Enable Javascript in your browser for an improved experience of regjeringen.no

Meld. St. 7 (2011–2012)

The High North

To table of content

Part 1
Strategic objectives and policy instruments

Introduction

This white paper presents a comprehensive overview of the Government’s High North policy. It outlines visions, objectives and policy instruments.

The Government takes a long-term approach to the High North policy, viewing it as a process that will span generations. The Government reports on and formulates key elements of policy in connection with the annual budgets. The national budgets contain information on the status and progress made in the various areas. But the impact and results of the annual initiatives must also be viewed from a longer-term perspective.

The previous white paper on the High North, Opportunities and Challenges in the North (Report No. 30 (2004–2005) to the Storting) laid the foundation for much of the High North policy. In autumn 2005 the Government’s policy platform identified the High North as Norway’s most important strategic foreign policy priority, and the scope of the policy was broadened, the ambition level raised and policy instruments strengthened.

In 2006 the Government presented its High North Strategy. This was followed up in 2009 with the publication of the report New Building Blocks in the North – the next step in the Government’s High North Strategy. These documents form the basis for the Government’s High North policy.

The main focus of the present white paper is on foreign policy. Particular emphasis is given to the role Norway’s strategic, long-term efforts in the High North can play in strengthening the basis for value creation and welfare throughout the country.

The present white paper provides an in-depth foreign policy analysis and sets out Norway’s priorities in the context of a changing international agenda. It is not a white paper about North Norway. Nor is it a review of regional policy. The focus of the High North policy is on strengthening Norway’s position in the High North by drawing on experience, knowledge and resources from all over the country. We will seek to safeguard Norwegian interests, enhance the basis for value creation, ensure sustainable management of the environment and sound exploitation of resources, and strengthen our presence and cooperation in the High North.

The white paper outlines the policy direction and ambitions in a number of selected areas. The relevant ministries report to the Storting on implementation in the various policy areas. The measures outlined in this white paper must be viewed in connection with the most recent white paper on Svalbard (Report No. 22 (2008–2009) to the Storting), the First update of theIntegrated Management Plan for the Marine Environment of the Barents Sea–Lofoten Area (Meld. St. 10 (2010–2011)), the white paper An industry for the future – Norway’s petroleum activities (Meld. St. 28 (2010–2011), the National Transport Plan 2010–2019, and other planning documents in relevant sectors. The basic structure of the white paper is as follows:

Part I describes how the High North policy has taken shape over the past 20 years. It sets out the role Norway has played in setting the agenda for political developments in the High North, an area that is now attracting considerable international attention. It provides an outline of the main objectives of Norway’s High North policy for the next 20 years as well as an overview of the results achieved and future priorities in 15 strategic priority areas.

Part II reviews key foreign policy issues associated with Norway’s role as a responsible actor in the High North, with a focus on the international legal framework, clarification of border issues, security policy trends, the role of the Norwegian Armed Forces, and the development of cooperation with Russia and other states in the High North, for example through circumpolar and regional cooperation forums.

Part III reviews the relevance of the High North policy in other key areas. The Government will take steps to facilitate increased activity and value creation in the High North. This section of the white paper discusses the environmental framework for business activity and the importance of integrated marine management and maritime safety, as well as fisheries and aquaculture, petroleum activities and a few key land-based industries.

1 Achievements in Norway's High North policy. The way forward and overall objectives

Figure 1.1 North Cape, Finnmark.

Figure 1.1 North Cape, Finnmark.

Photo: Johan Wildhagen / www.visitnorway.com

From the vantage point of 2011, we can look back and identify some of the main features of developments in the High North up to today. Our policy provides guidelines for both domestic and foreign policy initiatives through planning documents, increased use of resources and active interaction with private actors, regional and local partners and other countries. The High North has become a recognisable framework for Norwegian policy – both domestic and foreign policy.

Now that a framework has been established through a broad range of national, regional, local and international initiatives, we can look ahead and consider which areas are likely to be in focus in the next 20 years.

1990–2010: The High North policy takes shape

Norway’s High North policy in its present form has been developed since the end of the Cold War, but is also based on experience gained many years ago. Since 2005, our explicit political ambition has been to strengthen Norwegian policy to promote knowledge of, and activity and presence in, the High North. Practically every ministry and a wide range of public and private actors set themselves goals in this area, and are involved in formulating and implementing our High North policy.

Over the years, seven major themes have emerged as key elements in the development of our current High North policy.

1) Deepening and renewal of cooperation with Russia

Our relations with Russia are one of the mainstays of Norway’s High North policy. In the course of two decades, the nature of these relations has changed from one of confrontation, as was the case during the Cold War, to one of greater confidence, a wider range of contacts and closer co-operation.

During this period, the mistrust that marked the Cold War years has to a great extent been replaced by normal, good neighbourly relations. In addition to their role as regional forums, the Barents Cooperation and the Arctic Council have become important meeting places for Norway and Russia, where our countries are finding common interests in more and more areas. Through people-to-people cooperation in the High North, contacts have been established in most areas and new networks are constantly being developed. This gives Norway’s relations with Russia a whole new dimension.

The bilateral relations between Norway and Russia are good, and have been improving steadily in recent years. Nonetheless, we still encounter demanding challenges because of differences between our respective political and administrative cultures. Russia is facing a number of challenges in relation to its political system, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and the framework for the business sector. These are issues Norway has to deal with while developing even closer cooperation with this neighbour and major power to the East.

Our membership of NATO has helped to provide stability and predictability in our neighbouring areas.

2) Development of broad-based High North diplomacy

When Norway took the initiative for the establishment of the Barents Cooperation in 1993, it was considered important to include countries outside the region as well. The idea was that this would make it easier to deal with political and economic challenges in the region.

The Barents Cooperation has become one of the mainstays of the formal regional cooperation in the north. Close ties between people in North Norway and northwestern Russia have been an important supplement, and at times a corrective, to the diplomacy practised in the capitals. These ties have also facilitated economic growth and helped to strengthen people-to-people contact.

The Arctic Council was established in 1996 as a forum for circumpolar cooperation throughout the Arctic. The successor to the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, the Arctic Council was initially a forum for environmental cooperation, and has since been expanded to include sustainable development as well. This cooperation is increasingly focusing on climate change and the serious impacts it may have in the Arctic. Today, cooperation within the Arctic Council encompasses shipping, integrated management of resources, oil and gas, tourism, education, research, health, and economic and cultural issues in addition to climate change and the environment. The Arctic Council is the only circumpolar body and the leading political body for Arctic issues.

Norway has systematically sought to maintain and further develop ties with countries outside the Arctic region as well, for example through a series of High North dialogues. The Norwegian authorities have used these dialogues to inform key partners on a regular basis about Norway’s views and assessments and discuss challenges and opportunities.

Previously, there were few countries or major economic actors outside the region that were engaged in Arctic areas. This is changing. The EU, key EU countries and several Asian countries are now developing their own Arctic policy, as all the countries that border directly on the Arctic Ocean have already done. At the turn of the millennium, there were few countries outside the Arctic that had the expertise and resources needed to operate in the north. Now, on the other hand, we see that an increasing number of countries are focusing on the region, and are therefore building the necessary expertise and capacity to do so. International organisations and commercial actors are doing the same.

3) Knowledge of the alarming pace of climate change

Climate issues were placed firmly on the international political agenda in the 1990s with the negotiation of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. As a result of the focus on global climate change, the High North also received more attention. The reason for this was firstly that change was apparent in the Arctic earlier than elsewhere and was more rapid, and secondly that change in the Arctic would influence the global climate system. A major Arctic Council assessment of climate change in the Arctic (ACIA) improved knowledge of the interactions between regional and global climate change and provided an important contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was published in 2007.

Climate change is putting growing pressure on the flora and fauna and entire ecosystems, and making it difficult for indigenous peoples to maintain their traditional way of life and livelihoods. However, the impacts of the changes we are observing in the north may be at least as severe and have very serious consequences for people’s living conditions in other parts of the world. For example, rising sea levels caused by the melting of inland ice sheets will have a major global impact.

At the same time, the melting ice is providing greater access to resources in the High North and opening up new opportunities for shipping. This in turn is leading to growing interest in exploiting resources in the Arctic and an increase in maritime activity. For centuries, the Arctic Ocean has been shrouded in mystery and only explored by the boldest Arctic travellers. In recent years, we have seen ships make the first commercial journeys along the Northeast Passage, carrying goods between Europe and Asia.

The rapid pace of climate change and growing economic activity mean that it will be even more important to integrate environmental policy into all sectors.

4) Integrated marine management has safeguarded resources

The management plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area was the first management plan developed for a Norwegian sea area. It was a ground-breaking effort, putting the concept of an integrated, ecosystem-based management regime into practice and finding a balance between different user interests within this framework. Norway chose to develop the plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area first because it is a rich, clean area of sea where considerable new activity was anticipated. The plan has provided a starting point for work on integrated management plans for other Norwegian sea areas. Our work on integrated management plans has attracted considerable international attention, and provides a model for regional cooperation on marine management in the High North.

Norway is responsible for managing vast sea areas that are home to some of the world’s most abundant fish stocks. Marine resources have always been an important basis for viable local communities and -settlement along the Norwegian coast. And the further north you go, the richer the marine resources.

There have been major structural changes in the fisheries sector in recent decades, including the discontinuation of various government financed support schemes. The resource base is robust as a result of long-term management in accordance with the principles of sustainable harvesting. The conventional fisheries are now a modern, thriving and profitable industry. There has also been huge growth in the aquaculture industry since the 1970s and 1980s.

The fisheries sector is Norway’s second largest export industry, after the oil and gas industry. And for many years, Norway has been among the world’s top two or three exporters of fish and fish products. In 2010, the export value of Norwegian seafood was NOK 53.8 billion, setting a new record for the seventh year in a row.

Today the Barents Sea is home to the world’s largest cod stock, the haddock stock is at a record level, and the capelin stock is also strong. During the past 10–12 years, close cooperation on long-term management strategies for the shared Norwegian–Russian fish stocks based on the precautionary approach has given very good results. In the past few years, Norway and Russia have also completed the harmonisation of regulatory measures for the fisheries on both sides of the border.

The Norwegian and Russian authorities have made a concerted effort to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Barents and Norwegian Seas in recent years.

At the same time new knowledge about marine organisms offers exciting future opportunities for sustainable value creation based on marine bioprospecting.

5) The contours of a new oil and gas -province

Estimates indicating that a large share of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources is to be found in Arctic areas are an important reason for the growing interest in the region.

The Barents Sea is one of the areas where considerable petroleum resources are expected to be found. In 1986, large discoveries were made in the Shtokman field in Russian waters. The Snøhvit field in Norwegian waters was discovered in 1980, and this was the first field to be developed in the Barents Sea, starting in 2001. The Skrugard and Norvarg fields were discovered in 2011, which further heightened expectations.

Previously, the unresolved issue of the maritime delimitation between Norway and Russia prevented exploration activities in parts of the Barents Sea. Following the entry into force of the treaty on maritime delimitation between Norway and Russia on 7 July, 2011, new possibilities for oil and gas exploration in the southern Barents Sea opened up. There are many opportunities for cooperation between Norway and Russia. However, growing oil and gas activity will entail new environmental challenges in marine areas with vulnerable ecosystems.

In response to the prospects of oil and gas production in the north, large parts of the Norwegian offshore and supply industry have been building up expertise and making strategic investments. This has also sparked a broad public debate on the spin-off effects that can be expected for local communities and the business sector in North Norway.

6) Acceptance for the principles of the Law of the Sea

In recent decades, important issues concerning jurisdiction in the Norwegian Sea, the Barents Sea, and the Arctic Ocean that affect Norway have been clarified. For all practical purposes, the outstanding issues concerning the maritime delimitation of areas under Norwegian jurisdiction have now been resolved. In the Southern Part of the Banana Hole of the Northeast Atlantic, the final delimitation will be determined in accordance with the arrangements made in 2006 once the neighbouring states (Iceland and Denmark/the Faroe Islands) have received the final recommendations on the outer limits of their continental shelves from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Norway is the first of the Arctic states to have had the outer limits of its continental shelf clarified in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Thus, for the first time we know the full extent of the geographical scope of the Kingdom of Norway – on land, at sea and on the seabed. Norway is responsible for a marine area seven times larger than its total land area. The five states bordering on the Arctic Ocean confirmed, in a ministerial declaration (the Ilulissat Declaration) in 2008, that the Law of the Sea provides the legal framework for clarifying issues related to jurisdiction and management in the Arctic sea areas. This is very important.

The Ilulissat Declaration corrected the notion held by certain key actors that the Arctic was an unregulated area where open conflict on resources could be expected. Its emphasis on the applicability of the Law of the Sea in the Arctic Ocean lays the foundation for orderly, predictable relations between the coastal states, while at the same time signalling to the rest of the world that the coastal states are taking their responsibility seriously. One of the Government’s primary aims has been to play a part in bringing about this clarification.

The Law of the Sea gives Norway jurisdiction over substantial resources. This also means that Norway has a major responsibility for sound management of these areas. There is general agreement that in order to develop a sound management regime, we must first have adequate knowledge of the resources and environment on the seabed, in the water column, and on the surface of the sea. Integrated management plans are important as they provide a basis for increased use of resources within an environmentally sustainable framework.

7) A cooperation network is taking shape

Since the end of the Cold War, a number of cooperation forums have emerged in the north, both the circumpolar Arctic Council and regional forums such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

Relations between Norway and Russia have been developed bilaterally, as well as through the Barents Cooperation and the Arctic Council. The traditional Nordic cooperation has also focused more attention on High North issues since the 1990s, when developments in the Baltic Sea region dominated the agenda. Indigenous issues are a key area of cooperation within the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Northern Dimension, and in the bilateral High North dialogues with Russia and Canada. The Sami Parliament (Sámediggi) has representatives in the Norwegian delegations to the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, and plays an active part in the Indigenous People’s Research Network.

In the past few years there has been renewed interest in closer cooperation between the Nordic countries on foreign and security policy, which has resulted in clear guidelines for policy development in the High North. The 2009 Stoltenberg Report, Nordic Cooperation on Foreign and Security Policy, outlines specific proposals for cooperation in 12 different areas and for a Nordic declaration of solidarity. The Nordic Foreign Ministers endorsed the proposals set out in the report, and they are now being followed up in a number of areas.

The Northern Dimension is a partnership between the EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland. It was originally developed in connection with the northern EU countries’ efforts to strengthen the EU’s engagement in the north. This cooperation has served to intensify the EU’s political and economic engagement in the north, just as the EU’s participation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council ensures close contact with the EU. It consists of partnerships in various priority sectors (e.g. environment, transport, health, culture). A number of jointly financed projects have been carried out under the Northern Dimension, for example on improving environmental and health conditions for the inhabitants of the region.

There are close ties between the various cooperation forums. They all take a pragmatic approach, and give priority to dealing with tasks of importance for the economy, the environment, transport and cooperation between countries and regions in the north.

2011–2030: The way forward and overall objectives

There have been rapid developments in the High North over the past 20 years. Nevertheless, 2011 may well go down in history as the first year of the High North decade. In the Government’s view, developments in the High North have great potential for strengthening the long-term basis for employment and economic activity not only in North Norway but in the rest of the country as well.

