White paper on the Antarctic

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

'Norway has a long history of engagement in the Antarctic. International interest in the region is growing, with more actors becoming involved and a wider range of activities being carried out. As a claimant state and one of the 12 original parties to the Antarctic Treaty, Norway has an important role to play in the Antarctic,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

This is the first time a Norwegian Government has presented a white paper that provides a complete overview of Norway's interests and policy in the Antarctic. Norwegian Antarctic policy is based on recognition of the need to maintain Norway's sovereignty claims, combined with efforts to ensure that international cooperation under the Antarctic Treaty System is effective and stable. The white paper does not represent a break with Norway's previous policy in the Antarctic and no fundamental changes to Norway's policy are announced.

'Our Antarctic policy focuses on safeguarding Norwegian interests relating to a range of activities in this vast and important region. Norway has played a key role in the development of both the Antarctic Treaty System and of regional management mechanisms and organisations. One of the overall goals of Norwegian Antarctic policy is to ensure that the region's unique natural and environmental assets are protected,' Mr Brende said.

In the white paper, the Government highlights the following key aspects of Norwegian Antarctic policy:

  • A science-based policy that is based on the same fundamental values as Norwegian policy in the north
  • Norway's role in international collaboration under the Antarctic Treaty System
  • Norway's interests as a claimant state
  • Protection of the Antarctic environment as 'a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science'
  • Norway as a responsible steward of marine resources
  • Norway's role in promoting environmentally sound research, tourism and commercial activity in the region
  • The significance of the Antarctic in both domestic and foreign policy.

The white paper discusses the two Norwegian dependencies within the Antarctic Treaty area, Dronning Maud Land and Peter I Øy. Bouvetøya lies outside the Antarctic Treaty area and is undisputed Norwegian territory. The Government is therefore also presenting a separate white paper on Norwegian policy and interests with regard to Bouvetøya.