The Norwegian Government will take advantage of the opportunities in the High North

“The Government will take advantage of more of the opportunities in the High North. Our efforts will create jobs, ensure better protection of the environment, safeguard Norwegian sovereignty and maintain good neighbourly relations,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

06/12/2006 :: December 1 the Government presents its integrated High North strategy in Tromsø. This is a national strategy with international ambitions and includes both foreign policy and domestic policy issues.

“This is not a project for the High North alone, but a project for the whole country and for the whole of northern Europe, with consequences for the whole continent. This is both foreign policy and domestic policy,” said Mr Stoltenberg.

The whole Government has been involved in developing the strategy, with input from important actors and centres of excellence in North Norway and the rest of the country.

The Government intends to:
• improve living conditions, opportunities and the quality of life for all those who live in the High North;
• exercise our authority in the High North  in a credible, consistent and predictable way;
• put Norway at the top of the league in terms of generating knowledge in and about the High North;
• ensure that Norway is the best steward of the environment and the natural resources in the High North;
• provide a suitable framework for further development of petroleum activities in the Barents sea;
• seek to safeguard the livelihoods, traditions and culture of indigenous peoples;
• further develop Norway’s neighbourly relations with Russia.

The common denominator is the generation of knowledge. Knowledge is at the core of the High North policy, and is closely linked to environmental management, utilisation of resources and value creation. The strategy highlights the importance of strengthening knowledge in and about the High North.

The strategy describes future efforts to strengthen centres of excellence in North Norway. It also announces a study on the need for a new ice-class research vessel for Norwegian research institutions.

Relations with Russia are an important part of the High North policy. Norway’s policy vis-à-vis Russia will be based on pragmatism, interests and cooperation. We intend to develop closer cooperation with Russia, for example on management of the environment and resources in the Barents Sea and on energy issues.

Cooperation with Russia and other countries to combat illegal fishing in the Barents Sea will also be strengthened.

The Government will promote sustainable petroleum activities in the Barents Sea. It will seek to improve maritime safety, strengthen the oil spill response system and step up monitoring of the marine environment.

The Government’s business policy will also be further developed in sectors such as industry, tourism, fish farming and marine bioprospecting (searching for valuable biochemical and genetic resources from living organisms).

Several of the projects launched in the strategy will be implemented through the Barents 2020 research programme.

(Published 5.12.06)

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