals exchange program.
The most important events in Russia-U.S. cultural exchange in 2012 are the performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the festivities in the United States related to the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Fort Ross Russian settlement in California. Specifically in this context, a decision was made to organize the “Russian Seasons” cultural program in the United States in 2012. The activities will include performances of folk, music and dance companies from Russia, as well as scientific conferences and workshops featuring scientists and public figures of both countries.
Through the joint efforts of the Russian Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy and the U.S. Departments of State and Education, the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group is focused on improving mutual understanding between the people of Russia and the United States through innovative collaboration and exchanges.
The co-chairs of the Education sub-working group met in Moscow and, with U.S. university presidents and higher education associations, interacted with Russian rectors and faculty in St. Petersburg and Kazan. Russian rectors visited Washington and Research Triangle, North Carolina, where they met with university contacts as well as education NGOs and innovation experts. The Education sub-working group also met in Washington and agreed to pursue an umbrella agreement covering future educational exchanges and a protocol to expand the Fulbright program. To facilitate joint financial support of academic exchanges, in February 2012, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia and the U.S. State Department signed the umbrella Memorandum of Understanding on education. We continue to work toward a Fulbright Protocol, which will provide a mechanism for more Russian citizens to study at universities in the United States. The Association of American Universities signed an agreement on research collaboration with its Russian counterpart.
Within the framework of the subgroup on Education, seven projects have been agreed upon, including management training, entrepreneurship, and internships for young scientists and researchers, representatives of the press, and the scientific community.
The first meeting of the Association of American Universities and the Association of leading Russian universities was attended by representatives of more than 60 universities. The organizers identified specific areas of cooperation and agreed upon a three-year plan for the development of networking leading universities in Russia and the United States. As part of the annual session of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C., a "Russian Day" event was organized with the participation of representatives of leading Russian universities.
Within the Education subgroup, we plan to expand joint projects, including projects for the development of cross-Russian Studies and American Studies, as well as to exchange experience in the Russian program "Teacher of the Year."
Under the Memorandum of Understanding between and the U.S. Department of State and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science for Cooperation in the Field of Education, we are preparing protocols for training programs of Russian undergraduate and graduate students in the United States, as well as training for young innovative entrepreneurs.
The Russian side has informed the United States of the planned trip of Russian pilot, balloonist, and polar traveler Valentin Efremov to mark the upcoming 2012 celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Russian settlement at Fort Ross, California.
In 2011, the co-chairs of both the full Working Group and the Media sub-working group held conferences in Boston and Moscow where they interacted with U.S. and Russian media owners, editors, educators, and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives.
Cooperation with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress will bring five unique U.S. performing groups to Russia in the spring. The “American Seasons” program will continue into the summer, with dancer Savion Glover performing at the Moscow International House of Music, musician Steve Reily taking part in festivals in Moscow and Chelyabinsk, and the Lone Star Film Exchange cooperating with the Moscow International Film Festival.
In 2012, the Igor Moiseyev State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia directed by Vladimir Spivakov, and the Sveshnikov Russian State Chorus will organize concert tours in various U.S. cities.
In addition, our bilateral youth sports exchanges will ramp up in 2012, with American ice hockey players and swimmers coming to Russia and Russian beach volleyball players traveling to the United States. We will launch the first U.S.-Russia Virtual Science Challenge for Youth, pairing up U.S. and Russian high school students in an online science contest. The young media professionals exchange will launch in April in both countries. Consistent with our Presidents’ vision for U.S.-Russia relations, the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group continues promoting new dialogue, understanding, and people-to-people ties.
The Commission’s Emergency Situations Working Group is co-chaired by U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and Minister Sergey Shoigu of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM). The Working Group promotes enhanced U.S.-Russia cooperation in the field of emergency management. In partnership with a wide range of U.S. and Russian agencies, including the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EMERCOM, the U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, FEMA, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have conducted many joint-exercises, exchanges, and conferences with the goal of sharing best practices and improving emergency response capabilities.
The Working Group’s second annual meeting took place in Boston in July 2011. The co-chairs agreed to a 2011-2013 work plan and experts discussed a whole-community approach to disaster preparedness and response. They also held a panel discussion on lessons learned from recent international disaster responses, including the Haiti earthquake of 2010 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011. In addition, the Working Group discussed experiences from the 2010 Russian wildfires as well as current trends and opportunities for cooperation in the field of mass transportation security. In September 2011, EMERCOM participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of the Emergency Preparedness Working Group, hosted by the United States in San Francisco on the sidelines of the APEC Forum of Senior Emergency Response Officials.