One of Norway’s overall objectives is to provide a framework for increased value creation in the High North. This must be done in a way that takes account of the environment, climate and interests of indigenous peoples. We must therefore facilitate the coexistence of different industries and interests within an environmentally sustainable framework. This will require knowledge, expertise and, not least, a close dialogue between the various parties.

During the past few decades, political initiatives have helped to ensure peace and stability, clarify and confirm the legal framework for national jurisdiction and activity in the High North, and develop sound political cooperation structures and extensive people-to-people cooperation. With all this firmly in place, the Government considers that a foundation has been laid that makes it appropriate to focus even more on those parts of the cooperation that will increase value creation and improve the lives of the inhabitants of the region.

In order to succeed in this, we have to mobilise knowledge, individual actors, centres of expertise and capital. We must forge fruitful partnerships between public and private actors. Cooperation between central government, regional and local authorities must be further developed. And we must develop networks between Norwegian and foreign actors.

Knowledge is at the core of our High North policy. It is people’s knowledge and day-to-day work that make it possible to exploit and develop the potential that lies in the north in a sustainable, far-sighted way to the benefit of society. The Government has taken concrete steps to promote the systematic building of knowledge and knowledge infrastructure at the universities, university colleges and other knowledge institutions, for example by providing annual grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Barents 2020 programme. The Government considers it important to consolidate and further develop these and other knowledge communities. Division of labour, cooperation, critical mass and quality are keywords. In the Government’s view, it is important to engage with knowledge institutions in other countries and facilitate staff exchanges with innovative companies and institutions in relevant fields.

The Government views Norway’s High North efforts in a generational perspective. Specific projects will be developed on an ongoing basis through new plans and annual budgets. But we also need a wider horizon that defines our direction and our overriding aims – in relation to both the trends we believe will determine the way forward and the aims we are seeking to achieve.

On this basis, the Government has outlined seven development trends that will shape the initiatives and priorities of Norwegian High North policy.

1) A new energy province in Europe

The Barents Sea seems likely to become an important European energy province. How rapidly it will develop and how important it becomes will depend on market conditions, technological developments, the size of any commercially viable discoveries of oil and gas, and how fast renewable energy sources are developed. The development of oil and gas activities must also be weighed against considerations of other industries and interests within the framework of integrated, ecosystem-based management. Oil and gas deliveries from this region can improve European energy security and make an important contribution to global energy supplies, and at the same time provide a basis for developing industry and services in North Norway. This has important economic and foreign policy implications.

There is also a potential for renewable energy developments in this region, including hydropower, and wind and wave power. Long distances, market-related issues, the need for new infrastructure and environmental and safety issues will pose challenges. All the evidence suggests that the energy dimension will be the most important driver of increased interest in this region in political and business circles in other parts of the world.

In our contacts with other states and foreign commercial interests, issues related to access to energy and energy security will become increasingly important both in themselves and as part of foreign and security policy. Environmental standards, technology, the protection of particularly valuable areas, and emergency preparedness and response will be particularly important, as will opportunities and challenges related to the development of technology for Arctic waters.

Norway has geographical advantages and extensive experience and knowledge of energy production at sea, and the Government intends to build on this. The Government considers it important to enable Norwegian knowledge institutions and companies to play a leading role in developing the new energy province.

Norway and Russia are, as coastal states, responsible for regulating activity on their continental shelf areas in the Barents Sea. The Government will boost the potential of this energy province through the development of closer cooperation between the authorities in the two countries and between industry and supplier industries and knowledge institutions.

Gas from the Barents Sea may become an important European energy resource. Both the EU and individual countries in Europe are drawing up plans for further development of energy supplies in the period up to 2050. Common features are the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. At the same time, there is general recognition that there will be a considerable need for other energy sources as well during this period. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted the advantages of making more use of natural gas as a replacement for coal. Norway and Europe are long-term gas partners. We will continue exploration for gas – particularly in the High North.

If new major discoveries are made in the Barents Sea and market conditions are suitable, we will consider the potential for the profitable use of gas in onshore industries and look at how new infrastructure can be developed.

Expectations of rising activity levels may pave the way for extensive Norwegian–Russian offshore cooperation. The petroleum potential of the Barents Sea also provides a basis for building up knowledge clusters that can contribute to value creation, employment and spin-off effects in northern parts of Norway and Russia.

2) A new industrial age in the High North

The natural resources of the High North have been there since time immemorial; it is knowledge and the growing demand that is making it possible to utilise them. The Government will give priority to the development of knowledge relating to new opportunities for industry, value creation and employment in the High North.

Sound use of oil and gas resources offers a particularly great potential. The Government’s aim is for development of the oil and gas industry to open up opportunities for local value creation and development.

Sustainable management of fisheries resources will continue to be a key element of industrial development in the north. New aquaculture opportunities are likely to emerge in the years ahead. Through its focus on marine bioprospecting, the Government is promoting industrial development based on new knowledge about marine organisms. New products and processes will be developed, with a potential for value creation and employment.

With rising oil and gas production and mineral extraction and a convenient location in relation to new transport routes, it may become more attractive to establish other types of industry in the High North as well. As indicated in the white paper on Norway’s petroleum activities, the Government will facilitate increased industrial use of gas in Norway. The alternative value of the gas is its market price. Industrial use of gas in Norway must therefore be profitable, with market-based gas purchase agreements. The Government’s point of departure is that the industry is deve-loped in an environmentally sound way and within the framework of Norwegian climate policy.

The potential for increased industrial activity makes it even more interesting to develop economic cooperation with Russia, Sweden and Finland in the north.

The Government will facilitate close, broad-based industrial cooperation with Russia. In addition to industrial cooperation, steps to reduce practical barriers relating to visas, labour migration, customs duties, taxation, border procedures, legal issues and property rights will be of key importance.

At the same time, there are exciting opportunities for closer cooperation between the Nordic countries on industrial development in the north. The Government will seek to further develop business cooperation, particularly with neighbouring areas of Sweden and Finland, but also with other countries in and outside the High North. It will also be necessary to increase cooperation with other countries to assess the impacts of new activities and identify environmentally sound solutions for joint projects.

The Government will maintain close contact with the regional authorities and the Sami Parliament on these issues.

3) Pioneering work on integrated marine management

There is already extensive cooperation on environmental protection and sustainable management of living marine resources in the north. We have put in place management plans to ensure long-term integrated management of Norway’s sea areas and encourage value creation within a framework that maintains the structure, functioning and productivity of their ecosystems. The Government’s ambition is to be at the forefront of developments in this field in the years ahead.

Climate change, ocean acidification and increasing levels of activity will give rise to new challenges for the authorities responsible for environmental and natural resource management, and they will have to meet new demands for knowledge and adaptation. Norway must therefore develop its knowledge-based environmental and resource management regime. We need to succeed in this so that the inevitable processes of change do not cause degradation of important habitats and ecosystems or depletion of living resources that we need as a basis for development and welfare in the future.

Sound environmental and natural resource management also requires closer cooperation between the Arctic states and with other states and actors that are engaged in activities in the High North. Cooperation within the framework of the Arctic Council and further development of cooperation with Russia on fisheries and marine management in the Barents Sea are of key importance here. This cooperation will be important for harmonisation of standards and legislation on sound management of the northern sea areas.

4) The growing attraction of the Arctic Ocean

At some point in the future, ice may no longer be a barrier to transport between Asia, North America and Europe through the Arctic Ocean.

There is no immediate prospect of year-round shipping in these waters, where harsh weather and ice will continue to cause difficulties. But even today, merchant ships operating under normal commercial conditions are using the Northeast Passage to cut travel times and costs. There is reason to believe that the volume of shipping will increase. Russia will face a number of challenges in connection with traffic along a coastline where little infrastructure has been developed. Norway will have to deal with the risks involved in increased traffic along its coast, but will also have opportunities to provide services for these ships.

In the near future, however, transport to and from Russia and petroleum-related activities are expected to account for most of the increase in transport volume. Increasing activity will make it necessary to develop cooperation between Norway and Russia on improving the safety and efficiency of maritime activities.

These developments will have geopolitical consequences. Countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore are also showing interest in the possibilities of using Arctic sea routes, and a new window of opportunity is opening up for cooperation and exchange with these countries. This will give considerable room for developing expertise, infrastructure and networks that make spin-off effects in Norway more likely. Shorter transport distances and lower prices may improve the competitive position of Norwegian actors in Asian markets.

All these trends combined will increase the strategic importance of Norway’s coastline and port capacity.

Growing activity may increase the need for regulation in the northern sea areas and may have implications for search and rescue capacity and oil spill preparedness and response.

5) Source of knowledge about the environment and climate change

The High North is a crucial source of knowledge about the Arctic environment and climate, which has implications far beyond the region itself.

Knowledge about the Arctic climate is important for global climate policy and for taking the decisions needed to reduce global warming. Knowledge gained in the Arctic is already of crucial importance for understanding the functioning of the climate system at global as well as regional level. At the same time, knowledge about climate change and ocean acidification and the impacts these will have in the High North is an essential basis for management of the environment and natural resources and for adaptation of future activities in the region.

Norway has systematically built up centres of expertise that are well placed to develop and disseminate new knowledge. The Centre for Climate Dynamics at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the research communities associated with the University of Tromsø and the Fram Centre, the University of Nordland, CICERO (the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo) and other leading research groups put Norway in a good position to play a prominent role in international research cooperation on the Arctic climate and the impacts of climate change. The Government considers it very important to support these knowledge communities so that they can maintain their position as internationally leading centres of expertise.

Svalbard is a unique platform for national and international polar research, with advanced scientific infrastructure in Ny-Ålesund and at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). In the years ahead, Svalbard will be further developed and strengthened as a platform for research, higher education and monitoring.

The recent establishment of a permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council in Tromsø will put Norwegian centres of expertise in an even better position to play a part in setting the agenda for international climate diplomacy in the future.

The environment of the High North is very vulnerable, and there are serious problems related to inputs of long-range pollutants and to hazardous waste, including nuclear waste, on the Russian side of the border. The situation has been improved through international cooperation, but a clear focus on these problems must be maintained in the years ahead to ensure that economic and industrial activity is within safe ecological limits.

6) Close and innovative cooperation in the High North

The system of regional cooperation in the High North is pragmatic and focuses on resolving practical cross-border challenges.

The Government’s aim is for the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Northern Dimension to be further developed and strengthened. Many challenges can best be addressed through close cooperation, and all the countries involved have expressed a desire to strengthen cooperation. The Government wishes Norway to continue to play a leading role in deepening and expanding this cooperation, with open channels to non-Arctic states and partners outside the region.

Contact and cooperation between academic and other knowledge institutions across national borders in the north have resulted in the development of a stronger network that has also helped to bring about sound political solutions between states. In the years ahead, the Government will promote the expansion and strengthening of knowledge networks between Norway and neighbouring countries, and North American, other European and Asian countries.

While the management of petroleum resources and the determination of conditions for exploration and extraction activities are a national responsibility, the development of knowledge regarding the environment and security is a field where international cooperation is advantageous.

Norway and Russia have started cooperation on establishing a joint environmental monitoring programme and developing the basis for an integrated management plan for the Russian part of the Barents Sea, based on the same principles as the Norwegian plan.

Cooperation under the Arctic Council has been steadily expanded over the years, and the Council has helped to put important issues on the agenda, especially as regards the environment and climate change, but also in areas such as shipping, oil and gas, and tourism. In 2011, this was supplemented when the member states concluded the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, the first legally binding agreement to be negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. More such agreements can be expected in the years ahead. In autumn 2011, the member states started negotiations on oil spill preparedness and response in Arctic areas, led by Norway, the US and Russia.

It is important to respond consistently and predictably to the increasing interest in the Arctic on the part of states and actors outside the region. Norway recognises other states’ legitimate interests in the Arctic and welcomes new permanent observers to the Arctic Council provided that they meet the criteria that have been established.

The situation of indigenous people will always figure prominently in regional cooperation in the north. Bodies such as the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council are forums where indigenous peoples’ interests can be safeguarded and further developed in a large geographical area across national borders.

The Barents Cooperation will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2013, during Norway’s chairmanship. A great deal has happened and extensive experience has been gained, both regionally and globally, since the Kirkenes declaration in 1993. Now it is natural to look ahead, and Norway will take the initiative for a new declaration that sets out the visions and direction for cooperation over the next 20 years. A number of suitable areas for closer cooperation are emerging: development of the mineral industry, closer people-to-people contacts, gradual labour market integration, education, environmental protection and research, and other areas of significance for the environment, living conditions and business development. Regional authorities, indigenous peoples’ organisations and the Barents Secretariat are important drivers of this cooperation.

7) New geopolitical centre of gravity in the High North

For more than 40 years, strategic and geopolitical interest in the High North was shaped by the logic of the Cold War and the region’s inaccessibility.

The High North is still an area of strategic military interest, among other things because a large proportion of Russia’s nuclear forces are located there and the region is used as a site for military exercises involving important aircraft and naval units. In NATO, Norway has promoted a renewed focus on the Alliance’s core areas – including those in the north – based on long experience that a clear security policy creates stability and predictability for all parties.

Norway considers it important to continue the development of close, predictable cooperation with Russia in the north. Our vision is to develop our neighbourly relations to the same level of openness and trust we enjoy with our Nordic neighbours.

The Norwegian Joint Headquarters has been moved to Bodø, and the focus of the Armed Forces’ resources and activities has been moved northwards. This is not a response to a military threat; rather it was a natural way of underscoring the responsibility Norway has in the north by virtue of its geographical location. In the time ahead, the armed forces will focus increasingly on their tasks in the north.

In the years ahead Norway will continue its long tradition of hosting Allied exercises in our territory, also in the north. It will also be natural to further develop cooperation between Norway and Russia in the military field and as regards fisheries control in the Barents Sea.

At the same time, the strategic picture is changing: the traditional climate of confrontation between East and West is giving way to greater cooperation with, and signs of interest from, more actors – North American, European and Asian. They are interested in new transport routes, access to resources and knowledge about climate change, the melting ice and changes in the marine environment.

Northern waters are becoming more accessible due to the melting ice and new transport and surveillance technology. There will be an increase in commercial activity in waters where there was previously scarcely any traffic, and we must be prepared for both desirable and undesirable traffic. There will be a greater need to maintain order in our northern sea areas and greater demands on the search and rescue capacity of coastal states.

It will continue to be important for Norway to ensure compliance with fundamental principles of international law and respect for the special rights and responsibilities of coastal states. The fact that the coastal states agree on the international rules is a good starting point. It will be important for Norway to further strengthen and consolidate this consensus internationally through its High North diplomacy.

The Government has used the catchphrase “High North – low tension” in developing its High North policy and presenting the main features of this policy internationally. During the Cold War, the High North was marked by the risk of confrontation between the major powers. Nonetheless, Norway and Russia were able to resolve practical problems in a pragmatic way. Close, pragmatic cooperation between Norway and Russia will continue to be an important priority in the years ahead.

