Photo: Marit B. Randsborg/Norwegian Embassy.Photo: Marit B. Randsborg/Norwegian Embassy

British Delegation Experienced Climate Changes in the Arctic

For the 5th time, the Norwegian Embassy organised a study trip to the High North for a British delegation consisting of parliamentarians, researchers and higher civil servants. Led by Ambassador Kim Traavik, the group embarked on a comprehensive journey from Oslo, via Bodø and Tromsø to the northernmost part of Norway, the Svalbard archipelago only around 1000 kilometers from the North Pole.

A broad approach to the High North

The High North has long been among the strategic priority areas of the Norwegian Government. The past years have seen a surge in political and economic attention paid to the High North by a number of countries, also by the UK focusing particularly on energy and environmental issues. Norway’s overall objective is to create sustainable growth and development in this region based on the highest standards of environmental management and scientific research.
 
The best way of fully understanding the developments in this beautiful and vulnerable region is by travelling there. The study trip in June covered topics such as climate change and energy, international cooperation and geopolitics, shipping, search and rescue, security and defence through extensive briefings and field visits.  
 
What is happening in the Arctic?

It is well known that the signs of climate changes are unambiguous and most evident in the North. During the visits to the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø and The University Centre in Svalbard several scientists presented findings from research into the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and consequences for animals and marine life in the Arctic. The discussions also included how the reduction of the Arctic ice influences human activities in the region such as shipping and oil and gas production.
 
Climate changes in real life

The journey to the northernmost destination, Ny-Ålesund, was unfortunately cancelled due to strong wind. The wind was followed by unusually warm weather with rapid thaw that led to flooding, mudslides and closed roads. Svalbard went from winter to summer in one day and the delegation got firsthand knowledge of the severe weather conditions that exist in the Arctic, highlighting also the effects of climate change as one of the main topics of the trip. 

Visit to University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). F.l. Sandie Storrie (MOD), Kim Traavik (Norwegian Ambassador to the UK), Marit Randsborg (Norwegian Embassy), Jeffrey Mazo (IISS), Julian Miller (Cabinet Office), Gemma Doyle MP, Robin Niblett (Chatham House), Carol van der Walt (FCO) and Madeleine Moon MP. . Photo: Tom Holter (Norwegian Embassy)
 

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