The Working Group’s biggest achievement in 2011 was EMERCOM’s Air-Mobile Search and Rescue team earning the highest classification of the United Nation’s International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). The Working Group supported EMERCOM’s efforts with site visits to Fairfax County’s Search and Rescue Team, a table-top exercise in Moscow to compare search-and-rescue tactics, and regular consultations with USAID and other U.S. and international disaster response officials. This mutually beneficial work allowed Russian and American rescue teams to learn from each other. In June and July 2011, EMERCOM hosted an international team of disaster relief specialists to observe and assess their live field exercises and disaster relief simulations. With this new INSARAG classification, Russia is now better able to coordinate disaster assistance with other global responders, and is recognized internationally as having state-of-the-art procedures and practices.
The Working Group marked other milestones in 2011 and consistently provided a platform for joint participation on multilateral and international levels. In May 2011, EMERCOM experts participated in U.S. nation level exercises in the central states of the United States focused on the response to a simulated devastating earthquake. In late summer, both FEMA and EMERCOM sent representatives to observe the NATO Civil Emergency Preparedness Exercise “CODRII 2011” in Moldova. This exercise was organized by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center and involved a simulated earthquake with resulting victims, damage to critical infrastructure, chemical accidents, and a radiological incident.
The exchange of experience--including the organization of volunteer response to fires and the application of advanced technologies for the prevention and response to emergency situations --continues in areas of mutual interest at various international fora. Such topics have been discussed directly in this Working Group, as well as at other venues, such as the conference "Lessons from the Hot Summer of 2010" (March 2011, Moscow) and the international fair “Comprehensive Security-2011" (May 2011, Moscow).
As it looks to 2012 and beyond, the Emergency Situations Working Group will explore collaboration and joint projects between FEMA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and EMERCOM to share best practices in the preparation of rescuers, to develop volunteer firefighting teams, and to map hazards associated with floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. In cooperation with partners in USAID, we will focus on donor coordination activities and the prospects for conducting a joint humanitarian assistance exercise in a third country. The next annual plenary session of the Working Group will take place in Vladivostok in October 2012, concurrent with the APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group. We believe Russia’s role as APEC chair in 2012 will provide new scope for the United States and Russia to continue to work both jointly and internationally in responding to emergency situations.
The Commission’s Energy Working Group, co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Russian Minister of Energy Sergei Shmatko, promotes enhanced U.S.-Russia energy cooperation. It brings together the efforts of the U.S. Departments of Energy, State, and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and also the Russian Ministry of Energy, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Energy Agency. In order to spur innovation and scientific development needed to address today’s shared energy challenges, the co-chairs have agreed upon a Joint Action Plan for 2012 that aims to broaden cooperation in the areas of energy efficiency, clean energy technology development, and energy security.
The Working Group’s highlights during 2011 included a City-to-City Smart Grid Initiative, which links the cities of San Diego and Belgorod and utilities of San Diego Gas & Electric and Belgorodenergo, the regional branch of Russia’s Interregional Grid Distribution Company. Together they began a pilot project that deploys innovative technologies to cut losses and improve the reliability of each region’s local power grid. Also, Russia’s Interregional Grid Company partnered with the U.S. Energy Association to exchange information and best practices in smart grid development and deployment. A USEA delegation visited Moscow on March 11-16 to conduct an assessment of barriers to implementing “smart grids” in Russia’s power and electricity market. In St. Petersburg, the Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings Initiative is assisting the municipality to improve efficiencies as mandated by Russian federal legislation. In order to develop cooperation on increasing energy efficiency and the level of energy management in public buildings in Russia, a meeting memorandum between the St. Petersburg Administration and the U.S. company Honeywell was signed on September 29, 2011. In accordance with this agreement, the two sides will identify potential sites suitable for a project to increase energy. Additionally, an Energy Efficiency Trade Mission designed to promote business-to-business links in the area of clean energy took place in December 2011. Leaders from 16 small and medium-sized companies from Belgorod, Yakutia, Chelyabinsk, St. Petersburg, and Kaluga traveled to Austin and San Diego to meet with their U.S. counterparts. A second, reciprocal energy efficiency trade mission to Russia for U.S. small and medium-sized companies is planned for June 2012. The planning process has started for a joint pilot project in Yakutia that will assess emissions inventories, find point-source emissions, and develop technology for mitigation of black carbon, a known short-term climate forcing agent.