Climate change, greater access to natural resources and growing human activity suggest that the High North will be a region of considerable geopolitical interest. The Government’s overall objective is to make use of the opportunities this offers, and at the same time manage the environment and natural resources sustainably, and maintain the High North as a peaceful and stable region. Norway will therefore continue to exercise sovereignty in a consistent and predictable manner in the years ahead, and will be a driving force for cooperation with other countries in a spirit of openness and trust.

2 Strategic priorities and results

Figure 2.1 Bridge between Sommarøy and Hillesøy in Troms.

Figure 2.1 Bridge between Sommarøy and Hillesøy in Troms.

Photo: iStockphoto.

2.1 Main objectives of the High North policy

The High North is Norway’s most important strategic foreign policy priority, as set out in the Government’s first and second policy platforms.

In Chapter 1 the Government outlined the main elements of the High North policy for the period 2011 to 2030.

The key policy objectives of Norway’s High North policy are:

  • to safeguard peace and stability and provide predictability;

  • to ensure an integrated, ecosystem-based management regime that safeguards biodiversity and provides a basis for sustainable use of resources;

  • to strengthen international cooperation and the international legal order;

  • to strengthen the basis for employment, value creation and welfare throughout the country by means of a regional and national effort in cooperation with partners from other countries and relevant indigenous groups.

The Government’s High North strategy can be summed up in three words: knowledge, activity and presence:1

Knowledge: The Government’s ambition is for Norway to be a leader in the field of knowledge in and about the High North. Knowledge is defined as being at the core of Norway’s High North policy.

Activity: The Government’s ambition is for Norway to be at the top of the league in key areas of economic activity and the best steward of the environment and natural resources in the north. This requires close cooperation between national, regional and local authorities, and businesses and relevant research communities.

Presence: The Government’s ambition is for Norway to have a presence in all parts of Norwegian territory and in Norwegian sea areas in the High North through policies to encourage settlement, value creation, nature management, employment and culture in North Norway, both by using civilian capacities and by maintaining a military presence.

2.2 Strategic priorities and results

In order to achieve the main objectives of its High North policy, the Government has identified a number of strategic priorities that can be summarised in 15 points. The following is an overview of the most important results achieved so far and the Government’s future priorities for each of the 15 areas.

1. The Government will seek to ensure that Norway is a leader in the field of knowledge in and about the High North

Results:

  • A considerable boost for climate and environmental research. The Fram Centre (High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment), based in Tromsø, is a leading international research hub that was opened in 2010. It consists of 19 institutions, including the Norwegian Polar Institute’s Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE). These institutions are cooperating on research in five priority areas involving about 500 scientists.

  • Substantial annual funding to close gaps in knowledge so that we can address challenges and take advantage of opportunities in the High North. The grant scheme Barents 2020 was established in 2006. From the first payments in 2007 and up to and including 2012, a total of NOK 303 million has been allocated to 56 projects.

  • A new polar research programme under the Research Council of Norway was established in 2011 with an allocation of NOK 45 million.

  • Norway played an active role in the establishment of the world’s largest ever polar research programme, the International Polar Year (IPY 2007–2008). The Storting allocated NOK 330 million to Norwegian efforts under IPY, including 27 Norwegian research projects and research cruises with the vessel G.O. Sars in the Southern Ocean.

  • Research projects on geopolitics in the High North and Asia’s role in the High North have been established under the Research Council, and are being supported via Barents 2020, with grants totalling NOK 28 million over a five-year period and NOK 15 million over a three-year period, respectively.

  • Closer educational and research cooperation with Russia, Canada and the US, including 196 High North grants awarded since the scheme was established in 2007.

  • Active follow-up of labour and trade associations and education and research institutions to build up knowledge about challenges and opportunities in the High North.

  • Strong North Norwegian networks have been established through closer cooperation between institutions in the region as part of Norway’s general policy for improving higher education and research.

  • Focus on research through the establishment of a system of regional research funds. In North Norway, projects on climate change adaptation, regional welfare and cross-border regional developments have been given priority.

  • Development of centres of expertise in Svalbard, including improvements to research infrastructure and capacity at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The Universities of Tromsø and Nordland increased the number of student places in 2009 and 2011.

  • International research activity in Svalbard has reached record levels. Ten nations have research stations in Ny-Ålesund, and almost half the students at UNIS are foreign nationals.

  • Norway has initiated the establishment of the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS), a unique system in which almost 20 countries are involved.

Future priorities:

  • Further develop the institutions involved in the Fram Centre in Tromsø so that they can maintain their position as internationally leading centres of expertise in climate and environmental research in the High North.

  • The Government intends to acquire a new ice-class research vessel based in Tromsø. More information about the timing of this acquisition will be given later.

  • Increase the involvement of research groups in North Norway by ensuring that at least 50% of grant funding through the Barents 2020 scheme goes to projects in which such research groups are included.

  • Initiate a survey of the performance of Norwegian knowledge institutions in education and research related to the High North, with a view to developing closer cooperation and coordination between them, and finding a sound division of responsibilities to ensure high quality and good use of resources.

  • Research and higher education will continue to be one of the pillars of Norwegian activity in Svalbard.

2. The Government will ensure that Norway exercises its sovereignty and authority in the High North in a credible, consistent and predictable manner

Results:

  • The focus of the armed forces has been shifted northwards: the Norwegian Joint Headquarters has been moved from Stavanger to Bodø, and the headquarters of the Coast Guard will be located in Sortland from 1 January 2012.

  • The Government has strengthened Norway’s capacity to exercise sovereignty and authority in the north by increasing operational activity.

  • Five new frigates have been purchased, improving Norway’s capacity in the vast sea areas in the north.

  • The Coast Guard’s fleet structure has been updated through the purchase of modern multi-purpose vessels. In particular, surveillance capacity and mobility have been improved, and will be improved further as NH-90 helicopters are phased in for use on helicopter-capable vessels.

  • Entered into an agreement on cooperation in the field of security, defence and preparedness with Iceland (2007), which encompasses cooperation on search and rescue services, civil emergency preparedness and defence activities.

  • Extensive contact has been established between Norwegian and Russian forces in the north. Joint Norwegian–Russian maritime exercises – the “Pomor exercises” – were carried out in 2010 and 2011.

Future priorities:

  • The helicopter base at Bardufoss will be further developed by concentrating helicopter capacity for maritime operations at the air station there.

  • Exercise activities in the north with allies and also with other important partner countries will be further developed.

  • The army is planning to expand its exercise activities in 2011 and 2012. Much of this activity will take place in the north.

  • The Coast Guard gives priority to the northern seas, and according to plan will dedicate almost 2 500 patrol days a year to these areas in 2011 and 2012.

  • The activity of the Coastal Squadron (frigates, Skjold-class corvettes, mine-clearance vessels, submarines) in the north is rising steadily as new vessels are phased in. Sailing time (days) is expected to double from 2008 to 2012.

  • The NH-90 helicopters will continue to be phased in.

  • In 2012, construction of the first of two new border stations for the border guards on the Norwegian–Russian border will be started.

  • Military cooperation with Russia will be further developed.

3. The Government will seek to ensure that Norway is the best steward of the environment and the natural resources in the High North

Results:

  • A management plan for the Norwegian Sea and an updated management plan for the marine environment of the Barents Sea–Lofoten area have been drawn up. The management plans have attracted international attention and are resulting in a greater focus on resource management in the High North.

  • Jan Mayen and its territorial waters have been protected as a nature reserve, and the Bjørnøya nature reserve has been extended to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit.

  • A prohibition on the use of heavy bunker oil by ships sailing in the protected areas in Svalbard has been introduced.

  • The new Act relating to the management of biological, geological and landscape diversity (the Nature Diversity Act) has been passed.

  • 53 000 km2 of the seabed has been mapped under the MAREANO programme in the Barents Sea–Lofoten management plan area.

  • The research initiative on the impacts of climate change on fish stocks, ecosystems and aquaculture has been continued, for example within the framework of a research programme under the Institute of Marine Research.

  • Efforts to build up knowledge on the management of wild living marine resources within the framework of broad-based cooperation programmes involving various institutions have been intensified.

  • A joint Norwegian–Russian environmental status report for the Barents Sea has been drawn up, and work has started on joint Norwegian–Russian environmental monitoring activities for the Barents Sea.

Future priorities:

  • Follow up national targets and international commitments related to the climate and environment, and continue to set high environmental and safety standards for commercial activities, based on the precautionary principle, the principle that cumulative environmental effects must be assessed, the provisions of the Nature Diversity Act on conservation and sustainable use, and the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act.

  • Continue to play a leading role in developing an integrated, ecosystem-based marine management regime, and encourage all countries with jurisdiction over sea areas adjacent to Norwegian areas to develop integrated management plans.

  • Work towards the inclusion of climate change adaptation as a key topic for the Arctic Council and other cooperation forums in the High North, and towards the development of Arctic climate change adaptation strategies.

  • Establish targeted global and regional cooperation to ensure protection of particularly vulnerable areas and species.

  • Take steps to reduce emissions of short-lived climate forcers in the High North.

  • Seek to ensure that knowledge about climate change in the High North is disseminated and is given priority in the international climate negotiations.

  • Strengthen cooperation with Russia on the marine environment with a view to establishing an integrated Norwegian–Russian monitoring programme for the Barents Sea.

  • Aim to complete mapping of the seabed in the Barents Sea–Lofoten area by 2020.

  • Cooperate with Finland on measures for sustainable fisheries and to rebuild the weak salmon stocks in the Tana river system.

4. The Government will improve monitoring, emergency preparedness and response and maritime safety systems in northern sea areas

Results:

  • A vessel traffic service centre was established in Vardø in 2010. This is a national centre of expertise on maritime safety, oil spill preparedness and response and monitoring.

  • Substantial strengthening of oil spill response capacity through systematic replacement of oil spill equipment since 2006.

  • Barents Online: the Norwegian National Coastal Administration is coordinating work on the maritime surveillance and information system BarentsWatch, which is designed to provide reliable services for both public and private users.

  • Norway has been at the forefront of efforts to draw up the first internationally binding agreement to be negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council – the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, which was signed at the ministerial meeting in Nuuk in May 2011. The agreement sets out the geographical area for which each country is responsible.

Future priorities:

  • The BarentsWatch public information portal will come into operation in 2012, and work on the closed system will be continued in close cooperation with government agencies that have operational responsibility at sea. The operation and development of the public information portal will be based in Tromsø.

  • Norway is at the forefront of efforts to develop binding rules for shipping in polar waters (the Polar Code) under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

  • Further development of oil spill preparedness and response.

  • Norway will promote closer regional cooperation on oil spill preparedness and response through the Arctic Council.

  • Improving maritime safety:

    • Start operation of the new meteorological radar at Gednje on the Varanger Peninsula.

    • The introduction of pilot services in Svalbard has been proposed.

  • Stronger presence:

    • Continue work on the acquisition of new rescue helicopters with a view to having them in place by 2020.

  • Strengthened capacity in Svalbard:

    • As of 2014, the Governor’s helicopter service is to have two large helicopters and better response time.2

  • High level of preparedness:

    • Continue efforts to improve maritime safety and emergency preparedness and response for acute pollution in the High North.

  • Better knowledge:

    • Continue charting activities based on priority needs for research and transport in the region, for example through the cooperation on Arctic nautical charting.

5. The Government will strengthen and further develop cooperation with Russia

Results:

  • After 40 years of negotiations, a historic agreement has been concluded with Russia on maritime delimitation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The clarification of the delimitation line is a milestone and opens up new opportunities for cooperation. Norway and Russia now have a land border from 1826 and a maritime boundary from 2011.

  • Trade has increased from NOK 13.6 billion in 2005 to NOK 17 billion in 2010.

  • Substantial increase in cross-border contact. The number of border crossings at Storskog has increased from around 8 000 in 1990 to 107 000 in

  • 2005, and is expected to be around 190 000 in 2011.

  • After a slow start, economic cooperation in the north has increased considerably: 40 Norwegian companies have now established operations in Murmansk.

  • An honorary consulate was re-established in Arkhangelsk in September 2010.

  • Norway’s diplomatic presence in Russia has been strengthened through a reallocation of resources in the Foreign Service.

  • An agreement has been negotiated on local border traffic permits that facilitate cross-border contact for those who live near the Norwegian–Russian border.

  • A strategic energy partnership has been developed on the basis of an extensive energy dialogue with Russia that includes follow-up of the delimitation agreement with regard to any offshore oil and gas discoveries that extend across the delimitation line.

  • Extensive contact has been established between Norwegian and Russian forces in the north. Joint Norwegian–Russian maritime exercises – the “Pomor exercises” – were carried out in 2010 and 2011.

  • Important steps have been taken to make things easier for businesses and individuals involved in cross-border cooperation with Russia, for example through the provision of work permits for unskilled labour and simpler visa procedures (the “Pomor visa”).

  • The Barents Secretariat’s cross-border projects (3 200 projects since 1993) have contributed to a considerable strengthening of people-to-people cooperation with Russia.

  • Norwegian–Russian cooperation in areas such as education, environment, health, fisheries management and business operations has been strengthened.

  • Support has been provided for Norwegian fisheries organisations’ cooperation and dialogue with their sister organisations in Russia.

  • Nuclear cooperation in northwestern Russia: Norway has contributed to the dismantlement of five decommissioned nuclear submarines, one of these together with the UK. All of the 180 radioactive power sources for lighthouses have been removed and replaced by solar panels.

  • Substantial increase in the number of Russian students in Norway – from 526 in 2005 to 1 175 in 2010.

  • The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science have signed an MoU on cooperation in the field of higher education.

  • Environmental cooperation with Russia has been strengthened in the areas of integrated marine management, biodiversity and environmental monitoring in the border areas, as well as responsible management of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances.

  • Broad cooperation has been established in the field of health, for example on infectious diseases, coordination of primary and specialist health services and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

  • Extensive cooperation has been established through the multilateral programme Children and Youth at Risk in the Barents Region (CYAR).

Future priorities:

  • The Government intends to build a new border station at Storskog in Sør-Varanger. More information about the timing of this will be provided at a later stage.

  • Capacity at the border control station at Storskog will be increased through immediate measures to be implemented during the winter 2011/2012. These include increasing the number of in-coming and out-going lanes and control booths, installing equipment for electronic passport control and language training. An increased police presence at Storskog in 2012 has been proposed.

  • The Government will review the visa application process with a view to further easing visa procedures for Russian citizens within the framework of the Schengen cooperation during the current parliamentary term.

  • The Government aims to implement the local border traffic regime in the first half of 2012.

  • The Government will continue its efforts to ensure that the major emissions from nickel production in the Pechenga region of the Kola Peninsula are eliminated.

  • The Government will follow up the many concrete proposals for cross-border cooperation set out in the joint declaration on cross-border cooperation3 and the work plan for strengthening Norwegian–Russian cross-border cooperation for the period 2011–2015.4

  • A strategy for business sector cooperation with Russia will be presented in 2012.

  • Efforts will be made to further increase labour mobility between Norway and Russia.

6. The Government will strengthen and further develop cooperation with the other Arctic countries and intensify dialogue with other partners who share our interests in the region

Results:

  • Through our High North diplomacy, Norway has helped to increase international attention on and understanding of developments in the north.

  • Norway has strengthened its position as a key player in the High North.

  • We have established extensive High North dialogues with the member states of the Arctic Council, and we have held dialogues with emphasis on energy with Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Italy.

