Meld. St. 32 (2014–2015)

Norwegian Interests and Policy in the Antarctic

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2 Primary goals

Norway’s Antarctic policy is designed to serve Norwegian interests across a diverse range of activities in an enormous geographical area. The interests at issue must be safeguarded within the bounds of an international regulatory framework and a dynamic set of international actors.

In this context, special emphasis will be placed on the following:

  • A well-defined, science-based policy. Norway is to be a prominent and recognisable actor in both domestic and foreign policy arenas. As a polar nation, we will pursue consistent policies in the Antarctic. Our policies will be anchored in the same values, principles and objectives that guide us in other contexts.

  • Research and knowledge acquisition. Norwegian research and information gathering will remain a mainstay of Norway’s presence and activity in the Antarctic and surrounding waters. Norway will contribute to greater international understanding of the Antarctic and of global issues related to the Polar Regions. Research and monitoring activities are intended to reinforce Norway’s position, administrative role and business operations in the area. These activities will be carried out in line with the stringent environmental standards laid down for the area.

  • A dynamic, effective Antarctic Treaty System and collaboration. One of the main objectives of Norwegian foreign policy is to help develop and win support for robust and predictable international rules of conduct. Norwegian policy in the Antarctic is no exception. The general legal and political frameworks for Antarctic activity are defined by a set of agreements pertaining to the region. Norway will therefore continue prioritising efforts to strengthen the Antarctic Treaty System – that is to say, the work carried out within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty and its appurtenant consultative meetings (ATCM) as well as other related agreements, most notably the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (The Environment Protocol) and the Convention on the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (the CAMLR Convention). Norway, as one of the original parties to the Antarctic Treaty, wants to assist in integrating countries that have acceded to the Treaty in recent years, and in enabling them to take part constructively in the collaboration.

  • Norway as claimant. Norwegian policy in the Antarctic has been based on the assertion of Norwegian territorial claims and constructive participation in international cooperation to ensure peaceful development and exploitation in the Antarctic. This policy will remain in place into the future.

  • The Antarctic as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. As a Party to the Environment Protocol, Norway is committed to comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and to maintenance of the area’s wilderness character. Through the Environment Protocol, the parties have identified the Antarctic as a protected area devoted to peace and science. Norway will continue to be a driving force in protecting the Antarctic environment and preserving it as a reference area for research related to the area’s important role with regard to global climate and environmental changes. Norwegian research and monitoring activities will remain key aspects of Norway’s presence and activity in the Antarctic and surrounding waters.

  • Norway as a responsible maritime nation. Norwegian environmental policy is founded on the principle of sustainable management, which in turn relies on scientific guidance. For that reason Norway has played a major role in the development of sound regional cooperative systems. Norway will lead the way in coherent, ecosystem-based management practices that safeguard natural diversity and provide a basis for sustainable resource use. Norway has been active in developing the management regime of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and will seek to ensure that the Commission remains a pioneer in developing credible, effective management systems. Norway insists on upholding the same standards of prudent resource management in the waters around the Antarctic as in other marine waters where the Norwegian fishing industry operates.

  • Responsible commercial actor in the south. Norwegian business enterprises have long traditions in the Antarctic. Fisheries, tourism, space and shipping are among the sectors in which Norwegian companies operate today. Common to all these forms of activity is that they are pursued within a policy framework whose paramount concerns and concepts are responsible management, sustainable resource use and conservation of the natural environment. Norwegian activities must comply with the terms and obligations of the Antarctic Treaty. Where relevant, Norwegian business interests are encouraged to contribute to the knowledge base that underpins sustainable activity in this fragile environment.

  • The Antarctic as part of domestic and foreign policy. It is incumbent on Norway, as a polar nation, to treat issues involving the Antarctic – and especially Norway’s Antarctic claim areas – as an integral part of Norwegian policy in general. Domestically this means that Norwegian legislation is applied, insofar as appropriate, in the country’s Antarctic dependencies. Similarly, the foreign policy values and goals that Norway stands up for in other international forums and contexts must be pursued in the Antarctic as well.

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