The High North

Large parts of Norway lie north of the Arctic Circle. Sound management of the abundant Arctic resources is high on Norway’s agenda. This requires global cooperation based on scientific knowledge and international law.
Photo: REDink

For thousands of years, people living north of the Arctic Circle have harvested the local resources. The Arctic is rich in minerals, oil and gas, animal life, and fish and seafood. Finding a good balance between conservation and sustainable use is a top priority for Norway. We will encourage global cooperation based on scientific knowledge and international law.

AIMS

  • safeguard peace and stability and promote predictability;
  • find a good balance between conservation and sustainable use through sound resource management;
  • promote international cooperation and the international legal order;
  • increase employment, value creation and welfare in the region.
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Shipping in Arctic waters

Some 80 % of maritime traffic in the Arctic passes through Norwegian waters. The Polar Code came into force on 1 January 2017. Norway played a leading role in developing the Code, which sets strict environmental requirements for shipping in Arctic waters.

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Oil and gas resources in the Arctic

According to the US Geological Society, a fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources may be in the Arctic. If these resources are to be extracted, it is vital to strike a good balance between conservation and sustainable use in this vulnerable area.

ACTION

  • maintaining a presence in northern sea areas in order to exercise sovereignty and authority, monitor activities and ensure adequate emergency preparedness and response;
  • managing resources on the basis of scientific knowledge;
  • promoting compliance with the Law of the Sea;
  • strengthening the position of the Arctic Council as the most important forum for Arctic cooperation;
  • investing in seed money funds, research and infrastructure with a view to promoting innovation and technology development.
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Arctic Council

The eight Arctic countries are members of the Arctic Council and 12 non-Arctic states are observers. The Arctic Council is the only circumpolar cooperation forum for Arctic issues at government level.

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Norwegian satellites

Norwegian satellites gather data that is vital for management of resources and the environment and for maritime safety in the north. They are also important for innovative research and industry in Svalbard.

There is an increasing interest from China in the Arctic. Every year Chinese officials, researchers, journalist and business people take part in conferences in Norway dealing with the High North, such as the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø. There is close cooperation between Chinese research communities, such as the Polar Research Institute of China, and research communities in Norway. Several Norwegian institutions are members of the China-Nordic Arctic Research Center (CNARC).