  • We have started dialogues with certain Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea) on issues relating to the High North.

  • We have entered into a cooperation agreement with Iceland on High North-related research, and have established a three-year guest professorship at the University of Akureyri.

  • Norway maintains close contact with various EU bodies on developments in the High North.

  • We have signed a declaration on -cooperation with the Home Rule Government of Greenland (Naalakkersuisut).

Future priorities:

  • Help to shape the agenda and promote Norwegian views and interests in the High North and the Arctic.

  • Establish a coordination forum for the leaders of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark county councils and the President of the Sami Parliament to exchange information and facilitate the implementation of large-scale projects. This is to be led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

  • Continue existing dialogues with emphasis on developing concrete cooperation projects with other countries.

  • Enter into an agreement with the UK on closer cooperation on polar research and cultural heritage.

  • Intensify the dialogue with the countries and organisations that are seeking permanent observer status in the Arctic Council (China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, the European Commission).

  • Strengthen concrete cooperation with North Sweden and North Finland.

7. The Government will seek to strengthen cooperation in the Arctic Council and in regional forums such as the Barents Cooperation and the Northern Dimension

Results:

  • A permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council will be established in Tromsø by 2013. This will strengthen cooperation in the Arctic Council as well as Norway’s position in Arctic cooperation and policy development.

  • The first legally binding agreement between the member states of the Arctic Council has been entered into (the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement).

  • The Arctic Council’s global role has been strengthened through the establishment of criteria for the admission of permanent observers.

  • Partnerships in the areas of environment, health, transport and logistics, and culture have been established through the Northern Dimension (cooperation between the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia).

Future priorities:

  • Norway is to be a driving force in strengthening the Arctic Council and is to work for more binding cooperation on relevant areas between members and observers.

  • Negotiations on oil spill preparedness and response in Arctic areas. A report on the status of this work is to be presented at the Arctic Council’s ministerial meeting in 2013.

  • We will work for the admission of more countries as permanent observers to the Arctic Council.

  • The Barents Cooperation will be further developed through Norway’s chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in 2011–2013. The main priority is to promote the Barents region as a region for innovation and environmentally sound management of resources based on knowledge.

  • A new, updated political declaration is to be drawn up for the 20th anniversary of the Barents Cooperation in 2013 outlining our future cooperation.

  • We will promote closer coordination of and synergy between the various regional forums for cooperation.

  • We will seek to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of Arctic cooperation.

8. The Government will continue to promote implementation of the Law of the Sea and to further develop standards and legislation in relevant areas

Results:

  • Through its active High North diplomacy, Norway has contributed to the understanding of the fact that the Law of the Sea constitutes the overall legal framework for the Arctic Ocean.

  • At a meeting in Oslo in October 2007 between the five coastal states bordering the Arctic Ocean a common understanding was reached regarding the basic legal principles governing the Arctic.

  • Norway participated actively in the development of the Ilulissat Declaration (2008), which sets out that the five coastal states bordering the Arctic Ocean (Canada, Denmark, Russia, the US and Norway) recognise that the Law of the Sea provides the framework for national measures and cooperation in the Arctic Ocean, and that they remain committed to the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping claims.

  • Final clarification of the extent of our continental shelf. Norway is the first Arctic state to receive recommendations from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

  • The maritime delimitation treaty with Russia entered into force on 7 July 2011.

Future priorities:

  • The Government will continue to work for full implementation of the Law of the Sea and to help to increase respect and support for its principles through active diplomacy.

  • The Government will contribute to the development of binding requirements for shipping and maritime operations in Arctic waters through the establishment of the Polar Code under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

9. The Government will facilitate the further development of a sustainable fisheries and aquaculture industry in the High North

Results:

  • Large-scale illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) has been eliminated in the Barents Sea through successful cooperation with Russia. In 2009 and 2010, no IUU fishing of cod or haddock was registered.

  • A national strategy for marine bioprospecting was launched in 2009. The Government will promote innovative value creation through targeted work on marine bioprospecting,

  • The Government has been involved in the establishment of a breeding centre for cod, an aquaculture research station and fish health laboratory in the Tromsø area and a national centre for capture-based aquaculture at Nofima in Tromsø.

Future priorities:

  • Continue the close Norwegian–Russian cooperation on management of the fish stocks in the Barents Sea, and seek to develop cooperation with other countries and relevant organisations to improve the management regime further.

  • Encourage further restructuring and innovation in the seafood industry.

  • Facilitate growth of the aquaculture industry in North Norway within environmentally sustainable limits.

  • Enhance expertise in the seafood industry, and strengthen recruitment.

  • Implement the national strategy for marine bioprospecting.

  • Continue monitoring of contaminants in fish from the northern sea areas and farmed fish.

  • Continue the cod breeding programme run by Nofima.

10. The Government will facilitate the sound utilisation of the oil and gas resources in the High North

Results:

  • A record level of oil and gas activity has been reached in the north, and new areas have been opened up for exploration. The framework for petroleum activities is set out in the white paper on petroleum activities and the updated management plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area.

  • Geological surveys of the area west of the delimitation line between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea have been started.

  • The opening process and environmental impact assessment for the Jan Mayen area have been initiated. Seismic surveys have been started.

  • Survey of the suitability of ports in eastern Finnmark for a new oil terminal. Several ports have been assessed, but Kirkenes is the only existing port that meets the requirements.

Future priorities:

  • Facilitate expansion of oil and gas activities in the Norwegian part of the southern Barents Sea, among other things by initiating an impact assessment in accordance with the Petroleum Act, with a view to granting production licences for the previously disputed area west of the delimitation line in the southern part of the Barents Sea (south of 74°30’ N).

  • If this is justified by the conclusions of the impact assessment, the Government will present a white paper recommending that these areas should be opened for petroleum activity.

  • Build up knowledge about potential impacts of petroleum activities in the unopened parts of Nordland IV, V, VI, VII and Troms II and collect geological data on the unopened parts of Nordland IV.

  • Facilitate increased activity that will have spin-off effects in North Norway, including boosting employment and building up knowledge clusters.

  • Ensure that new discoveries result in maximum value creation for society and promote local and regional spin-off effects.

  • Promote the development of expertise and cooperation so that Norwegian companies can take part in the expected activity on areas of the continental shelf under other countries’ jurisdiction in the High North.

  • If major new discoveries are made, consider the potential for the profitable use of gas in onshore industries and look at how new infrastructure can be developed.

  • Play a part in the development of health, environment and safety standards for Arctic oil and gas activities.

11. The Government will facilitate safe maritime transport and maritime business activities in the High North

Results:

  • The Centre for High North Logistics (CHNL) has been established as an international knowledge hub for businesses, research institutions and authorities so that they can develop effective and sustainable logistics solutions for northern sea areas.

  • Concerted effort to boost maritime education in North Norway:

    • Maritime education programmes at the University of Tromsø and a number of North Norwegian technical colleges have been strengthened.

    • A professorchip in sustainable maritime transport has been established at the Department of Marine Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

  • A bachelor programme in international preparedness has been started at the Norwegian Fire Protection Training Institute, in cooperation with Narvik and Harstad University Colleges.

  • The Government’s maritime strategy has resulted in the allocation of substantial funding for the development of expertise on maritime activities in the High North.

Future priorities:

  • Northern marine and coastal areas are becoming increasingly accessible for shipping. The Government will establish a group of experts to examine how Norwegian interests can best be safeguarded in the light of this.

  • Norway will play an active role in the development of international rules, industry standards and knowledge and in information sharing to reduce the risk of accidents and acute pollution.

  • The Government’s maritime strategy and MARKOM2020, which is a cooperation project within higher maritime education, will be implemented.

  • Allocations for building up expertise will be continued.

12. The Government will promote onshore business development in the High North

Results:

  • We have ensured that the scheme for differentiated employers’ national insurance contributions can be continued in agreement with the EU.

  • We have initiated a survey of mineral resources in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark (by the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU)) with a view to possible industrial development and value creation.

  • Nordnorsk Reiseliv AS has been established to strengthen the profile of the tourism and travel industry and international marketing of North Norway.

  • Support has been provided for studies on the importance of the mineral industry for the High North and the potential for Nordic cooperation.

  • Support has been provided for the establishment of a professorship in economic geology at the University of Tromsø.

Future priorities:

  • We will facilitate increased value creation and human activity in the north while ensuring that environmental value and biodiversity are maintained.

  • The Government announced in a white paper on state ownership that it would put forward a proposal on the establishment of a number of new country-wide seed money funds. One of these will be established in North Norway.

  • We will facilitate the utilisation of mineral resources in the High North through the presentation of a strategy for the mineral industry in spring 2012.

  • The mineral sector will be one of the main priorities of the Norwegian chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in 2011–2013.

  • Continue the five-year programme (NGU) to survey mineral resources in the High North, 2011–2015.

  • Continue development of the knowledge base for incorporating environmental concerns into onshore business development.

  • Further develop business cooperation with Russia, between North Norway and neighbouring areas of Sweden and Finland, and with other countries within and outside the High North.

  • Continue efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among young people, giving priority to travel and tourism and Arctic technology.

  • Maintain focus on the travel and tourism industry in North Norway and Svalbard.

  • Promote further cooperation and coordination between actors in the travel and tourism industry, and support the development of Nordnorsk Reiseliv AS as a tool in this work.

13. The Government will further develop infrastructure in the High North, both independently and in cooperation with our neighbouring countries, with a view to supporting business development

Results:

  • Considerable increase in investment in new roads and maintenance of the road network in North Norway.

  • The project on infrastructure in the north, Ny infrastruktur i nord, has submitted its report and proposed a number of measures to improve infrastructure in the north. The report was commissioned in connection with the preparation of a new national transport plan for 2014–2023.

  • The space-related infrastructure has been further strengthened with the launch in 2010 of the first Norwegian satellite (AISSat-1), designed to receive AIS signals from ships.

  • The AIS satellite has improved surveillance of maritime activities in northern waters.

  • Norway has participated in the development of the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

Future priorities:

  • Follow up the National Transport Plan 2010–2019, which includes a number of projects of major strategic importance for the development of the High North.

  • Work to establish transport infrastructure between Norway and our neighbouring countries to link different parts of the Barents region more closely together.

  • Follow up proposals for concrete improvements to the transport infrastructure in the north in connection with the national transport plan for 2014–2023.

  • Further develop the electricity infrastructure in the north with a view to improving security of supply and meeting growing energy needs. This will be done both by upgrading the transmission grid between southern Norway and North Norway and through cooperation with our neighbouring countries.

  • Maintain focus on space-related activity in the High North.

  • Continue Norwegian participation in the development of the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

  • Clarify whether there is a commercial basis for upgrading the Ofoten iron ore railway line and an interest on the part of the mineral-based industry in other measures, and intensify cooperation with our neighbouring countries on the Ofoten Line.

14. The Government will seek to ensure that Norway’s High North policy continues to safeguard the culture and livelihood of indigenous peoples

Results:

  • Regular meetings have been held with the Sami Parliament (Sámediggi) on High North-related matters. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has regular half-yearly consultations with the Sami Parliament at political level.

  • Grant schemes have been introduced to enable representatives of indigenous peoples to participate and have a say in the regional political processes in the Arctic Council and the Barents Cooperation.

  • It has become established practice for the President of the Sami Parliament to deliver part of the Norwegian statement at ministerial meetings in the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

  • Norway and Russia signed a joint declaration in 2010 where the focus is inter alia on strengthening contacts between indigenous groups, revitalising and preserving indigenous peoples’ traditional culture and livelihoods and safeguarding their quality of life.

  • We have helped to ensure that Sami culture and indigenous culture are one of five focus areas in the three-year cultural cooperation programme between Norway and Russia for the period 2010–2012.

  • The Sami Science Centre in Kautokeino has been completed. We have implemented measures to strengthen tuition in the Sami languages and improve recruitment to Sami teacher training programmes.

  • A pilot project entitled Árbediehtu has been started at the Sami University College on documentation, preservation and use of traditional Sami knowledge.

  • We have provided support for a number of measures aimed at promoting the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people.

  • The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) has been established to strengthen international cooperation on reindeer husbandry in Arctic areas in cooperation with reindeer herders and their organisations.

  • The Centre for Northern Peoples opened in Kåfjord in Troms in 2011.

Future priorities:

  • Ensure that representatives of indigenous peoples’ organisations are given sufficient opportunity to participate in processes and decisions that affect indigenous peoples.

  • Intensify international cooperation on research on the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples’ livelihoods.

  • Ensure that business activities that affect indigenous peoples’ interests are carried out in a sustainable way, and that there is a close dialogue between the companies, authorities and indigenous people’s organisations concerned. Seek to ensure that increased industrial activity in indigenous peoples’ areas also creates jobs for the indigenous population.

  • Initiate a cross-border regional project to document traditional Sami knowledge in the Nordic countries and Russia.

  • Start developing ethical guidelines for economic activities in the north.

15. The Government will further develop cultural and people-to-people cooperation in the High North

Results:

  • The BarentsKult fund has been established to provide support for a large number of Norwegian–Russian cultural projects.

  • A large number of people-to-people projects have been supported by the Barents Secretariat.

  • Active support has been provided for various cultural festivals: the Northern Lights Festival and Tiff in Tromsø and Barents Spektakel in Kirkenes. Efforts are being made to strengthen these festivals’ international networks.

  • Support has been provided for voluntary initiatives with a view to fostering broad engagement and strengthening civil society in the region.

  • Through the Barents Euro-Arctic Council’s working group on youth policy cooperation, close cooperation has been established to promote and provide administrative and economic support for exchanges of groups of children and young people in the Barents region. Funding is also provided for other multilateral projects for children and young people.

Future priorities:

  • Support will continue to be provided for people-to-people projects through the Barents Secretariat.

  • Support will be provided for Russian civil society and environmental and human rights organisations, and for efforts to promote a free press. Support will also be provided for Norwegian–Russian trade union cooperation.

  • Greater emphasis will be given to measures to strengthen economic ties and growth with a view to strengthening the basis for employment and settlement.

  • Support for cultural projects in the Barents region will be continued.

Figure 2.2 Cod fishing, Røst.

Figure 2.2 Cod fishing, Røst.

Photo: Berit Roald / Scanpix.

3 An integrated High North policy

Figure 3.1 The Arctic Ocean.

Figure 3.1 The Arctic Ocean.

3.1 A targeted High North policy

The High North today is characterised by stability and cooperation. However, in the time ahead, significant climate change, a growing demand for natural resources and more intensive use of sea areas are expected in the region. The region is facing significant changes related to the climate, the growing demand for natural resources and increased use of the sea areas. In the Government’s view it is essential to maintain and intensify the close cooperation that exists in the region today and to continue to disseminate knowledge about developments in the region to the international community. This is being done, for example, through active High North diplomacy and cooperation aimed at putting Arctic issues on the agenda in important international processes.

The High North is home to abundant natural resources and offers considerable opportunities, but it is also vulnerable to many different environmental pressures. The Government’s aim is to facilitate close and inclusive cooperation with actors that wish to participate in developing the potential of the region. The Government will give higher priority to the value creation dimension in its High North policy. The main drivers of development of the region must be the interests and needs of the states in the High North and the people living there. The aim should be to promote sustainable social, cultural and economic development and respect for the environment and indigenous peoples’ interests and rights.