Looking ahead, the Working Group will continue its implementation of pilot projects, facilitate the exchange of best practices via workshops and peer-to-peer discourse, promote business links through trade exchanges and public-private partnerships, and engage scientific circles and energy companies in a bilateral dialogue regarding global energy markets and investment opportunities in both countries. VNIIGAS, Gazprom’s research arm, is considering several initiatives with U.S. partners. One of these possibilities is a potential partnership with the U.S. Gas Technology Institute to identify and recover unconventional gas reserves in isolated demand regions. With the EPA, it will look at continuing cooperation on cost-effective methane mitigation technologies to reduce emissions along production, transmission, and processing chains.
The Working Group’s Joint Action Plan for 2012 initiates several new cooperative undertakings. This includes the determination of a second pair of sister-cities to develop a Smart Grid project, which will be determined in 2012. To further cooperation in the field of Energy Demand Forecasting, experts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration will share information on forecast models and assessments of global energy markets with their counterparts from the Russian Energy Agency. The Department of Energy will support new initiatives to identify and develop university-to-university links so that top legal strategists in energy policy issues will have an open forum to discuss new approaches. The U.S. Department of Energy and Russian Ministry of Energy will facilitate dialogue between U.S. and Russian experts on power sector security and reliability, including the exchange of experiential data and lessons learned from past power system failures. Simultaneously, the realization of a list of areas for cooperative research in innovative clean energy technologies is planned for 2012. Combined with work in the Commission’s Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group, we look forward to continuing robust bilateral cooperation on energy on both national and local levels.
The Commission’s Environment Working Group is led by the U.S. Department of State and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). Areas of focus include wildlife and habitat conservation for species of concern such as polar bears, salmon, and other rare endangered species, forest-related issues (forest legality, fire management, climate change and forest health, forest monitoring and inventory), management and disposal of waste (hazardous waste, superfund sites, and e-waste), reduction of black carbon emissions, protected area management, sustainable tourism, and environmental education. Technical and scientific trainings and exchanges take place frequently; both the U.S. and Russian sides host conferences on Working Group topics, and there are regular meetings at the coordinator level. The Working Group brings together an impressive constellation of governmental participants, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In 2011, the Working Group made progress toward the deepening of cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation in the cross-boundary Bering Strait region with the goal of expanding interaction between protected areas in Alaska and Chukotka. In addition, there was Working Group participation in the Russian-American Pacific Partnership in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in July, as well as other U.S. delegation visits to several joint projects in the Russian Pacific. There was also involvement in the 2011 Beringia Days Conference in Alaska, plant genetic verification initiatives, workshops on illegal logging co-hosted by U.S. Department of Justice and Russian Ministry of Justice, Environment Protection Agency (EPA)-led workshops on waste and black carbon, and two park manager exchanges supported by MNRE, the National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The joint MNRE-EPA workshop on black carbon and the workshops on the U.S. Lacey Act exemplify a new, unprecedented level of cooperation. In particular, the following questions were discussed: the scientific assessment of the state of current research into the pollution of Arctic territories in the United States and Russia with black carbon; emissions of black carbon from stationary diesel generators in the Arctic; and the preparation and carrying out of joint demonstration projects aimed at black carbon reduction. Carrying out the agreement reached during the November 2010 Tiger Forum, Russian and U.S. specialists are successfully introducing a high-tech management information system in the core Amur tiger habitat.
The U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission has worked actively to jointly conserve and manage the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population. The Commission has exchanged scientific data and harvest information, considered drafting complementary management and monitoring plans, and determined annual taking limits. The adoption of annual taking limits- harvest quotas determined on the basis of reliable scientific data and traditional knowledge--is a historic milestone in our efforts to protect the traditional subsistence needs of native peoples while affording protection to polar bears. The Commission established an Outreach Working Group to jointly develop a communication strategy to develop information for public distribution on the Commission’s purpose and activities.
There has been a positive reaction to USFS-supported initiatives to reduce human-caused wildfire and agricultural burning in local communities and nature reserves in the Altai and Primorsky regions.
Upcoming milestones for the Working Group are the expected signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the Antarctic and the establishment of a sister park arrangement across the Bering Strait. We will continue to work on important issues bilaterally and in multilateral fora such as the Arctic Council. Other major events include the next Working Group plenary session, the U.S-Russia Polar Bear Commission meeting, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Environment Ministerial. The Working Group will develop proposals on e-waste and explore expanded collaboration on hazardous and solid waste (management, storage, and clean-up). We seek to deepen ties on environmental crime through additional joint Department of Justice and Ministry of Justice programming. Wildlife and habitat conservation, protected area management, and forest-related cooperation provide the backbone for our joint environmental cooperation and we intend to expand related exchanges and programs, particularly in our shared Beringia region.
