Despite sunny days and holidays just around the corner, High North News has not let go of big power play about the Arctic. This week, we have looked deep into Norway’s role within NATO.
Is this small country in the High North an important actor or a small player in the game about the Arctic? We keep tracing and revealing new bits of information [Norwegian only].
Does anyone remember the first time the media wrote about GPS jamming in the High North? High North News first spoke of the phenomenon back in 2017.
And GPS jamming still causes problems in Finnmark, Northern Norway. District Police Chief Ellen Katrine Hætta has more or less resigned and Professor Odd Jarl Borch at the High North Center for Business and Governance warrants unified action from central authorities.
When everybody wants to go to where we are
Few are more familiar with the shapes and various moods of the Arctic landscape than High North News’ Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm. Being Arctic as he is, he fully understands the desire to travel north that appears to be sweeping the Nordic countries.
People are healthy, there’s room for all and bright summer nights lure us out to bright white beaches and majestic peaks. But it comes with a price and we cannot allow ourselves to rest now.
Cruise tourism in the Arctic is a chapter of its own. The Corona crisis leads to historic losses all over, while summer tourism is slowly becoming permitted again.
In Alaska, the industry now faces a summer completely without income. This is in stark contrast to the record-breaking summer previously envisioned.
The fact that the Norwegian government opens up for foreign cruise vessels to sail along the Norwegian coast this summer does not really help, as tourists are not allowed on land (Norwegian only).
However, the good news is that Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Finance Martti Hetemäki lifts travel restrictions for Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the Baltic states. Sweden did not make the cut and is now out in the cold as a Nordic pariah state.
A long-waited disaster
Even though this year’s tourism and cruise traffic is very limited, previous years’ development show that ocean tourism in the Arctic is a long-waited disaster waiting to happen when it comes to preparedness and security.
“Cruise traffic has increased in recent years, both in Svalbard and along the coast of the mainland. A serious incident involving a cruise ship with a high number of passengers onboard represents a particular challenge", says Norwegian Minister of Justice and Preparedness Monica Mæland.
That is why the government has put together a committee that is to provide recommendations on how to better manage the situation. That is probably a good idea.
The Arctic Ocean is not void of all traffic. A world-famous regatta will sail north to the Arctic in the coming week and this marks the first-time ever that a major sailing competition visits the Arctic Ocean.
The famous Vendée Globe sailing competition sees competitors sail solo non-stop around the world.
Warrant political decisiveness
The Tromsø-based Center for Ocean and the Arctic warns against sloppy climate measures and politicians asleep on their watch.
“Given our politicians’ firm reaction to the pandemic, it seems timely to wonder if the same impressive determination could be used to tackle the climate crisis, which after all represents an even more serious threat than the current pandemic”, says Jan-Gunnar Winther and Ida Folkestad Soltvedt at the Center.
Arctic wave of culture
Culture lives and delivers in the Arctic, despite the world’s being down with its back broken during what more than anything resembles a 2020 version of the Dark Ages.
Bodø, located just north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, made history when it was awarded the status of European Capital of Culture 2024.
Now, Oulu in Finland follows suit and has submitted its application for ECoC 2026.
And now, all that remains is to wish our readers a great summer, filled with all the good things of Arctic living. We’ll see you all again on 1 August!
News Editor, High North News