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Flat, cold and increasingly crowded: What policies for the Arctic?

The key to sustainable development of the Arctic is enhanced, broadened and effective international cooperation and coordination, said State Secretary of Foreign Affairs Elisabeth Walaas at an Arctic policy briefing recently held in Brussels.

28/01/2009 :: State Secretary of Foreign Affairs Elisabeth Walaas talked about possibilities and challenges in the Arctic. Photo: Anders Berg-Hansen

Walaas delivered the speech on behalf of Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

– Traditionally, interest in Arctic issues was confined to a relatively small number of countries and communities in the northern hemisphere. This is no longer the case, first and foremost as a result of climate change, and new possibilities for human activities in the Arctic. These include new shipping routes, tourism and the possible exploitation of mineral and fisheries resources, Walaas told the audience.

She emphasised that the main challenge is to ensure orderly and sustainable use of the Arctic.

The state secretary also pointed out that The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provides for important rights and obligations concerning issues related to the Arctic Ocean, such as the delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf, the protection of the marine environment, including ice-covered areas, and freedom of navigation.

– This framework represents a solid foundation for responsible management of the Arctic Ocean, said Walaas.

Read the full text: Flat, cold and increasingly crowded: What policies for the Arctic?

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