The Health Working Group fosters bilateral cooperation in four important areas: scientific collaboration, maternal and child health, healthy lifestyles, and global health. Its co-chairs are Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Ministry of Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova. Since September 2010, the Working Group has held two high-level meetings, one in Washington and one in Moscow, and more than 20 working-level meetings, training sessions, and professional exchanges. In addition, Working Group participants engage civil society stakeholders and businesses through the parallel Carnegie Endowment for International Peace organized Public-Private Task Force.
Recent accomplishments include the signing of a joint U.S.-Russia protocol on global polio eradication in January 2011, which resulted in joint site visits to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in May 2011, and a new memorandum of understanding between the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Russian Foundation of Basic Research (RFBR) in March 2011, which generated the first joint U.S.-Russian grant competition on HIV/AIDS prevention science. Dr. Jill Biden was on-hand in March 2011 to announce the innovative Text4Baby Russia project, a free mobile health information service promoting maternal and child health through text messages. Ordinary U.S. and Russian citizens alike have benefitted from bilateral health cooperation ranging from collaboration on biomedical research to tobacco control programs.
In the framework of cooperation in maternal and child health, the Kulakov Research Center of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology partners with USAID and the NIH through the work of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to share experience in preventing and reducing maternal and child mortality, including use of innovative technologies in the care of premature babies as well as conducting joint workshops to develop skills in counseling for newborn feeding and detection of feeding problems. Additional ongoing areas of research collaboration are in the following areas: health outcomes of babies born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies, premature ovarian failure, epigenomics and proteomics in reproductive technologies, and prevention of premature interruption of pregnancy. An active training program in methods of minimally invasive gynecological surgery for physicians from regions of Russia has been established. Additionally, partnerships between Russian and U.S. physician groups were strengthened and a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Kulakov Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In the field of healthy lifestyles, work is underway to develop a joint protocol to study the epidemiology of obesity in order to identify social-demographic and other factors influencing its development, as well as define related biomarkers. In April 2011, a joint seminar on alcohol abuse prevention examined environmental interventions focused on at-risk youth drinkers and screening and brief intervention strategies for adults to prevent both escalation to addiction and use in harmful ways. A special working group has been established to study the most significant research results in preventing the harmful effects of alcohol and their application in healthcare and other systems that reach adolescents and adults. The research study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is testing an intervention in prenatal clinics in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod in an effort to prevent alcohol exposed pregnancies; results are expected in the next year.
In November 2011, the first meeting of the U.S.-Russia Scientific Forum took place in Moscow. Russian participants included representatives from the Ministries of Health, Education and Science, and Industry and Trade as well as Skolkovo, the State Duma, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, research institutes, businesses, and independent researchers. The Forum’s U.S. participants included representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, CRDF Global, a number of private companies, and over 30 researchers. The goals of the meeting were to foster and enhance the exchange of information focused on narrowing the gap between research and clinical implementation in the thematic areas of the Forum, to develop and expand joint research projects, and to increase the significance of fundamental biomedical research. Together, Forum attendees identified research opportunities related to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, active and healthy lifestyles, brain sciences, human development, infectious and rare diseases, and clinical and translational research training. We expect further expansion of biomedical and behavioral research collaboration through this new Forum, including the possible participation of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science in joint research funding.
The Health Working Group will continue other bilateral activities, such as exchanges, courses, research collaborations through NIH intramural visitors programs, and other expert level delegation visits. In addition to continued collaboration on global polio eradication, both parties are exploring worldwide cooperation on combating malaria. In the context of global health cooperation in international organizations, the Russia and the United States worked actively on the development of the draft resolution of the World Health Organization (WHO) “Smallpox Eradication: Destruction of the Variola Virus Stocks,” discussed at the 64th session of the World Health Assembly in May 2011. Following the announcement of the NIH-RFBR grant competition, funds for 15 joint projects on HIV/AIDS prevention science will be awarded in mid-2012. In addition, a protocol of intent between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Rospotrebnadzor is close to being finalized, which will deepen cooperation to detect and impede the spread of diseases. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Ministry of Health and Social Development anticipate working together on tobacco control as well. New initiatives may include a mobile text-messaging program QuitNowText that supports smoking cessation. In addition, the United States and Russia will both promote the recently-started Global Smoke-Free Workplace Challenge and focus on at-risk groups. Through the Working Group and greater interaction with civil society and non-governmental partners, we will continue to promote the health and well-being of our two countries.
