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Daily Archives: 9. October 2011 − News & Stories

Eas­tern Sval­bard

The dis­cus­sion about a new admi­nis­tra­ti­on plan for eas­tern Sval­bard, poten­ti­al­ly inclu­ding clo­sing lar­ger are­as for the public, has made a step fur­ther. A working group of the Sys­sel­man­nen has pro­du­ced a paper that sta­tes that »cur­rent or future rese­arch in eas­tern Sval­bard is not nega­tively influen­ced by other local acti­vi­ty in the area as of today. That East Sval­bard is a natu­re reser­ve does alre­a­dy stron­gly regu­la­te traf­fic in the area.« (Manage­ment plan for eas­tern Sval­bard, Report of the working group Rese­arch and Edu­ca­ti­on (Nor­we­gi­an), Sys­sel­man­nen). A real defi­ni­ti­on for the term »refe­rence area« is not pro­du­ced, a real sci­en­ti­fic need for such are­as that are clo­sed to any traf­fic (other than sel­ec­ted sci­en­tists) can­not be defi­ned and is not clai­med by rese­ar­ches.

Nevert­hel­ess it is sug­gested to clo­se seve­ral lar­ge are­as in eas­tern Sval­bard as »refe­rence are­as«, to which only sel­ec­ted sci­en­tists that work on rese­arch are­as with rele­van­ce for admi­nis­tra­ti­on and poli­tics have access. The map below gives an over­view of the sel­ec­ted are­as.

Clo­sing the­se are­as would have only minor impact on expe­di­ti­on crui­sing.

As can be expec­ted, is the sug­gested ver­si­on of the manage­ment plan met with strong cri­ti­zism by inha­bi­tants and local poli­ti­ci­ans in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, local tour ope­ra­tors and in the sci­en­ti­fic world, such as UNIS:

  • »It seems as if aut­ho­ri­ties want to make peo­p­le deli­bera­te­ly tired (by means of the long dura­ti­on of the pro­cess). … clo­sing so lar­ge are­as seems abso­lut­e­ly unneces­sa­ry. Within the exis­ting regu­la­ti­ons, the Sys­sel­man­nen has alre­a­dy far rea­ching pos­si­bi­li­ties to limit traf­fic in the natu­re reser­ves in eas­tern Sval­bard.« This is said by Hein­rich Eggen­fell­ner, second chair­man of Lon­gye­ar­by­en Lokals­ty­re (the local par­lia­ment) to Sval­bard­pos­ten (39/2011). Eggen­fell­ner assu­mes that the pro­cess is main­ly dri­ven by hig­her admi­nis­tra­ti­ve levels in Oslo, which stron­gly influence the working group of the Sys­sel­man­nen: »my impres­si­on is as if the who­le pro­cess is con­trol­led by the admin­stra­ti­ve body within the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te and the Direc­to­ra­te for natu­re admi­nis­tra­ti­on. They are not in line with the sci­en­tists, so the who­le things seems rather absurd.«
  • The lack­ing sci­en­ti­fic defi­ni­ti­on of »refe­rence are­as« and the lack­ing reasons for a real need for such are­as are cri­ti­ci­zed, and so is the miss­ing inclu­si­on of fishing acti­vi­ties in the plan, while tou­rism and lar­ge parts of the sci­en­ti­fic world are sup­po­sed to be kicked out.
  • The cur­rent sug­ges­ti­on does threa­ten the foun­da­ti­ons for the exis­tance of UNIS, the local uni­ver­si­ty in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, accor­ding to its direc­tor Gun­nar Sand. UNIS does lar­ge­ly work with pri­ma­ry rese­arch and edu­ca­ti­on, both at a first glan­ce not neces­s­a­ri­ly rele­vant for admi­nis­tra­ti­on and poli­tics. Sand also ques­ti­ons the Sys­sel­man­nens com­pe­tence to deter­mi­ne what kind of rese­arch is rele­vant, on the long term, also (but not only) for admi­nis­tra­ti­on.
  • The owner of this web­site and aut­hor of this arc­tic­le agrees that are­as, espe­ci­al­ly lar­ger ones, should not be clo­sed unless the­re is reason to do so such as real sci­en­ti­fic or envi­ron­men­tal needs.

The pro­cess is ongo­ing, a final decis­i­on and fol­lo­wing legis­la­ti­on will need fur­ther time, pos­si­bly until late 2012.

Sug­gested so-cal­led »refe­rence are­as« in eas­tern Sval­bard.
Map source: Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te, modi­fied by Sval­bard­pos­ten.

Eastern Svalbard

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten


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