Both the general public and the business sector are strongly engaged in developing contact and cooperation in the Barents region. Regional authorities, indigenous peoples’ organisations and the Barents Secretariat play an important role in coordinating and furthering this cooperation. It is crucial that regional and local actors are actively involved in defining the objectives for the development and management of the High North and that they themselves devise policies and tools for realising the opportunities and meeting the challenges there.

In the Government’s view, it is particularly important to intensify cooperation between Norway’s three northernmost counties. However, a wider perspective is needed. In order to safeguard Norway’s interests in the High North, the entire nation’s knowledge, resources and experience must be mobilised. Restricting participation to groups and interests in North Norway would undermine Norway’s influence in the High North.

This is why the Government will seek to intensify cooperation between relevant knowledge institutions and business communities throughout Norway. It will also encourage closer cooperation with similar actors in other countries. A good example of this is the cooperation agreement concluded between Rogaland county and Murmansk oblast on sharing experience, developing policy, network building and business cooperation in the petroleum sector,5 which has also been signed by Finnmark and Troms counties.

There are close links between Norway’s High North policy and its policy in other areas. For example, Norway’s regional, transport, business, petroleum, environmental, fisheries and Sami policy – and policy in many other areas – are all vital for settlement, employment and value creation in North Norway. The High North perspective must also be integrated into policy development in other areas in order to ensure an integrated High North policy.

As described in the introduction, the present white paper focuses primarily on the foreign policy dimension, while other aspects of Norwegian policy in the High North are dealt with in other white papers. The most recent white paper on Svalbard (Report No. 30 (2008–2009) to the Storting) sets out the main features of the Government’s policy for the archipelago. The overall objectives of Norway’s Svalbard policy were established by the white paper and the subsequent Storting debate and recommendations (Recommendation S. No. 336 (2008-2009)). For example, all activity in Svalbard must be carried out in accordance with the ambitious environmental targets established for the archipelago.

The present white paper therefore deals with those aspects of Norway’s Svalbard policy that it is natural to discuss when taking a High North perspective, but within the framework of the overall objectives established as described above.

Table 3.1 Economic and social conditions in Arctic regions

Region

Total population

Population density

Indigenous peoples

Young people

Life expectancy

Education

Personal disposable income

Indigenous peoples as share of total population

Children aged 0–14 years as share of total population

Tertiary education graduates as share of total population

USD, corrected for purchasing power parity (PPP)

1000s

People/km2

%

%

Years

%

USD

2008

2008

2006

2006

2008

2006

2008

Alaska

688

0.46

13.1

21.5

77.1

24.7

40 031

Arctic Canada

108

0.03

67.5

29.1

75.8

15.4

31 535

Greenland and Faroe Islands

105

0.25

48.0

23.9

74.0

10.5

16 442

Iceland

319

3.18

-

21.8

81.3

23.5

22 367

North Norway

463

5.49

1.4

19.6

80.2

21.8

18 075

North Sweden

508

3.30

1.8

15.9

80.8

16.5

17 335

North Finland

652

4.36

0.2

18.8

78.7

22.1

16 532

Northern Russia

7 081

0.80

2.0

18.6

67.8

14.2

14 407

Total

9 925

0.67

3.8

19.0

71.0

16.2

17 108

Table 3.1, which is based on the work of Professor Ilmo Mäenpää of the University of Oulu, shows statistics for the Arctic regions of the five Nordic countries, the US, Canada and Russia.6 As indicated in the table, more than 70 % of the total Arctic population lives in Russia. However, the population density is highest in the three northernmost counties of Norway, followed by the northern regions of Finland and Sweden.

The Arctic regions of Canada clearly have the highest proportion of people of indigenous origin (more than two thirds)7. The percentage of children aged 0–14 years varies considerably from country to country, ranging from some 16 % in North Sweden to 29 % in Arctic Canada. Life expectancy at birth varies from 68 years in North Russia to 81 years in Iceland. The percentage of the population who have a university or college education may be used as an indicator of the level of educational attainment in the population. Alaska has the highest percentage of people with a higher education (almost 25 %), whereas Greenland and the Faroe Islands have the lowest (just over 10 %).

Figure 3.2 The population is growing in Svalbard as well.

Figure 3.2 The population is growing in Svalbard as well.

Photo: Mari Tefre

3.2 Geopolitics in the High North

The priority Norway is giving to the High North must also be seen in a geopolitical context. Actors such as Russia, the US, the EU and China have interests in the region and are attaching increasing importance to them. Norway must keep abreast of developments and take them into account in safeguarding its interests in the High North. The shifting balance between centres of power that do not always share the same values also has relevance for the High North.

The Arctic seas are still important in geopolitical terms in the strategic nuclear weapons policies of the US and Russia, in which US warning systems and the Russian Northern Fleet in particular have a central place. This means that the relations between the major powers in the High North and the strategic military significance of the Barents Sea for Russia continue to be important factors in Norwegian security policy.

The EU and key EU countries are showing increasing interest and engagement in the High North. This relates especially to research and environmental policy, but also to fisheries and fisheries resources, energy, maritime transport, climate change and industrial development, and creates both opportunities and challenges for Norway. However, as long as the fundamental rules in the High North and the existing division of responsibility between the actors are respected, as the European Commission has made plain that they are, increased activity on the part of the EU and other international actors is in Norway’s interests.

While the geopolitical centre of gravity is shifting eastwards, climate change is helping to shorten the travel distance to Asia via the Northeast Passage. Countries in North-East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea) make up a global power centre that is putting its mark on developments in the Arctic through political involvement and investments in business and technology combined with long-term research efforts and knowledge-building activities. It is important to maintain close dialogue with these countries in order to ensure that Norway is able to position itself as an agenda setter and to gain respect and understanding for Norwegian views and interests in the High North.

Although achieving rapid reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases is an overriding goal, fossil fuels will continue to be needed far into this century. It is believed that there are considerable energy resources in the High North. Whether or not it will be possible to exploit these resources will depend on their anticipated future price, technological developments, physical access to the resources, and environmental challenges. A number of countries have strategic interests in how the energy reserves in the Arctic are used in the years ahead.

The amount of food needed to feed the world’s ever-growing population will continue to increase. This means that access to sources of protein from the sea will be of crucial importance, which in turn underlines the importance of a sound fisheries management regime both at country level and between countries and of a clear understanding of the interactions between the extraction of energy resources, the development of new transport routes, and the fisheries. Some of the richest and best managed fish stocks in the world can be found in Arctic waters.

Cooperation between the Arctic states is good, and it is increasing. In recent years, Norway has taken a leading role in efforts to consolidate the existing legal order in the Arctic. Norway has been instrumental in strengthening cooperation between the five Arctic coastal states and between all eight members of the Arctic Council. There is widespread agreement that it is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that defines rights, responsibilities and obligations in the Arctic marine and coastal waters, and that the Arctic Council is the main forum for circumpolar cooperation.

The Government has focused strongly on putting across its message “High North – low tension”, and in its view international understanding of this perspective is clearly growing, both among the Arctic countries and in the wider international community. This concept is fundamental to Norway’s High North policy.

Although cooperation and low tension prevail in the region today, there is always a possibility that different countries and actors will have conflicting interests. Sound cooperation structures based on trust and openness and an understanding that any disputes will be solved peacefully in accordance with the Law of the Sea will reduce the potential for conflict.

3.3 Climate change: a warmer Arctic

Figure 3.3 The edge of the Austfonna ice cap, Svalbard.

Figure 3.3 The edge of the Austfonna ice cap, Svalbard.

Photo: Svein Wik / Scanpix

Over the last decades, temperatures in the Arctic have risen twice as fast as the global average. The annual mean temperature in the region is 2˚C higher than it was a hundred years ago. It is also possible to see changes in the Arctic weather systems and ocean currents, for example in the form of a stronger inflow of warm Pacific water through the Bering Strait.

This is causing rapid changes to the physical environment. The transition to an ice-free Arctic Ocean appears to be occurring much faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. The summer sea ice cover in the Arctic has been reduced by about a third compared with the average for the period 1979–2000. The ice thickness and the extent and duration of snow coverage on land have also decreased significantly. The temperature of the permafrost has risen by up to 2˚C, and the southern limit of permafrost in Russia and Canada has retreated 30–130 kilometres northwards.

Recent modelling results indicate that the Arctic seas could be almost ice-free during the summer in as little as 30 years, but there will continue to be wide variations from one year to another. The Greenland ice sheet and other ice sheets are expected to melt faster than they are doing today. The thawing of permafrost and reductions in snow coverage are also expected to continue, and ocean circulation and weather patterns will probably change considerably.

Reduced ice cover will improve conditions for shipping and give easier access to natural resources, which in turn may lay the foundation for new industrial activities. This makes it all the more important to regulate human activity, focusing on measures that reduce the risk of pollution and accidents. The Government will enhance search and rescue capacity and emergency preparedness and response for acute pollution (see Chapter 10). It is making this a priority both nationally and internationally, through the Arctic Council, in cooperation with Russia, and in international organisations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Global warming is one of several factors influencing ecosystems and living resources in the High North. The rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are also leading to ocean acidification. This could have a major impact on ecosystems, and it is anticipated that it will have consequences for fisheries and other commercial activities based on the harvesting of marine resources.

An increase in maritime traffic and more intensive resource use may put further pressure on ecosystems and species that are vulnerable to climate change. This increases the need for an integrated approach to managing the northern sea areas, based on the principle that cumulative environmental effects must be assessed. Climate change is therefore an important consideration in the further development of the management plans for Norwegian sea areas, and for cooperation with the other countries in the region on integrated marine management.

Climate processes involving snow, ice, permafrost and ocean circulation in the Arctic will also have a strong influence on how rapidly and in what way the climate changes globally. The reduction in snow and ice and cover in the Arctic intensifies both regional and global warming by increasing absorption of solar energy by the Earth’s surface. This is because areas that were previously covered by snow and ice, which reflect most of the solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, are replaced by open sea and bare ground. Such areas are darker, and reflect far less solar radiation. Furthermore, the warming of the Arctic can lead to a substantial increase in emissions of the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane from melting permafrost on land and on the seabed, and in the long run this may result in changes in global ocean circulation. More than 40 % of annual sea level rise globally is now due to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic glaciers. According to the latest report from the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment8 under the Arctic Council, the global sea level can be expected to rise between 0.9 and 1.6 metres above the 1990 level by 2100.

On the basis of the IPCC’s conclusions, the scale of the emissions cuts needed to avoid climate change having very serious impacts has been quantified (cf. the target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius). Norway is working towards a global climate agreement that is sufficiently ambitious to make achieving the two degrees Celsius target possible. In this context, Norway will undertake to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 30 % of its own 1990 emissions by 2020. According to the agreement on Norwegian climate policy reached by most of the political parties in 2008 (Recommendation No. 145 (2007–2008) to the Storting), a realistic target is to reduce Norwegian emissions by 15–17 million tonnes CO2 equivalents relative to the reference scenario presented in the 2007 National Budget, when CO2 uptake by forests is included. The targets set out in the agreement on Norwegian climate policy were based on mitigation analyses drawn up by the Climate and Pollution Agency (then called the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority), current policy instruments and sectoral climate action plans. At the same time, it was made clear that the sector targets were based on estimates, and would have to be reviewed in response to any changes in projections, costs, technological advances and other relevant factors. The Government intends to present a new white paper on its climate policy in 2012.

The climate studies coordinated by the Arctic Council are improving the knowledge base for the international climate negotiations and the scientific basis for the IPCC’s work. The 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and the 2011 SWIPA assessment are examples of groundbreaking research on the impacts of climate change in the Arctic, the retreat of the sea ice, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the reduction in permafrost and snow cover. Together with the other Arctic countries, Norway has a responsibility to disseminate knowledge and share its experience of developments in the Arctic in a credible and convincing way in the global climate negotiations.

The Norwegian Government is furthering knowledge about climate change in the Arctic and its global and regional impacts through national research initiatives at the Fram Centre in Tromsø and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen. The Government is also giving high priority to expanded regional cooperation on monitoring, research and the dissemination of information to decision-makers and the general public, for example through the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks process under the Arctic Council. Although the basic links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are well established scientifically, uncertainty remains as to how fast and in what way the climate will change, and as to the environmental and social impacts of climate change globally and regionally. The overall impacts of climate change may therefore turn out to be either more or less serious than current knowledge and models suggest. The Arctic is an important source of better and more reliable knowledge regarding these issues, and cooperation between the Arctic countries is crucial for obtaining a sound knowledge bases. The Government has therefore emphasised cooperation between the Arctic countries, for example within the framework of the Arctic Council.

The Government will continue to give priority to these initiatives, and views them as both a contribution from the Arctic countries to international efforts to address climate change and as a way of preparing for the changes that will occur in the region. In the Government’s view, this is an important area for cooperation in the Arctic Council and for other international cooperation in the High North. In this context, the Government will also focus attention on emissions of particulate matter and gases with a short atmospheric lifetime, such as soot (black carbon) and methane, which have a significant warming effect. Action to reduce these emissions could therefore help to limit temperature rise, also in the short term.

All those who live, work or are engaged in business activities in the High North will have to adapt to climate change. This will require sound social planning based on the best available knowledge on the probable impacts of climate change. With the NorACIA report on climate change in the Norwegian Arctic and the report Adapting to a Changing Climate from a government-appointed committee, the Government has made a good start on climate change adaptation at national level. The Government will address this topic in greater detail in the planned white paper on climate change adaptation.

The Government will work actively for the inclusion of climate change adaptation as a key topic for the Arctic Council and other cooperation forums in the High North. It will also promote the development and implementation of Arctic climate change adaptation strategies. The Government has taken the initiative for an overall assessment under the auspices of the Arctic Council of the combined impacts of climate change and other change in the Arctic, focusing on how to limit environmental damage and ensure the well-being of the people living in the High North.

3.4 Knowledge is at the core of our High North policy

Figure 3.4 Research cruise to Svalbard, 2010.

Figure 3.4 Research cruise to Svalbard, 2010.

Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

Norway has a greater proportion of its population and economic activities north of the Arctic Circle than any other country in the world. It therefore has a particularly pressing need for knowledge about the High North, and a responsibility to obtain such knowledge.

Both the Government’s High North Strategy (2006) and the report New Building Blocks in the North (2009) place knowledge at the core of Norway’s High North policy. For Norway to play a leading role in sustainable management and development of the High North, we must have broad-based expertise in and about the High North.

Since the launch of the High North Strategy in 2006, the Government has been promoting the generation of knowledge and expertise on the High North. According to the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, total private- and public-sector funding for High North research amounted to NOK 2.7 billion in 2009. A number of initiatives of importance to social development, value creation, management and foreign policy in the High North have been launched.

In 2010, the Fram Centre (Fram – High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment) was established in Tromsø as an umbrella organisation for cooperation between a number of research institutions. The Fram Centre is intended to be at the forefront of High North research internationally. It also aims to promote interdisciplinary research, higher education and the dissemination of information in the fields it covers. The Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems, which was opened in 2009 in Tromsø at the Norwegian Polar Institute, is one of the Fram Centre institutions. The Centre will make a significant contribution to research on questions relating to melting ice and snow. These issues are very important in international climate efforts.