On November 11, 2011, the first meeting of the Co-chairs of the Innovation Working Group (IWG) took place on the margins of the APEC summit in Honolulu. In that meeting, Co-chairs Robert Hormats and Arkadiy Dvorkovich reached agreement on the group’s basic format and areas of activity. They signed a Statement of Intent between the U.S. Department of State and the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, reflecting the two countries’ key initiatives in the field of innovation.
The inaugural meeting of the Working Group in Silicon Valley on March 26-27, 2012, will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the IWG and the Skolkovo Foundation. The meeting will also include a discussion by U.S. and Russian experts on the results of a survey of corporations conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia concerning legal and bureaucratic barriers to innovation. Using these results, the Working Group intends to deepen its cooperation and identify best practices on respective legal frameworks for encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, including exchanges on policies regarding protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), taxation, anti-corruption and corporate governance, and technology transfer, among others. This work will support existing channels of cooperation on these subjects, including the U.S.-Russia IPR Working Group, which intends in the nearest future to agree upon a comprehensive Action Plan for IPR protection and enforcement.
Another priority area of the Working Group’s activity is cooperation in identifying policies and practices that support the development of successful innovation centers and regional innovation clusters. At the Working Group’s inaugural meeting, Russia’s Association of Innovative Regions of Russia will participate in a discussion on the American experience in supporting clusters and approaches to future cooperation in this sphere. In the longer term, the Working Group intends to explore possible partnerships between American and Russian innovation centers and clusters.
The Working Group plans to discuss issues of technology licensing with the goal of enhancing the contribution of research institutes and innovative infrastructure, such as the new Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, to broader economic development. The Working Group will examine potential U.S.-Russia partnerships that could support this goal. Also, to support a commercialization chain linking innovators with the market, the Working Group intends to explore opportunities to support training partnerships among private companies, innovation centers, and research and educational institutions.
The U.S. Department of State has already begun supporting a series of meetings and workshops in the United States for senior representatives of Russian companies implementing innovative development programs. The first of these visits, under the State Department's Voluntary Visitor Program, took place in early March 2012, and included visits for representatives of Russian energy companies to leading U.S. companies in the energy field, government organizations, and innovative companies in Silicon Valley with the goal of introducing participants to international best practices in stimulating innovation.
The Commission’s Working Group on Intelligence Cooperation was created in March 2010 during the visit of then-Director Leon Panetta of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to Moscow to meet Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Mikhail Fradkov. Both Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov hailed the new Working Group subsequently as a means “to strengthen our common security.” Then, now, and going forward, our two countries’ premier intelligence agencies will continue to cooperate on a bilateral basis in areas of mutual concern and security.
The Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Military Cooperation Working Group was established in 2009 to determine mutually beneficial areas of cooperation, to coordinate implementation of joint projects to strengthen strategic stability and international security and develop military contacts, to discuss matters of mutual security, and to monitor implementation of current cooperative projects and joint activities. This Working Group meets on an annual basis and is co-chaired by General Martin E. Dempsey, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), and General Nikolay Makarov, Russian Chief of the General Staff. General Makarov was on hand in September 2011 to honor the outgoing CJCS, Admiral Michael Mullen, on the occasion of his retirement. The General’s visit highlighted both the significant progress that has been made in the area of U.S.-Russia military cooperation as well as our mutual desire to continue this work.
The second annual plenary session in Saint Petersburg, Russia in May 2011 culminated in a new Memorandum of Understanding on Counterterrorism Cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense. This memorandum is being fully operationalized through bilateral discussions in the Combating Terrorism sub-working group and through the Military Cooperation Work Plan. The bilateral exercise “Crimson Rider” in August 2011 simulated nuclear warhead ground transport. In addition, the Air Force Global Strike Command and 20th Air Force, with support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, hosted a static display at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base demonstrating transport and security equipment used by U.S. security forces. Russian presentations highlighted similar practices by Russian military forces. Also in August 2011, in conjunction with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) the second annual “Vigilant Eagle” exercise took place, which focused on joint actions during a terrorist hijacking of an aircraft over the Bering Sea and explored possibilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. In October 2011, the U.S. and Russian Navies successfully completed the “Pacific Eagle” exercise with the goal to improve maritime relations between our two countries and enhance interoperability, particularly in the area of anti-terrorism and counter-piracy operations.
Throughout 2011, the United States and Russia completed a total of 51 Work Plan and non-Work Plan events, exercises, and exchanges. Among them were the Joint Staff Talks that took place on November 12-16, 2011. The talks focused on the military-political situation in crisis regions (North Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan, and Asia-Pacific), and the current conditions and future development of bilateral military cooperation. The Russian side briefed U.S. participants on the strategic exercise “TSENTR-2011.” The U.S.-side also hosted the Russians at the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Warfare Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Meetings on other important issues were also conducted within the framework of the Working Group. Military expert consultations on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were held in February 2011. During this event, the sides exchanged information for countering IEDs and shared experience on searching for and disarming IEDs.
