According to Teknisk Ukeblad, Norway plans to nominate parts of the Svalbard archipelago to the prestigious UN protection list. In addition, a new management plan for the area includes expanded environmental regulations for the area.
Oil industry representatives now voice skepticism about the status of the islands, which are located in strategic Arctic waters. Stricter environmental regulations could affect future development of local oil and gas-related logistics, bases and supply facilities, they argue.
“The protection of the waters east of Svalbard would conflict with important Norwegian geopolitical, industrial and economic interests, Johan Petter Barlindhaug, Board Chairman of the North Energy company, says to TU.no.
In connection with the plans for a Unesco nomination, the Norwegian Ministry of Energy and Petroluem is now starting up an assessment study on the islands’ potentials in future oil and gas projects. If the northern parts of the Barents Sea are opened for drilling, Svalbard might be strategically well situated for base functions.
As previously reported, Norway’s Minister of Petroluem and Energy has on several occasions expressed interest in expanding drilling “to the North Pole”.
Polar areas are currently little represented in the Unesco’s World Heritage list. So far, only the Wrangle islands and the Ilulissat Isfjord are on the list, the UN organization informs. The Norwegian Ministry of Environment in 2007 proposed to include Svalbard in the UN tentative list of new protection sites.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Sports in the Barents region have joined forces and established Barents Games. This weekend athletes from all over the region met in Oulu to compete in 14 differents sports during the Barents Summer Games. See our slide show from the competitions.
Norwegian business leaders and academics interviewed by Yle’s Swedish-language news service say they are disappointed in the overall level of Swedish language skills among its job applicants from Finland.