This year's High North Dialogue will focus on what happens in business and societies in the Arctic and what this means, especially for young people.
The conference is held in Bodø, Northern Norway. However, due to the pandemic, most of the conference is digital.
On the first day of the conference, there will be a moderated talk between Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre, and two members of the Youth Panel on the Norwegian White Paper on the High North. The moderator will be Editor-in-Chief at High North News, Arne O. Holm.
"I am very much looking forward to participating in the High North Dialogue 2021. The topic of this year’s conference – business and the perspectives of the youth – is timely and important. I believe that engaging the young is a success factor for Arctic policy. This is reflected in the preparation of the Government’s white paper from last year, where we established and received advice from a youth panel", says Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway to High North News, and continues:
"The Government’s white paper gives broad consideration to the domestic policy issues in the Arctic. There is a consistent focus on the future of North Norway and on youth. We have established a fund for young entrepreneurs, and we are also preparing an investment fund with both public and private capital that is to be managed from North Norway. There are large investments in higher education at UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, at Nord University, and other research institutions, as well as in culture, infrastructure, and communication projects that will benefit North Norway", Solberg adds:
"It is a matter of national interest that young people can pursue an education, find relevant work opportunities and continue to live in North Norway. The youth perspective is important for our democracy, and it also makes sense if we are to reach longer-term goals."
Nicole Natalie Furnes is a member of the Governmental High North Whitepaper Youth Panel. She says it is crucial to highlight the importance of youth participation in politics and community development.
"Youth participation is important for several reasons: Firstly, I think that co-operation and participation create this feeling of connection to a place. If a young person gets to participate in the development of their community at an early age, maybe she/he might consider coming back after having studied in the south because they feel a strong connection to the place. Secondly, Norwegian youth under the age of 18 don’t have the right to vote. Youth councils or other forms of youth participation might give this important group of people a voice. Thirdly, youth have another way of looking at things and might present different, interesting ideas and solutions to problems", Furnes says.
The panel debate will be held Tuesday, April 20 at 17:15.
- Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
- Jonas Gahr Støre, leader of the Labour Party
- Nicole Natalie Furnes, Member of the Governmental High North Whitepaper Youth Panel
- Øyvind Johan Olsen, Member of the Governmental High North Whitepaper Youth Panel
Moderator: Arne O. Holm, Editor-in-Chief, High North News