For 2012 planning, U.S. and Russian experts met in November 2011 to finalize the next Military Cooperation Work Plan, which details over 100 events such as port visits, education exchanges, and bilateral exercises. On January 18, 2012, in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO-Russia Council meeting of the Chiefs and Heads of Defense, a working meeting took place between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chairman of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. During this meeting, the Working Group’s activities in 2011 were reviewed and plans were made for its future development. The next plenary session of the Working Group is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2012 in Washington D.C., and the next Joint Staff Talks are provisionally scheduled for September 2012 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Today our armed forces are cooperating in a variety of meaningful ways that would have been unimaginable earlier.
The Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group was established to advance our Presidents’ July 6, 2009 Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation. The two co-chairs, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and Director General of the Rosatom State Corporation Sergey Kiriyenko, conducted the first meeting of the Working Group in September 2009.
2011 was a banner year for the Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group. In January 2011, the Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (also known as the “123 Agreement”) entered into force. In furtherance of the 123 Agreement, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and General Director Kiriyenko signed two joint statements in 2011. The first was issued in June on the margins of the AtomExpo 2011 international forum and reaffirmed a joint understanding of the importance of mutually advantageous cooperation between nuclear research laboratories, institutes, and facilities following the entry into force of the 123 Agreement. The second, a Joint Statement on Strategic Directions of Nuclear Cooperation signed in Vienna in September 2011, focused on innovative areas of joint cooperation, covering new types of reactors and nuclear and radiation safety. This was the first time that areas such as scientific-technical and commercial cooperation, as well as joint efforts to strengthen global nuclear security, have been recorded.
In July 2011, the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) and its 2006 and 2010 Protocols entered into force, reaffirming our commitment to each dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapon-grade plutonium—or enough combined material for over 17,000 nuclear weapons.
In December 2011, the co-chairs conducted a Working Group meeting by video-teleconference, during which they reflected on the previous year’s accomplishments and determined priorities for 2012. This marked the completion of the Third Action Plan, which determined the major goals for 2011. The 13 sub-working groups, created within the framework of the Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group, interact continuously.
In September 2011, the Federal Customs Service of Russia and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), within the framework of the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Nuclear Material Physical Protection, Control and Accounting, completed their joint work on equipping 383 Russian border crossing points with radiation detection systems designed to detect and deter illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials. In October, NNSA and Rosatom co-hosted a training course for export control licensing officials representing former Soviet Union countries. Nuclear material physical protection equipment was installed at the Mining and Chemical Combine, and the joint project to shut down reactors producing weapons-grade plutonium and start up the Zheleznogorsk thermal heating system as a substitute was completed successfully.
All the while, joint work continued on U.S.-origin and Russian-origin fuel returns from third countries. Shipments completed to date include U.S.-origin material from Turkey, Taiwan, Japan, Israel, and the Republic of South Africa, and Russian-origin material from Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Libya, Serbia and Ukraine. Two U.S.-Russian seminars were organized to exchange experiences on design, exploitation and support for security of fast-neutron research reactors and on waste management in the United States and Russia.
Looking ahead, the Fourth Action Plan under development outlines specific action for the Working Group in 2012. Of particular note, multiple fuel returns from third countries are taking place, including shipments of U.S.-origin HEU from Mexico as well as shipments of Russian-origin HEU from Uzbekistan and Poland. Work will continue to electronically integrate radiation detection systems at crossing points with customs houses, directorates, and Russian Federal Customs Service Headquarters. Bilateral Civil Nuclear Energy technical cooperation will include increased focus on nuclear safety and personnel training and education; experts will determine specific activities at the next Civil Nuclear Energy sub-working group experts meeting in Obninsk, Russia, in April 2012.
The two sides continue a discussion of scientific-technical cooperation and interaction in the area of innovative technologies, including the Multi-Purpose Fast Research Reactor, modeling and simulation, safeguards by design, new structural and clad materials development, and Global Civil Nuclear Energy Framework development. In order to accelerate this work, the two countries are negotiating an intergovernmental R&D Agreement on cooperation in the area of scientific research and design, which should also include interaction in innovative technologies.