Activities under the five flagship research programmes at the Fram Centre are well under way. The Centre encourages interdisciplinary research and close cooperation between the natural sciences, technology and the social sciences. The dissemination of research results and strengthening the links between recruitment, education and research are key elements of its activities.

Norway has also given strategic priority to the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, which is a national Centre of Excellence in Bergen. The Bjerknes Centre and the Fram Centre are cooperating to make use of their complementary expertise.

If Norway is to be at the forefront of knowledge and research on the climate and environment in the polar regions, access to an ice-class research vessel is crucial. A project organisation has been established, and cooperation agreements on running and managing a vessel of this kind have been concluded. According to the quality assurance procedures that have been carried out, the project is ripe for realisation, and the recommendations from the quality assurance process will be followed up.

On this basis, the Government has decided in principle that it intends to acquire a new ice-class research vessel based in Tromsø. More information about the timing of this acquisition will be given later.

The changes that are taking place in the High North are creating new opportunities for economic and social development. Knowledge is the key to realising the opportunities in the High North within an environmentally sound framework and to limiting the ecological footprint of economic activity in a vulnerable environment.

Better knowledge about the climate and environment is therefore of crucial importance for management, climate change adaptation and social planning in the High North, and will put Norway in a position to further improve the management of its sea and land areas in the region and the resources found there. Since Norway has direct access to Arctic sea and land areas, as well as the infrastructure required for conducting research in the High North and major research communities, it can make important contributions to international efforts to address climate change.

More interdisciplinary research and cooperation between natural scientists, technologists and social scientists is needed to address complex challenges. It is also essential to give priority to training and the development of expertise to support the research being undertaken.

There is growing international interest in the High North, also on the part of countries without land territory in the region. This is also resulting in greater interest in cooperation on research and higher education. International cooperation, makes it possible to tap into other countries’ knowledge and expertise, enhances knowledge about shared environmental problems, and helps to ensure high quality and good use of resources. Norway has internationally leading research communities in a number of fields that are important for developments in the High North, in particular in the fields of climate change, the environment and energy. Geographical and natural conditions in North Norway provide a good starting point for international cooperation. Svalbard is in an exceptional position due to its unique accessibility and research infrastructure.

Knowledge institutions and businesses throughout Norway are involved in our High North efforts. North Norway has a well-developed network of universities and university colleges, which together with a varied research institute sector plays an important role in developments in the High North. In 2011, North Norway gained its second university, the University of Nordland. However, research groups at several of the institutions in the region are still too small and vulnerable. In the Government’s view, closer cooperation and a clearer division of responsibilities between the various research and educational institutions is needed in order to ensure high-quality research and a critical mass of researchers. The Government has therefore allocated considerable funds in order to encourage closer cooperation between the institutions in the region, as part of Norway’s general policy for improving higher education and research. This includes cooperation on the range of courses offered, infrastructure and administrative services. A pilot project has been launched with a view to coordinating and strengthening the knowledge institutions and developing a social contract between the universities and university colleges in North Norway and workplaces and businesses in the region (see Chapter 13.1). This will serve as a framework for the work and roles of these institutions in regional knowledge development. The Government’s aim is for this to improve the quality and relevance of research, and lead to closer contact between knowledge institutions, society and the private sector. Higher quality and larger research groups will make the institutions more attractive for students and researchers from all over the world and as partners for knowledge institutions in other countries.

It is important to be able to provide relevant education and training to the sparse population in North Norway, in order to meet the region’s need for expertise. The Government will give priority to the institutions in North Norway when the national programme for supporting education and research, eCampus, is launched. The intention is to enhance the flexibility of the training programmes offered and improve access to higher education. The eCampus programme will develop Norway’s ICT infrastructure, and give universities and university colleges simple, user-friendly ICT tools for teaching, better ICT support for research, and greater opportunities for providing digital learning resources.

The Government has implemented various measures to strengthen tuition in the Sami languages and improve recruitment to Sami teacher training programmes. A national recruitment strategy for Sami higher education was launched in spring 2011. Moreover, a Sami teacher training region has been established, with the aim of improving teachers’ qualifications in the Southern Sami and Lule Sami languages. At the same time, the teacher training reforms safeguard Sami needs in a whole new way, and lay a better foundation for achieving equal access to education for the Sami minority.

A committee been appointed to report on Sami research and higher education in a broad regional, national and international perspective. The committee is chaired by Nils Butenschøn (University of Oslo), and it is to review how research and higher education can play a role in setting the agenda for and promoting Sami social development. The committee is to submit its recommendation on 31 December 2011.

Figure 3.5 The Fram Centre, Tromsø.

Figure 3.5 The Fram Centre, Tromsø.

Photo: Ann Kristin Balto, Norwegian Polar Institute

The Government intends to improve knowledge about environmental and climate-related challenges in the High North and opportunities for development by placing greater emphasis on research that is relevant to the region, for example through the Research Council of Norway. This includes research on the development of sustainable local communities and industries in the region, and on Norwegian and international High North policies.

This will strengthen knowledge-based management of the High North and provide a better knowledge base for the private sector, which it needs in order to optimise its activities.

In 2009, a system of regional research funds was established. In 2011, North Norway received around NOK 32 million, and projects on climate change adaptation, regional welfare and cross-border regional developments have been given priority. The Research Initiative for Northern Norway (NORDSATSING) is also intended to strengthen and further develop research capabilities in North Norway, particularly in the fields of Arctic technology and tourism.

Much of what we consider to be knowledge relating to the High North concerns topics that are cross-border in nature, such as climate change, the environment, marine and polar research, and issues relating to indigenous peoples. It goes without saying that international cooperation is essential in fields such as these. Our cooperation with Russia, and also with Canada and the US, stands out. Norway has entered into a cooperation agreement with Russia on higher education, and the first meeting in the joint working group was held in spring 2011. A revised strategy for higher education cooperation with the US and Canada was launched in autumn 2011. The High North Fellowship Programme promotes cross-national cooperation and mobility between educational institutions in Norway, Russia, the US and Canada. Cooperation with the other circumpolar countries, the members of the Arctic Council, key EU countries and large countries that have an active presence on Svalbard is also very important. The University of the Arctic is a network of higher education institutions in the circumpolar countries, which is partly financed by grant schemes and funding for developing joint study programmes. The Government intends to strengthen international cooperation on research and higher education in the High North. This covers both bilateral cooperation, for example with Russia, and multilateral cooperation, not least with other European countries through the EU’s framework programmes for research.

Research and higher education is and will continue to be one of the pillars of Norway’s activity in Svalbard. Capacity at the University Centre in Svalbard has been increased in recent years, and in both 2009 and 2011 funds were allocated for 20 new student places at the Centre. Research infrastructure is an essential basis for research and knowledge development in the High North. Svalbard provides unique opportunities for observing the effects of climate change where they are most apparent, and where the natural environment is most vulnerable to rapid change. Moreover, the archipelago already has a well-developed infrastructure for observation, research and teaching and a broad international research community, based mainly in Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund. The SvalSat satellite station at Platåberget in Longyearbyen is the only satellite station in the world that is close enough to one of the poles to receive data from all satellites in polar orbits.

The geodetic observatory in Ny-Ålesund is an important northern node in a global network. From here, movements of the Earth’s surface, the Earth’s rotational velocity and its exact position in space are monitored. These measurements provide a basis for locating and surveying satellite orbits and thereby improving the accuracy of all satellite-based activities. This in turn has an impact on the quality of the data we obtain and the accuracy we achieve in areas such as satellite-based communication, Earth observation, climate research and monitoring. International cooperation on activities at the observatory will be continued, including measurements relating to global climate change, sea levels and movements of the Earth’s surface.

There is considerable international activity in Svalbard: ten countries currently have research stations in Ny-Ålesund, half of the students at the University Centre in Svalbard are foreign nationals, and almost 20 countries are participating in the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) project, which was initiated by Norway (see box 3.1).

Textbox 3.1 Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS)

By improving the organisation of research, providing easier access to observations and research data from Svalbard and facilitating the shared use of such data, Norway will be able to offer the world’s research communities a valuable resource. This was the rationale behind Norway’s decision to launch the SIOS research infrastructure project. SIOS is listed in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures Roadmap as one of the pan-European projects that should be established as quickly as possible. The project, which is led by the Research Council of Norway, has received funding from the European Commission for its three-year preparatory phase. The main aim of SIOS is to have an optimised observational infrastructure which can match advanced Earth System models with observational evidence and provide near-real-time information on Arctic change to relevant stakeholders. By promoting research cooperation and the sharing of data, the project will increase the value of research activities, and reduce the risk of overlap and unnecessary environmental pressure in Svalbard. SIOS will include upgrading of infrastructure, a limited number of new observation platforms, and a new Knowledge Centre in Longyearbyen. It will also strengthen Svalbard’s role as an international research platform. SIOS is mentioned in New Building Blocks in the North, and it is a priority project for the Government. It is intended to be operational by the end of 2013.

The research communities in the High North have made important scientific progress, but they are to a large extent dependent on public financing. This is partly because few knowledge-intensive businesses are involved in research cooperation. In the Government’s view, steps should be taken to build up a more knowledge-based business sector in the High North. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 13.1.

In the Government’s view, an increasing share of the funding for research in North Norway should be obtained through competition in national and international arenas. This is important for ensuring that we have strong research communities that carry out high-quality, relevant research.

Knowledge hubs

It is important to make the most of the comparative advantages of various knowledge institutions through the special expertise they have acquired, whether as a result of their geographical location, specialisation, or infrastructure they have built up. Kirkenes occupies a unique position in Norway’s cross-border cooperation with Russia. The international Barents Secretariat and the Barents Institute are based there, as is the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, which organises a wide range of activities and extensive project cooperation with Russia. The Government wishes to strengthen the position of Kirkenes as a base for regional cooperation and regional knowledge about Russia. The focus is on further developing people-to-people cooperation in the Barents region in a number of areas, including culture, health, sport and youth exchange programmes. The annual Kirkenes conference and cultural festival Barents Spektakel are examples of the strong engagement that exists and the breadth of cross-border cooperation.

The University of Tromsø is a leading institution as regards issues relating to the High North. With around 500 researchers focusing on polar issues, climate change and the environment, Tromsø has become a centre for Arctic issues, both in Norway and internationally. Around 800 of the University’s 9 000 students are foreign nationals. The establishment of the ICE Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems and the Fram Centre shows how important the Government considers Tromsø to be as a centre for knowledge and research. The fact that the Arctic Council’s permanent Secretariat will be located in Tromsø further consolidates the city’s position as an Arctic powerhouse.

The University of Nordland has strong research groups in the social sciences, business, and marine biosciences. It has become a leading institution with regard to cooperation with universities and the private sector in Russia. The establishment of the High North Center in 2007 has resulted in further development of expertise and cooperation with Russia in various fields – energy, trade, fisheries, tourism and other sectors. The Government intends to strengthen Bodø as a centre for the development of knowledge on business opportunities in the High North, in particular in the context of cooperation with Russian centres of expertise and business. The University of Nordland is developing its cooperation with the MGIMO University in Moscow in the area of energy management, for example through the Norwegian and Russian Education and Research Consortium for International Business Development in the Energy Sector (NAREC). The University of Nordland is also responsible for the research project Northern InSights, which is intended to contribute to value creation in the tourism industry. Many tourism companies in North Norway are participating in the project, along with the Nordland Research Institute, Harstad University College, the University of Tromsø, Bioforsk Nord and the Northern Research Institute (Norut) Alta. Finnmark University College also has considerable expertise in education and research relating to the tourism industry.

Another important priority area is cold climate technology. Through the NORDSATSING initiative, the Government has been involved in the establishment of a competence centre in Narvik for cold climate operations and infrastructure. In general terms, cold climate technology covers most aspects of construction, operations and living in the Arctic region. The ColdTech sustainable cold climate technology project focuses on developing cooperation between industrial partners and research and educational institutions. Research groups in Narvik and Alta are taking part, along with DNV, Statoil and the SINTEF Group. Thus, Norway’s top experts are joining forces to address challenges in the High North.

If we are to succeed in the High North, we must draw on experience and special expertise from knowledge institutions throughout Norway. Geographical proximity to the region is not enough in itself. The emergence of industries and knowledge institutions throughout the country has resulted in a regional division of labour, where different regions have capitalised on their comparative advantages to establish new activities. The momentum in the petroleum industry is strongest in the Stavanger region, while the Bergen region has special expertise in the areas of operations and maintenance and marine research. In the Kongsberg/Asker region, there is underwater technology expertise. Eastern Norway and the regions of Sunnmøre and Sunnhordland in Western Norway are known for their shipowners and shipbuilding, while Southern Norway has the business cluster Norwegian Offshore & Drilling Engineering (NODE). All of these expert communities are important for the further development of the High North. The strong technology community in Trondheim will also participate actively in building up knowledge on and for the High North.

3.5 The indigenous dimension of Norway’s High North policy

Figure 3.6 A Norwegian Sami with two Nenets on the tundra near Narjan-Mar in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which is the northernmost part of the Barents region.

Figure 3.6 A Norwegian Sami with two Nenets on the tundra near Narjan-Mar in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which is the northernmost part of the Barents region.

Photo: BarentsObserver

The indigenous dimension is a central part of the Government’s High North Strategy. Norway’s High North policy is intended to play a role in safeguarding and developing indigenous peoples’ languages, cultures, livelihoods, traditions and societies in the High North. Increasing internationalisation, expanding business activities and growing exploitation of natural resources create new opportunities, but also put more pressure on the cultures and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. It is vital that the rights of indigenous peoples are safeguarded in the utilisation and management of natural resources and the environment in the High North. Integrated resource management includes protection of the basis for indigenous peoples’ livelihoods, languages, culture, traditional knowledge and reindeer husbandry areas, as well as protection of the coastal environment and of traditional sea-water and salmon fisheries. The Government will seek to develop ethical guidelines that make sure that indigenous peoples’ interests are taken into account when economic activities are carried out in the High North, in accordance with the current state of Norwegian law.9

The Government will facilitate participation by indigenous peoples in planning, decision-making, management, monitoring and research, so that they are able to take advantage of the opportunities the future development of the High North may provide. It is essential that positive developments in the High North are also experienced as positive by the indigenous peoples affected by them. The Government attaches importance to cross-border indigenous projects focusing on languages, traditional knowledge, the development of cultural industries, capacity and competence-building in Sami institutions and organisations, research, dissemination and cultural exchange. It is also natural for the Sami people to be involved in the wider, cross-border people-to-people and cultural cooperation in the High North. This includes projects for children and young people, and cooperation in the areas of health, sport, voluntary activities, languages, culture, film and other forms of cultural expression, for example festivals.

The Government holds regular meetings with the Sami Parliament (Sámediggi) on matters related to the High North. Indigenous issues are a key area of cooperation within the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Northern Dimension, and in the bilateral High North dialogues with countries such as Russia and Canada. The joint declaration on cross-border cooperation between Norway and Russia (2010) has been followed up with a joint work plan (2011) including specific cross-border indigenous projects.

