Press release | Date: 06/10/2016
In the budget proposal for 2017, the Government proposes an increase in funding for High North-related efforts from NOK 2.7 billion in 2016 to NOK 3.4 billion in 2017.
'The High North is Norway's most important foreign policy priority. Our High North policy is designed to safeguard Norwegian interests, increase our cooperation with other countries that have interests in the High North, and facilitate business development and social development in the north,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Norway's High North policy seeks to strengthen Norway's ability to exercise its authority and to promote Norwegian interests in the north. The Government considers it vital for Norway to play an active role in the Arctic Council, the Barents cooperation and the Northern Dimension.
'There are numerous opportunities for development in the High North. The Government will promote further growth through its new ocean strategy, which is currently being developed, as well as by strengthening universities and university colleges, and enhancing the links between research and the business sector. Our High North policy will help the Government to achieve its goal of creating more jobs and ensuring better welfare,' Mr Brende said.
Several Norwegian ministries provide funding for High North-related activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for coordinating Norway's efforts in the High North and follows up the Government's priorities by providing funding under its Arctic 2030 grant scheme. Priority is given to projects in the areas of international cooperation, knowledge development, business development, infrastructure, and emergency preparedness and environmental protection.
The increase in funding for High North-related efforts is needed in part to cover the work to complete the construction of the ice-class research vessel, RV Kronprins Haakon. The Fram Centre in Tromsø is another major project that will be continued in 2017.
New High North-related measures proposed in the 2017 budget include the launch of the major marine research project Nansen Legacy and the construction of a new building at the research station in Ny-Ålesund. There will also be established a company sized battle group at the Sør-Varanger Garrison.