The two sides will seek broader engagement on the development, testing, and implementation of IAEA safeguards, specifically on the strengthening of State Systems of Accounting and Control in third countries. Both parties will also jointly consider a framework of international cooperation in civil nuclear energy and advance new concepts for comprehensive fuel services. Following a co-hosted workshop in Moscow in April 2012 “The Global Structure of Nuclear Energy and the Development of Services for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle,” the 13th sub-working group plans to develop a work plan by May 2012. The overall multilateral and bilateral collaboration on nuclear energy and nuclear security will continue in all areas.
In May 2011 in Deauville, France, the Presidents of the United States and Russia announced the establishment of the Bilateral Commission’s Rule of Law Working Group to promote enhanced bilateral cooperation on legal issues between the U.S. Department of Justice and Russian Ministry of Justice. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov co-chair the Working Group, whose areas for discussion include judicial assistance in civil and criminal matters, corrections, probation, alternatives to detention, and asset recovery.
The Working Group had its first event a few months later, when several officials from the Russian Ministry of Justice participated in a week-long study tour focused on probation in Washington, D.C. Their visit reflected the Russian government’s ongoing efforts in the area of criminal law reform. The delegation met U.S. officials to discuss prisoner reintegration, drug treatment programs, and job skills training programs. The delegation visited a drug rehabilitation center, a half-way house, and observed sentencing and detention hearings in a federal district court.
On February 9, 2012, the Rule of Law Working Group met in Washington, D.C. for its inaugural plenary session, co-chaired by Minister Konovalov and Attorney General Holder. Experts from the Departments of Justice and State and from the Russian Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Investigative Committee of Russia, and the Federal Service for Execution of Punishments of Russia discussed several topics of interest to both countries, including cooperation between Russia and the United States under the Hague Convention of 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, bilateral interaction in searching for and seizure of property abroad that was obtained by illicit means, and exchange of experience and cooperation in the field of probation.
Examination of the agenda items demonstrated mutual interest in resolving key problems of bilateral legal cooperation between Russia and the United States. Productive discussions were held on possible legal and technical mechanisms to resolve existing issues concerning service of process under the Hague Service Convention. In regard to the exchange of practical experience, matters relating to probation, implementation of prisoner reintegration programs, and the use of the latest technologies for monitoring defendants were of particular interest. With respect to identification and recovery of criminal proceeds abroad, there was mutual interest in standardizing regulation of matters relating to the sending and execution of requests for seizure and confiscation of property obtained by illicit means, well as the return of proceeds from this activity.
A meeting is scheduled between the co-chairs of the Working Group on the margins of the May St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. We look forward to further exchanges of best practices and expert-level discussions regarding justice sector issues of mutual concern.
Established in 2009, the Science and Technology Working Group (S&T Working Group) is led on the U.S. side by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, Dr. John P. Holdren, and on the Russia side by the Minister of Education and Science, Andrey Fursenko. Other U.S. government stakeholders include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, and the Department of State. From the Russian side, the participating groups are the Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology, the Ministry of Communications, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center, and other scientific institutions. There have been three official S&T WG Bilateral Presidential Commission meetings, as well as individual meetings and videoconferences.
The three sub-working groups within the S&T Working Group are: nanotechnology, information technology, and climate. The nano-technology sub-working group has an emphasis on novel materials, sustainable energy, and environmental health and safety cooperation; the IT sub-working group focuses on topics such as e-government, and e-learning; and the climate sub-working group focuses on studies of the Arctic, sub-sea permafrost, and global warming emissions. The S&T Working Group has also identified and promoted efforts to remove obstacles to cooperation, including visa processes, taxes, customs, and approval for maritime research expeditions.
At the February 2011 S&T Working Group meeting, the Nanotechnology sub-working group reviewed about 25 joint projects prepared by the Russian delegation. In December 2011, the sub-working group met again via video-conference. Among the projects discussed were:
1) collaboration on nano-bioscience between the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2) the project "Mirrors with Ultra-High Reflectivity using Synthetic Diamonds" (published in Nature Photonics magazine) carried out by Russia’s Technical Institute of Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (FGU TISNUM) and Argonne National Laboratory, and 3) the project "Carbon Biscrolling and Thermoelectrics" (to create cost-effective high-performance textiles for thermal energy harvesting) by FGU TISNUM and the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas. The scientific and technological results obtained in the course of these projects are truly world class, particularly in the field of super-long nanotubes, and these results were only possible due to cooperation and achievements of both parties.
In May 2011, Russia hosted a successful meeting on international nanotechnology standards, and the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is teaming up with the Far Eastern Federal University and Kazan University to upgrade the study of nanotoxicology and promote international cooperation. For the first time the Russian Ministry of Education and Science participates as a partner agency in the U.S. National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program. Seven interdisciplinary proposals involving U.S.-Russia collaborations were submitted to the NSF PIRE competition.