Indigenous peoples have valuable knowledge about nature, the environment and traditional practices. They are stewards of cultural values and have specialised knowledge of ways of making a living under marginal conditions in subarctic conditions. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) shows that the temperature is rising faster in the Arctic than previously thought, and indigenous communities are those that will be affected first, and most severely. New challenges for reindeer husbandry, agriculture and sea-water and inland fisheries in Sami areas may arise as a result of global climate change. Many of the challenges facing reindeer husbandry are common to all the Arctic countries. In the light of this, and in order to strengthen international reindeer husbandry cooperation in the Arctic, the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry was established in Kautokeino.

Research and knowledge development will make it possible to develop climate change adaptation strategies based on the traditional knowledge of the Sami and other indigenous peoples. Sami institutions and organisations have broad contact networks and extensive experience of international and cross-border cooperation, which are of great value for promoting the interests of indigenous societies in the High North. One of the purposes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Barents 2020 grant scheme (see Chapter 4.2) is to create new arenas for cooperation on knowledge generation between Norwegian and foreign centres of knowledge, business interests and public bodies. The scheme is also relevant to Sami interests.

4 Instruments of Norway’s High North policy

Figure 4.1 Artscape Nordland, Leirfjord. “Omkring” (Around) by Waltercio Caldas (Brazil).

Figure 4.1 Artscape Nordland, Leirfjord. “Omkring” (Around) by Waltercio Caldas (Brazil).

Photo: Guri Dahl / tinagent.com

4.1 The High North Strategy and New Building Blocks in the North

The Government presented its High North Strategy on 1 December 2006. This document provided a summary of the Government’s ambitions in the High North. In March 2009 the strategy was further developed in the report New Building Blocks in the North – the next step in the Government’s High North Strategy.10 This identified specific action points for the implementation of a number of strategic projects over a 10–15 year period. The priority given to the various action points and the order and speed of their implementation are considered on an ongoing basis, and are described in the Government’s annual budget proposals to the Storting. Efforts in this area are adapted to activity in the Government’s other priority areas, and to the economic situation in each budget year.

Over the past few years the Government has proposed allocations for High North-related projects totalling more than NOK 1 billion per year. However, the overall amount of public funding that goes to the northern parts of Norway is far higher. It is almost impossible to calculate the overall amount of public funds used broken down by geographical area. The identification of a series of priority areas in the High North is intended to enhance knowledge and activity in strategic areas. The considerable increase in funding for projects in the High North in recent years has led to significant activity in many of these areas.

4.2 Policy instruments for the High North

Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ grant schemes

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ grant funding for the High North and cooperation with Russia has also increased in recent years and in 2011 amounted to approximately NOK 348 million. These funds are used strategically to achieve the goals set out in the High North policy and for the realisation of relevant projects.

Figure 4.2 

Figure 4.2

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ annual budget proposals

Barents 2020

The grant scheme Barents 2020 was established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget in 2006. Its purpose was to make financial resources available that could be used to fill gaps in our knowledge and bring about cooperation across sectors in the High North. Barents 2020 has proven to be a flexible and effective tool for providing rapid support to initiatives in which private actors participate to supplement public funding (public-private partnerships). Most of the projects fall within four categories: research and higher education, social science research, natural scienceresearch and projects outlined in the Barents 2020 report.11

The Government is seeking to increase the involvement of research groups in North Norway by ensuring that at least 50 % of grant funding through the Barents 2020 scheme goes to projects in which research groups in North Norway are included.

Figure 4.3 DNV and Gazprom led the Norwegian-Russian Barents 2020 project on the harmonisation of health, safety and environment standards for petroleum activities in the Barents Sea.

Figure 4.3 DNV and Gazprom led the Norwegian-Russian Barents 2020 project on the harmonisation of health, safety and environment standards for petroleum activities in the Barents Sea.

Photo: Graham Davies

Research and higher education: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given priority to providing funding for guest professorships and study grants. The High North grants, which are designed to boost exchange and cooperation between educational institutions in Norway and similar institutions in Russia, the US and Canada, fall into this category. Students from the partner countries are awarded grants to participate in study programmes relevant to the High North at higher education institutions in North Norway. The grant scheme was launched in 2007 and is now in its second three-year period (2010–13). In this second period, funding is also being provided for travel grants for teaching staff at educational institutions in North Norway. The grant scheme is administered by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education.

In 2009, funds were set aside through a public-private partnership for the establishment of several guest professorships at Norwegian knowledge institutions. The position of Finnmark University College as a centre for research and expertise in the field of Arctic tourism has been strengthened by the establishment of a three-year circumpolar research project focusing on destination development, networking and working methods in Arctic tourist destinations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provided funding for the establishment of the Barents Remote Sensing School, a research school in Earth observation and remote sensing at the University of Tromsø. In addition, the Ministry has contributed funding for the establishment of a centre for research on climate change and health with particular emphasis on the health impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups in the circumpolar areas, also at the University of Tromsø.

Funding has been provided for the establishment of a joint German-Norwegian professorship at the University of Stavanger in the field of energy in the High North. Support has also been provided for the establishment of a joint masters degree programme in petroleum technology by the University of Stavanger and the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. In cooperation with the Fulbright Program, a scheme has been set up to promote the exchange of Norwegian and US researchers from the University Centre in Svalbard, other Norwegian universities affiliated to University Centre in Svalbard and US universities in fields related to the High North, in particular through the establishment of a Fulbright Arctic Chair whose focus is on climate change. The purpose of the scheme is to enhance knowledge of the High North, raise Svalbard’s profile as a platform for international research and promote the internationalisation of higher education and research.

Social science research: A Research Institution-based Strategic Project, GeoPolitics in the High North (GEOPOLITIKK-NORD) (see Box 4.1), has been established. The primary objective of the project is to generate new knowledge on foreign policy issues related to the High North and to strengthen Norwegian research groups working in the field. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides funding for a project on Asian perspectives on the High North. This was prompted by the growing interest in the High North and the Arctic shown by Asian actors. The Norwegian authorities, the Norwegian business sector and the research community will benefit from gaining a better understanding of and from keeping themselves up to date on the drivers and reasons for the increased Asian interest in the High North.

Through the Research Council of Norway, the Ministry provides funding for a social science research programme, Russia and the High North/Arctic (NORRUSS), whose primary objective is to generate knowledge on Russian society, politics and industry and international relations in the High North.

Textbox 4.1 Barents 2020: GEOPOLITIKK-NORD

The GEOPOLITIKK-NORD project is an international, Norwegian-led research project involving cooperation between a number of leading Norwegian and international institutions. The focus of the project is on international relations in the High North in the light of climate change and increasing economic activity. Studies of key actors – the US, Russia and the EU – and their interests in the region, as well as the implications of their policies for Norway are a key component of the project. Analyses of the various actors’ policies and interests, including international legal issues, governance, energy, climate issues and the environment serve to enhance our understanding of the geopolitical significance of the High North, with a particular focus on the present situation and future scenarios. The GEOPOLITIKK-NORD project generates research-based and politically relevant knowledge about the High North for use in the academic and public debate in the form of written publications and through international conferences, seminars and the project’s website www.geopoliticsnorth.org. The project is running from 2008 to 2012 and is headed by the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. The international partners are the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin and the MGIMO University in Moscow. The University of Oslo, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the University of Tromsø are active partners in the project and a number of other research groups whose affiliation to the project is weaker also participate. The GEOPOLITIKK-NORD project is funded by the Research Council of Norway under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Barents 2020 grant scheme.

Natural science research: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports projects in the natural sciences of relevance to the High North, in cooperation with other relevant ministries. The Nofima research institute has received funding under the Barents 2020 scheme. The Research Council of Norway has provided support for research in the field of marine bioprospecting, also with funds allocated under the Barents 2020 scheme, as follow-up to the 2009 national strategy for marine bioprospecting. In addition, funds have been earmarked to scale up research and analytical capacity in the field of Earth observation. This field is particularly relevant to the High North and for use in areas such as climate monitoring, mapping of land use and resources, pollution from the petroleum industry and maritime transport, monitoring and sustainable management of the polar regions and monitoring of threats to the environment. In cooperation with the Research Council of Norway, funding has also been allocated to research on ecosystem change in the Barents Sea as a result of climate change and on subsequent adaptation measures in the management models. This research is conducted primarily at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides funding to the Fram Centre (High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment) in Tromsø for the promotion of international research cooperation.

The Barents 2020 scheme co-finances the Norwegian and Russian Education and Research Consortium for International Business Development in the Energy Sector (NAREC), which seeks to strengthen cooperation between Norwegian and Russian educational institutions and research groups in order to promote business development in the energy sector. The project is being carried out under the auspices of the High North Center at the University of Nordland and the MGIMO University in Moscow in cooperation with a number of industrial partners. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provided funding for a review of the potential for industrial value creation based on geological resources in the High North (GeoNor), drawn up by the SINTEF Group, the Northern Research Institute (Norut), the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) with input from industrial actors (for more details see Box 13.3).

Follow-up of the Barents 2020 report: This includes a project led by DNV on the harmonisation of health, safety and environment standards for Norwegian and Russian petroleum activities in the Barents Sea. The project has generated considerable interest and serves as a reference for other similar projects that seek to strengthen efforts on health and environmental standards in the High North, based on close public-private cooperation.

Barents 2020 is an important seed money scheme for initiating projects and initiatives for which other ministries have primary responsibility. This applies for example to the integrated maritime surveillance and information system BarentsWatch (see Box 10.1) and the research infrastructure project Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS).

Other grant schemes

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also allocates funding under three other grant schemes designed to further its High North policy. These grant schemes for project cooperation with Russia, cooperation on nuclear safety and Arctic cooperation respectively are key funding schemes for Norway’s High North efforts. In 2011, a total of NOK 348 million in funding was available under Barents 2020 and these three grant schemes combined.

Textbox 4.2 Norwegian-Russian research and knowledge cooperation

In 2011 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a new five-year agreement with the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education designed to strengthen Norwegian-Russian cooperation on knowledge development in priority areas such as petroleum, energy, the sustainable use of resources, business development, the humanities and social sciences. The aim is to facilitate Norwegian-Russian cooperation on addressing the common challenges facing the two countries, as these are described in the Government’s High North policy. The agreement has a budgetary framework of NOK 45 million. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also entering into a new agreement with the Research Council of Norway, whose overall objective will be to generate knowledge on political, economic and social developments in Russia and to develop long-term strategic expertise on Russia in Norway. The agreement will have a budgetary framework of NOK 45 million. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also seeking to sign an agreement with the Research Council on research more specifically related to the High North, which will provide for NOK 45 million in funding under the Barents 2020 scheme.

The grant scheme for project cooperation with Russia was launched at the beginning of the 1990s to promote Norwegian-Russian cooperation. The scheme has played an important part in promoting people-to-people contacts and contacts between centres of expertise and regional actors in the Barents region. The priority areas are environmental protection, energy, business development, health, education, research and the promotion of democracy. Some 70 % of the funding is administered by external bodies. This enables the Ministry to benefit from the expertise of external actors.

The Norwegian Barents Secretariat allocates funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Norwegian-Russian project cooperation on an annual basis. The purpose of the projects is to strengthen ties between people in the north.

Since 1993 the Norwegian Barents Secretariat has provided a total of approximately NOK 380 million in funding and has supported some 3 200 joint Norwegian-Russian projects.

The grant scheme for Arctic cooperation was established as a separate budget item during Norway’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2006–09). The scheme plays a crucial role in ensuring that Norway is a driving force in efforts to develop knowledge and formulate policy on the Arctic. Funding allocated under the scheme includes support to cover the running costs of the temporary secretariat for the Arctic Council in Tromsø, funding for the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment and projects in the field of environmental monitoring. The aim of the funding is to raise Norway’s profile as a polar nation and to promote Norwegian priorities, such as environmental protection and sustainable development, in Arctic cooperation.

The Government’s plan of action for nuclear safety and the environment was first drawn up in the 1990s to follow up challenges related to nuclear installations and nuclear material in northwestern Russia. A number of important measures have been implemented, including the removal of radioactive power sources from lighthouses along the coasts of the Barents Sea and the White Sea. The County Governor of Finnmark and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ most important partners in the region. Other priority areas for cooperation will be the removal of spent nuclear fuel from Andreyev Bay, measures related to safety and emergency preparedness at the Kola and Leningrad nuclear power plants and environmental monitoring. The G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction provides an important framework for the cooperation.

Public funding agencies at national and regional level

Traditionally, the focus of Norway’s High North efforts has been on Norwegian sea and continental shelf areas. These will continue to be key areas of Norway’s High North policy. At the same time the Government emphasises the fact that knowledge development and value creation on shore are an integral part of the policy.

The counties play a key role in promoting regional social and business development. Their efforts are coordinated with the activities of the national public funding agencies, such as Innovation Norway, the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway and the Research Council of Norway. The Industrial Development Corporation of Norway seeks to enhance innovation and business development through investment in infrastructure and the development of dynamic regional centres of innovation and value creation across the country. Innovation Norway provides products and services intended to promote innovation in business and industry nationwide, foster regional development and profile Norwegian industry and Norway as a tourist destination. Among other things, it administers an investment fund for northwestern Russia and a grant fund for economic cooperation with northwestern Russia.

In addition, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development can provide funding through the public funding agencies for activities in areas where coordination between counties is appropriate and for thematic projects in North Norway. The Ministry of Education and Research also provides funding through the regional research funds and through instruments related to the High North under the Research Council of Norway and the universities and university colleges.

The Government will focus its efforts on those areas where Norway and the various regions of Norway have particular advantages and are well-placed to succeed. The Government is seeking to facilitate changes in industrial structure both through its general business policy and through local initiatives. The establishment of a network of industrial clusters is one of several means of enhancing the competitiveness of North Norway. In a regional project on promoting a knowledge-based North Norway – a joint project between the University of Tromsø, the Northern Research Institute (Norut), the University of Nordland and Menon Business Economics – extensive research is being carried out to improve our understanding of how business clusters are developed in the region and the role the public sector can play to promote the formation of these clusters.

An action zone for Finnmark and northern Troms was established in 1990 in response to the negative population and business development trends. The Government considers it important to develop the action zone into an attractive region for settlement, work and business activities. A review of the action zone is underway to chart the effects of the scheme and the relevance of the policy instruments and to determine whether there is a need for adjustments or new measures that can improve the scheme’s effectiveness. The review is due to be completed by the beginning of 2012.

4.3 International dialogue

Figure 4.4 During the High North Study Tour in 2009 the participants visited the EISCAT facility near Longyearbyen. Hu Zhengyue, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Shang Zhen, Second Secretary, Chinese Ministry of Fo...

Figure 4.4 During the High North Study Tour in 2009 the participants visited the EISCAT facility near Longyearbyen. Hu Zhengyue, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Shang Zhen, Second Secretary, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Photo: Line Aune, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Government’s aim is for Norway to play a role in shaping and influencing the international agenda in the High North. For this reason, conducting strategic dialogues with selected states on issues related to the High North is a key component of Norway’s High North policy.

The previous white paper on the High North, Opportunities and Challenges in the North (Report No. 30 (2004–2005) to the Storting) called for the promotion of Norwegian views on the High North vis-à-vis key countries and organisations. This has been followed up through Norway’s active High North diplomacy. Since 2004 dialogues on the High North have been initiated with a number of countries.

