White paper on the future of Svalbard

By strengthening research, tourism and the general businesses the government will develop Svalbard further. This is revealed in the White Paper regarding Svalbard presented by the government today.

– The essence of the White Paper is that the Norwegian policies regarding Svalbard remain unchanged and in the future Longyearbyen shall continue to be a viable local community that attracts families, says Anders Anundsen, Minister of Justice and Public Security (Progress Party).

To support the local government of Longyearbyen’s ongoing work to secure the buildings after the avalanche last winter, the government proposes a grant of NOK 10 million in the revised national budget. This is in addition to the NOK 50 million to secure work places and restructuring that was granted in 2015. The government has also facilitated an operation rest with reference to the Svea and Lunckefjell mines up to three years from 2017 which will allow more time to restructuring.  

– By increased efforts to secure ongoing activities as tourism, research and higher education, we will continue to develop the society of Longyearbyen. We will initiate an effort to develop the tourism in the area of the Isfjord and the nearby local communities.  In addition, we will facilitate a development of a more versatile business within the frames of the Svalbard policy, says Anundsen.

The White Paper further reveals that the government will develop a general strategy in relation to research and higher education at Svalbard.

– A clear Norwegian host role based on professional leadership in relevant fields is important. To contribute to this, changes will be made in relation to organizing and running of the research activity in Ny- Ålesund, says Anundsen.