Rear, from left: Jan-Gunnar Winther (Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic), Geir Gotaas (Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic), Jens Laugesen (DNV GL), Kay Erik Stokke (DNV GL), Bjørn Haugland (DNV GL). Front, from left: Therese Rist (Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic), Ida F. Soltvedt (Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic), Bente Pretlove (DNV GL), Anne Husebekk (chair of the board) Photo: Jan Roald

The Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic will assess the status of the blue economy in the High North, and has commissioned the global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL to prepare the first reports.

These reports will chart current status, challenges and opportunities related to value creation and sustainable development of blue business in the north. The end product, which is due for completion in spring 2019, will help strengthen Norway’s knowledge and decision base, and will be the centre’s first output.

The cooperation officially began at a meeting in Tromsø, Wednesday 10 October.

– We anticipate that these efforts will result in concrete advice that will be useful to decision-makers, administrators, and the business community alike. Marine resources offer vast opportunities for growth and prosperity, but a knowledge-based, holistic approach is crucial if we are to benefit from them in the long run. We hope to contribute to this, and look forward to disseminating the results next year, says Jan-Gunnar Winther, director of the Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic.

In addition to the status report, the commission includes a foresight study. Both are intended to fit within the framework of the UN sustainability goals. Thus, an important task will be to adapt those goals to the context of the Norwegian Arctic.

– We wish to tailor the global – and fairly general – sustainability goals to make them useful for management and enterprise along our coast. Without local sustainability, we won’t attain the global goals, says Winther.

After a procurement process that resulted in several strong tenders, DNV GL was considered the best qualified candidate.

– DNV GL distinguished itself from the other candidates as the provider with the broadest experience and expertise. DNV GL submitted a very good proposal, offering a competent team of experts on sustainable development and blue economy. In addition, DNV GL has a wide-ranging external network that can be useful in realizing the project. We look forward to starting this collaboration, says Winther.

– Together with the Centre for the Ocean and the Arctic, we are looking forward to helping Norway make judicious choices to develop the blue economy in the High North, says Bjørn Kjærand Haugland, chief sustainability officer at DNV GL.

– Sustainable growth of the blue economy is crucial to Norway’s continued prosperity, and we are very pleased to be establishing this cooperation with the centre. We will use our expertise and our network to formulate knowledge-based advice on how Norway can balance between protection and utilization, he concludes.