In 2004 the High North was not a prominent feature of the political agenda in most countries. There was therefore a great need both to provide information about developments in the High North and to promote Norwegian views as to how the new challenges and opportunities in the High North should be met.

The High North dialogues are important for Norway for several reasons. Norway is seeking to:

  • shape the agenda in the High North and position itself as a major player;

  • gain respect and understanding for its views and interests in the High North;

  • develop concrete cooperation projects with other countries;

  • encourage other countries to allocate more resources and direct more attention to the High North.

Through dialogue with other countries Norway is seeking to make its mark on the international political agenda in the High North. The dialogues focus increasingly on developments in the Arctic. We are seeking to convey a message of cooperation in the Arctic, a region where we share a common interest in preserving peace, stability and predictability. We wish to counter the idea that there is a race for the Arctic and to highlight the fact that the Arctic is an area regulated by international law where the necessary treaties are in place to enable us to meet current and future challenges. Through the dialogues and through relevant cooperation projects, we are seeking to demonstrate Norway’s full commitment to promoting environmentally sound, sustainable management of renewable and non-renewable resources throughout the region, at the same time as maintaining respect for the livelihoods of indigenous peoples.

The High North dialogues are tailored to focus on the issues that are most important in Norway’s bilateral relations with each of the countries concerned and on areas where they have particular interests and expertise. The most common topics are:

  • Climate change: The impacts of climate change in the Arctic, climate and polar research and research cooperation in the Arctic, for example in Svalbard.

  • Shipping: Financial savings to be made by increased use of the Northeast Passage for transporting goods between Europe and Asia.

  • Resources: Potential new discoveries of petroleum and minerals in the High North, which are key to these countries’ economic development.

The High North is a natural item on the agenda in political forums and talks at different levels. Norway maintains particularly close contact with the member states of the Arctic Council (Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Iceland, Finland and Sweden). These countries have the strongest and most wide-ranging interests in the High North and it is with these countries in particular that Norway must work to find effective and comprehensive solutions in the future to achieve the overall aims of maintaining peace and stability and ensuring sustainable resource development in the region.

The Government will intensify its dialogue with the countries that are seeking permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. This will help to promote a common understanding of developments in the Arctic and clarify how these countries can contribute to the work of the Council based on the criteria for the admission of new permanent observers that were established at the Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk in May 2011 (see Chapter 7.2 on the Arctic Council).

The specific characteristics and interests of the various countries must be taken into account in the development of these dialogues. Whereas initially the High North dialogues were often wide-ranging and informative in nature, their focus has gradually been narrowed down and targeted more specifically to reflect Norwegian interests vis-à-vis the individual countries. This applies to Norway’s dialogue with Russia, where the focus is on fisheries, the environment, oil and gas, to our dialogue with Sweden and Finland, where the focus is on the development and transport of minerals, and to our dialogue with Canada, which focuses on a number of areas such as fisheries, indigenous peoples, research, management of sea areas and oil and gas. Security policy consultations are also held with a number of the Arctic states.

In addition, close dialogue has been established with key EU countries such as France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Italy. All these countries have a long tradition of polar research and also strong interests in oil and gas supplies from Norway and Russia. With the exception of Italy, all of them are also permanent observers to the Arctic Council. Our dialogues with these countries, particularly with France and Germany, began as broad-based discussions on issues relating to the High North, but are now focusing more closely on energy, the most relevant issue in our relations in this context. The energy dialogues, conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, have also been successful. These dialogues address topics such as gas exports, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In Iceland, a white paper on the High North was presented to the Allthingi in January 2011, and Norway has since initiated a dialogue with Iceland on closer cooperation on issues relating to the Arctic. Potential areas of cooperation are exchanges between Icelandic and Norwegian universities and knowledge institutions and cooperation on projects in the fields of climate change, the environment and marine resources. A memorandum of understanding on cooperation on Arctic scientific research was signed by the countries’ foreign ministers in September 2011.

In January 2011 Prime Ministers Jens Stoltenberg and David Cameron signed a bilateral and global partnership agreement Expanding cooperation in the field of polar research was one of the areas included in the agreement. To achieve this, joint projects in the field of polar research and on cultural heritage conservation at shared sites in the polar regions are being developed. The UK, which has four year-round stations in the Antarctic and a research station in Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, is a leading polar research nation.

All this illustrates how dialogue and cooperation with other countries is being developed and adapted in terms of form and content to focus more specifically on areas of mutual interest and benefit.

The EU is playing an increasingly active role in matters related to the High North and is currently developing its own strategy for the High North. Norway has already established close dialogue with various EU institutions on High North issues, both through talks at political level and at a series of events and meetings held in recent years. In the years to come, ensuring close and broad-based dialogue with the EU on the High North will continue to be one of Norway’s priorities. The Government is seeking to strengthen cooperation with the EU in the High North in areas of common interest. This applies in particular to cooperation on research and knowledge development. Norway will seek to ensure that the EU research programmes give priority to projects that are relevant for the High North. This could also enhance knowledge development in Norway and open up new opportunities for research cooperation in the High North, for example within the EU priority areas of climate change and the environment. Norway has taken a number of initiatives vis-à-vis the EU, for example as regards cooperation on research infrastructure in Svalbard (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System), see Box 3.1. The Joint Programming Initiative for Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans), a large-scale joint European programme carried out in cooperation with Spain and Belgium, is another Norwegian initiative. It does not focus exclusively on the High North, but encompasses cross-cutting marine and maritime issues related to European seas.

Asian countries have also shown a growing interest in the High North, with countries such as China, Japan and South Korea establishing their own research stations in Ny-Ålesund. The Northeast Asian countries have both the financial means and the expertise in research and technological development to play a greater role in the Arctic than is currently the case. Companies from Japan, South Korea and China are already involved in offshore activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. These actors are also following the potential for the opening up of new fields in Arctic waters. Moreover, South Korea, China and Japan are the world’s three largest shipbuilding nations and play a key role in the development of icebreaker technology, which could lead to an expansion of trade relations along the Northeast Passage. Several Northeast Asian shipping companies are included among the ten largest shipping companies in the world. In this respect, the High North is more than a strategic priority for Norway; it is also of crucial importance to the economy and foreign trade of the world’s most densely populated and dynamic region.

The Government is also seeking to intensify dialogue on High North issues at parliamentary level and will therefore propose annual dialogues between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the parliamentary assemblies that are relevant to the High North, in which Norwegian parliamentarians participate (the Arctic Parliamentary Committee, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Nordic Council and the Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum).

The High North dialogues at political and senior official level are supplemented by a number of targeted measures designed to communicate Norway’s views on the High North to key decision-makers in a number of countries. Study tours to Norway that focus on Norway’s High North policy are one important tool. Since 2006 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organised international study tours to Svalbard on an annual basis, in cooperation with the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the SINTEF Group and the University Centre in Svalbard. Since the study tours were first started, over 60 international participants from 11 countries, as well as representatives of the EU, have taken part in a High North Study Tour. The tours have given the participants an insight into our thinking on the High North and have enabled them to gain more knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the High North.

The annual High North conferences, including the Arctic Frontiers Conference (Tromsø), the Arctic Dialogue Conference (Bodø) and the Kirkenes Conference are important arenas for discussing topical High North issues at both political and expert level.

In recent years several countries have developed their own High North strategies (see Box 4.3). This is a positive development. Broad consensus on the fundamental legal and political issues has developed over time. Although the national strategies naturally contain some differences in emphasis, there are many similarities between the various High North strategies in terms of visions and priorities.

Firstly, all the countries that have developed High North strategies appreciate the importance of maintaining peace, stability and predictability. Secondly, there is a strong emphasis on sustainable development and the development of renewable and non-renewable resources in the High North. Thirdly, great importance is attached to respect for the Law of the Sea and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the international legal framework for the Arctic. The five coastal states bordering the Arctic Ocean emphasise the importance of the special duties and rights they have under the Law of the Sea. Fourthly, the Arctic Council is referred to as the most important circumpolar forum for dealing with issues relating to the High North. There is also broad agreement that the Council needs to be strengthened.

Textbox 4.3 Selected countries’ High North strategies

Canada: Canada’s Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future (March 2009)

and: Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy (August 2010)

Denmark: Kingdom of Denmark – Strategy for the Arctic 2011–2020 (August 2011)

Finland: Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region (July 2010)

Iceland: A Parliamentary Resolution on Iceland's Arctic Policy (March 2011)

Russia: “ The fundamentals of Russian state policy in the Arctic up to 2020 and beyond”(September 2008) (Russian only)

US: Arctic Region Policy (January 2009)

EU: The first step in the development of a policy for the Arctic was the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the European Union and the Arctic Region of November 2008. The Council discussed the Commission’s communication in December 2009. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on a sustainable EU policy for the High North in January 2011.

Sweden: Sweden’s strategy for the Arctic region (May 2011)

4.4 National dialogue

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for coordinating the Government’s High North policy. This involves cooperation with other relevant ministries and extensive contact and dialogue with regional authorities, the Sami Parliament (Sámediggi), the research community, the private sector and other actors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed two committees to further the development of a dynamic High North policy. The Government’s Expert Committee on the High North was appointed in January 2006 and delivered its final report in June 2008.12 The report served as an important basis for the Government in following up its High North Strategy and for the preparation of the report New Building Blocks in the North.

Based on the success of the Expert Committee it was decided to establish a new committee as a dialogue partner for central and regional authorities on the High North Policy. The High North Committee13 was appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 30 April 2010 for a period of two years. Its term was later extended by one year, until June 2013. The committee was established to provide input to the Norwegian authorities as to how the new opportunities opening up in the High North can be used to safeguard Norway’s interests, with particular focus on creating a better basis for value creation in North Norway.

The High North Committee has held a number of meetings with actors from the private sector and civil society across the region, which have generated input and ideas about the possibilities for increasing value creation in the north. The meetings were organised around specific topics: knowledge and expertise, natural resource management, logistics and infrastructure, culture and tourism, industry and industrial clusters and partnerships.

The committee participates actively in the public debate on issues related to the High North and works on a number of areas discussed in this white paper, such as knowledge, research, education, emergency preparedness, minerals, fisheries, aquaculture and space-related commercial activity.

Information about the work of the High North Committee can be found on the committee’s website: www.nordområdeutvalget.no.

The Government is seeking to further strengthen coordination and dialogue with regional authorities on its High North policy. The establishment of a coordination forum for the leaders of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark county councils and the President of the Sami Parliament has therefore been proposed. The forum will meet twice a year. Its main purpose will be coordination and exchange of information with an emphasis on the foreign policy and cross-border dimensions of the High North policy.

Textbox 4.4 Norway’s High North policy – selected reference documents

  1. Knut Frydenlund, Foreign policy address to the Storting, 1 November 1974, reproduced in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information bulletin UD-informasjon, no. 53, 8 November 1974. This was the first documented use of the term “nordområdene” (at the time translated as “northern areas”) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  2. MFA Circular no.61, 28 December 1977: Behandling av spørsmål vedrørende nordområdene. This announced the establishment of an internal working group to improve the coordination of work on questions concerning the northern areas.

  3. Protecting the Riches of the Sea (Report No. 12 (2001–2002) to the Storting).

  4. Look North! Challenges and opportunities in the northern areas, Official Norwegian Report NOU 2003:32. Report from the Government’s Committee of Experts on the Northern Areas, submitted on 8 December 2003.

  5. Opportunities and Challenges in the North (Report No. 30 (2004-2005) to the Storting)

  6. Political platform of the majority government formed by the Labour Party, the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party. Report published on 20 December 2005.

  7. Jonas Gahr Støre, A sea of opportunities – A sound policy for the High North, speech/article, University of Tromsø, 10 November 2005.

  8. Integrated Management of the Marine Environment of the Barents Sea and the Sea Areas off the Lofoten Islands (Report No. 8 (2005–2006) to the Storting).

  9. Arve Johnsen, Barents 2020 – A tool for a forward-looking High North policy, report published on 19 September 2006.

  10. The Norwegian Government’s High North Strategy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo/Tromsø, 1 December 2006.

  11. Sluttrapport fra regjeringens ekspertutvalg for nordområdene («Aarbakke-utvalget«) (Final report of the Government’s Expert Committee on the High North), June 2008. (Norwegian only)

  12. Svalbard (Report No. 22 (2008–2009) to the Storting).

  13. New Building Blocks in the North – the next step in the Government’s High North strategy. Oslo/Tromsø, 12 March 2009.

  14. Nasjonal strategi 2009: Marin bioprospektering – en kilde til ny og bærekraftig verdiskaping (Norwegian strategy for marine bioprospecting), (Norwegian only).

  15. Jonas Gahr Støre: "Most is north”. The High North and the way ahead – an international perspective. Lecture at the University of Tromsø, 29 April 2010.

  16. Nordområdesatsingen – Status oktober 2010, (The High North policy – status report, October 2010), (Norwegian only), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 2010.

  17. First update of the Integrated Management Plan for the Marine Environment of the Barents Sea–Lofoten Area, Meld. St. 10 (2010–2011).

  18. An industry for the future – Norway´s petroleum activities, Meld. St. 28 (2010–2011).

  19. Research Council of Norway: Research Strategy for the Arctic and Northern Areas, Revision 1 (forskning.nord.to) 2011-2016, June 2011.

Footnotes

1.

The Government’s High North Strategy (2006).

2.

See Prop. 146 S (2010-2011).

3.

Joint declaration by the Norwegian and Russian foreign ministers on strengthening Norwegian–-Russian cooperation (2 November 2010).

4.

Work plan to create favourable legal, trade, economic and other conditions for strengthening Norwegian–Russian cross-border cooperation, 2011–2015 (February 2011).

5.

Signed in Murmansk on 11 February 2011.

6.

The division into regions in this table is the same as that used in the report The Economy of the North, which was drawn up by Solveig Glomsrød and Iulie Aslaksen, both researchers in Statistics Norway in 2008. The only region of the US included in the table is Alaska. Canada: the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, Nunavut. Denmark: Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Norway: Finnmark, Troms and Nordland. Sweden: Norrbotten and Västerbotten. Finland: Lapland, the Oulu region and Kainuu. Russia: Murmansk, Karelia, Arkhangelsk, Komi, Yamal-Nenets, Khanty-Mansia, Taimyr, Evenk, Sakha, Koryak, Magadan and Chukchi. The whole of Iceland is included .

7.

It should be noted that the figures for indigenous peoples in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia are estimates, as there is no census data in these countries that indicates the ethnic background of Sami or other indigenous peoples.

8.

Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA), April 2011, by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

9.

For further details, see New Building Blocks in the North, Chapter 7.3.

10.

These documents are available on the Government’s High North portal: www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/campaigns/the-high-north.html?id=450629

11.

Arve Johnsen: Barents 2020 – A tool for a forward-looking High North policy, September 2006

12.

The Government’s Expert Committee on the High North was chaired by Jarle Aarbakke, Rector of the University of Tromsø.

13.

The High North Committee was chaired by Frode Mellemvik of the University of Nordland until February 2012 when he was replaced by Hans Olav Karde, CEO of Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge.

Go to the top
Go to front page