Seven large-scale projects were deployed within the carbon cycle monitoring sub-working group. Cooperation on the Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) continues, including aboard the research vessel Professor Khromov; our scientists are living and working together at the Tiksi Observatory in the Arctic and have identified new U.S.-Russian projects; research on the effects of melting permafrost continues, including on stores of methane, mercury and carbon; and we launched a joint academies of science (NAS-RAS) study of how black carbon (soot) influences climate change, which will also include mitigation policy options.
Taking into consideration the mutual interest of the sub-working group participants, the number of participants has been increased and the name of the sub-working group has been changed to "Climate Research"; the specific areas and plan for cooperation in the new format will be determined and agreed to for the future. These will include the priority issues for both parties, such as the formation of adequate scientific and technological responses to global challenges related to climate change. Such responses could include joint development of complex climate models, weather data sharing, and the promotion of comprehensive project monitoring and forecasting of changes in the Arctic.
In the area of IT, the co-chairs agreed that work will continue under the Information and Communications Technology Roundtable, led by the State Department, in which the United States and Russia have held valuable discussions and shared experiences on promoting the expansion of internet and other IT technologies to help spur our economies and increase communication between and within our countries.
To create conditions for scientific and technological cooperation, steps have been taken in financial and personnel support. On December 15, 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the U.S. National Science Foundation was signed. This creates a viable mechanism for the co-funding of collaborative projects in all research areas supported by NSF.
A second meeting of the Association of Leading Russian Universities and the Association of American Universities dedicated to the development of research in universities and experience sharing in this area was held in the United States in April 2012, following up on an earlier meeting in Moscow. The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 50 U.S. and Russian universities. A medium-term plan of cooperation has been developed.
Looking forward, U.S. and Russian scientists from a variety of institutions hope to meet in a workshop in fall 2012 to identify common areas of interest in nano-biosciences. We would also like to continue exchange programs such as the trip organized by the Open World Leadership Center and the Department of State to bring a small group of Russian scientists to San Francisco in March to attend the Society of Toxicology meeting and to visit local laboratories. Additionally, at the December Working Group meeting, two new activities were proposed. The Russian side proposed cooperation in the biomedical area and the U.S. side proposed a workshop in Moscow or Washington, D.C. on extreme geophysical events in the North Pacific region in order to identify joint actions to mitigate the disaster risk to Russian and American communities.
Through the Commission’s Space Cooperation Working Group, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) continued to build upon decades of successful cooperation. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is the Working Group’s U.S. co-chair; in April 2011, Vladimir Popovkin assumed leadership of Roscosmos and the Russian co-chairmanship from Anatoly Perminov. NASA and Roscosmos continue to accelerate advances in innovation through shared use of the International Space Station (ISS), data-sharing in Earth and space science, and collaboration to study space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
Since the Working Group’s inception, it has held six working group meetings. The Working Group has emphasized the importance of cooperation in the ISS program through at least 2020, including its use as a testbed for exploration technology for the benefit of future space exploration programs. NASA and Roscosmos, with their ISS partners, have begun considering long-range opportunities to further advance human space exploration so benefits from the ISS program will continue to grow through future exploration missions. They also agreed to continue technical consultations on developing an international standard for spacecraft docking mechanisms. Recognizing the international cooperation potential in space exploration and the rationale for developing a coordinated strategy for space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, the Working Group noted discussions within the multilateral International Space Exploration Coordination Group.
NASA and Roscosmos share a mutual desire to continue long-standing cooperation in the field of space biology and biomedical research, with NASA’s potential participation in the Russian Bion M1 mission, a free flyer satellite carrying life science experiments. The Working Group reviewed the ongoing successful cooperation of the Russian Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector instrument on the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, and the contribution this instrument made to the discovery of water ice on the Moon. November 2011 marked the successful launch of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory with the Russian Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment onboard. At Roscosmos’ request, and in support of and in coordination with other U.S. government agencies, NASA facilitated tracking assistance and efforts to recover Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission.
In 2011, agreements were signed regarding the exchange of data from U.S. and Russian missions studying the solar atmosphere and magnetic field as well as regarding NASA’s provision of x-ray mirror systems for the Russian Spektr-RG spacecraft.
The latest meeting of the Space Cooperation Working Group was held February 29, 2012, in Quebec City, Canada, on the margins of a meeting of the ISS partner agency heads. Going forward, NASA and Roscosmos will build upon the Working Group’s successful cooperation and discuss potential areas for expanding cooperation, such as ISS utilization; life, Earth, and space sciences; communication and navigation; and space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.