Whether you are locked down at your cabin, confined to your office at home, at your real office or out enjoying nature – an activity that has boomed during the pandemic – one thing is for sure; the Arctic is not boring.
Why don’t we start off with some international defense and security politics?
This week, the Norwegian Police Security Services, the National Security Authority, and the Military Intelligence Service presented the ‘Fokus 2021’ report, which provides “thorough documentation that a robust Northern Norway is crucial for Norway’s national security”, according to High North News Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm.
In this week’s commentary, he encourages those who still believe that High North politics is a specialist area of interest rather than a national focus area to read the entire report. Preferably soon.
We also noted that all four Norwegian defense branches are to cooperate in an exercise about operations behind enemy lines for the next couple of weeks. In other words, exercise an imaginary attack on Norway.
Fish and freight
Waves are running high in the fish industry too. There is intense debate about quota regulations and border entry restrictions for seasonal workers. And coastal municipalities warrant lasting value creation in the land-based industry.
While we wait for the world-famous skrei, we have interviewed Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen (Conservatives) about the noise in the industry, and about value creation on land. North Norwegian coastal municipalities want, amongst others, changes in order to secure more processing in Norway and more year-round jobs.
“We have to do a more thorough job here”, the Fisheries Minister says to High North News.
Another contested issue is shipping in the Arctic.
Many have written and said much about freight and transit along the North-East Passage, or the Northern Sea Route, during the past 20 years. Some argued we might expect an explosion of activity along the Passage, which is – after all – the shortest way across the sea between Europe and Asia.
We tell you what really happened.
Protest and punishment
In Nunavut, Canada the local population has taken action against an iron ore mine and blocked all traffic in and out. Now, the mining company has taken the issue to court in order to get access to the air stripe and allow employees out of the area.
And in Russia, a court has ordered the Norilsk Nikel mining company, which was involved in a giant fuel spill in the Russian Arctic last year, to pay out almost two billion US dollars in compensation.
We are, sadly, not rid of Corona and the pandemic this week either. Read about the latest infection numbers from Alaska here.
You see; it all happens in the North!
We at High North News thank you warmly for following us this week. Feel free to share our newsletter with others engaged in the High North.
All the best for this February weekend!
News Editor, High North News