An important role for Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic

Foto: Senter for hav og Arktis
The Centre’s opening ceremony took place on Husøy north of Senja. Photo: Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic

“We have observed the need for a centre that can compile, analyse and disseminate knowledge about the Blue Economy in the High North,” said prime minister Erna Solberg during the opening ceremony on Saturday 25 August.

Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic will play a crucial role in the government’s initiative to cultivate national and international insight into how to manage the oceans sustainably.

Advancing knowledge

Central to this initiative is development of knowledge, particularly about sustainable value creation within marine enterprises – an important part of the Centre’s task. The Centre will also foster close collaboration between teams of experts, including those active in the maritime and marine sectors, petroleum and mineral extraction, space technology and monitoring.

Left to right: Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, Director of Nofima /Centre steering committee member; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister; Anne Husebekk, Rector of UiT/Chair of Centre steering committee; Jan-Gunnar Winther, Director of the Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic. Photo: Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic

Private sector involvement

Private enterprise is already involved in the Centre thorough an advisory council representing important academic institutions and marine businesses.

“I’m glad private enterprises are getting involved in the Centre. We need that,” said Solberg in her speech at the opening.

“I believe that together you will make a difference and contribute to advancing Norway as a maritime nation – both domestically and internationally,” the prime minister continued.

“We look forward to delivering on these expectations that the Centre will stimulate cooperation between public and private sectors,” replied Director Jan-Gunnar Winther.

Liaison with the High-Level Panel

Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic has also been given an important role in the international High-Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Solberg established the high-level panel in January 2018; it comprises heads of governments from coastal states around the world, including developing countries. In 2020, the panel will deliver a report on the significance of the ocean economy for sustainable development.

As this work progresses, Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic will act as liaison with Norwegian expertise. The panel’s first meeting will take place next month in New York.

“Norwegian firms and institutions have exceptional competence that could also benefit other countries, especially about how to combine preservation and use of marine resources. We look forward to tackling this mission, and appreciate the prime minister’s confidence,” said Winther.

Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic was established by the government last year. A total of 10 million Norwegian Kroner has been set aside in the national budget for 2017 and 2018 to cover establishment and running costs, and to finance operations.

Read the prime minister’s inaugural speech here (in Norwegian).