New knowledge to strengthen the basis for formulating Norway's future High North policies
The institution-based research initiative Geopolitics in the High North, Norwegian Interests (GEOPOLITIKK-NORD) was launched in Tromsø on 1 September. The Norwegian institute for Defence Studiesone is coordinating the whole programme that will be carried out in close collaboration with the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the universities of Tromsø and Oslo. Research institutions in the USA, Germany and Russia are also participating in the programme.
The GEOPOLITIKK-NORD programme consists of eight projects which will each be exploring different issues relating to the High North and the Arctic. Topics to be examined include Norway's relations with Russia, the EU and the USA, as well as questions relating to energy, climate change, maritime law and Norwegian interests in the High North.
Rolf Tamnes, Director of the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and the manager of the research initiative, told the regional newspaper Nordlys: "We have taken as our starting point the fact that the regional issues of the High North are closely intertwined with global processes. That is why we have chosen to work with several key international research institutions on this programme."
NOK 30 million towards better policy decisions on the High North
The research programme has a total budget framework of nearly NOK 30 million, to be spread over a five-year period. The Research Council is contributing NOK 25 million, based on an allocation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nils Morten Udgaard, who heads the reference group for the programme, told the daily newspaper Bladet Tromsø that the GEOPOLITIKK-NORD programme would provide politicians with better information on which to base decisions relating to the High North.
The research programme has several objectives: it aims to generate new knowledge about geopolitics in the High North, to place issues relating to the High North in a clear international context, and to strengthen international research collaboration on these issues. In addition the programme will enhance research collaboration on the High North between Norwegian research institutions.
National expectations high
"This programme will provide an arena for effective collaboration on a national level," Alf Håkon Hoel of the University of Tromsø told Nordlys. He heads a project on maritime law in the High North, which brings together researchers from the Faculty of Law, the Department of History and the Department of Political Science. They will be studying the development of maritime law in the Arctic with regard to living marine resources and the petroleum industry, as well as examining the interests of the superpowers in the region and the development of Norway's jurisdiction policy.
The programme is due to run for a period of five years during which time a number of international conferences are planned, in Washington, Berlin, Moscow and Tromsø respectively.
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