- Svalbard faces major challenges and transitions over the next couple of years, and these will have profound consequences for a small community, states MP and Chair of the Norwegian Parliament’s Delegation for Arctic Parliamentary Cooperation, Eirik Sivertsen (Labour).
- It is important that we of the Storting [the Norwegian parliament] meet and speak directly with people, so that we have a best possible understanding of the situation, says Sivertsen. Yesterday he and the five other members of the delegation started their four-day long visit to Svalbard.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries Torbjørn Røe Isaksen recently visited Svalbard for the first time on official basis, and this time around the guests from the current parliament’s Delegation for Arctic Parliamentary Cooperation are on their first trip to the islands, and to the town that is home to more than 2,000 inhabitants.
Svalbard is important for Norway and a key element in our High North, the Storting says in a press statement.
The visit last through Thursday, and the items on the agenda include meetings with the Svalbard Governor, representatives of the local Council, representatives of business, SvalSat and the local University Centre (UNIS).
The delegation will also visit Ny-Ålesund, meet with Russian representatives in Barentsburg and visit Svea to hear the latest status on the liquidation of the mining as well as the upcoming clean-up process.
The permanent Delecation for Arctic Parliamentary Cooperation was created in 2008 based on increased interest in the Arctic from both Arctic and non-Arctic states.
The parliament’s international division holds the function of secretariat to the delegation.
In addition to Head of Delegation Eirik Sivertsen, the delegation consists of Deputy Head of Delegation Margunn Ebbesen (Conservatives), Svein Harberg (Conservatives), Else-May Botten (Labour), Bengt Rune Strifeldt (the Progress Party) and Willfred Nordlund (the Centre Party).
The Arctic Parliamentary Cooperation consists of representatives from the parliaments of the five Nordic countries, as well as representatives from the parliaments in Candada, Russia, the USA and the European Parliament. Six organisations representing indigenous people in the Arctic areas are permanent participants.
The Norwegian delegation is closely linked with the other countries’ MP’s through the governmental cooperation of the Arctic Council.
Living conditions, energy, shipping, climate and environment, and cooperation about research and education are among the themes for the Arctic cooperation.
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