Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 523

Arctic Yearbook 2014 523 and developed a new system of “holistic governmental planning for large sea areas”. The Ministry of Environment invited the natural science research institutes and directorates responsible for managing natural resources onshore and offshore to take part in this development. In the process, 150 natural science researchers at 27 different research institutes and directorates used 500 million Norwegian crowns (100 million US dollars) in research and the development of a natural science-based management system of sea areas and large-scale ecosystems. This new policy was presented to the Norwegian parliament in 2005 and accepted as a new offshore policy (Ministry of Environment, White Paper nr.12, 2005-2006). The new management system is based on governing all human use of natural resources and the conservation of all parts of the ecosystem structure and functions (Knol, 2010). The decision in the Parliament related to research and planning and required revision periods of 5 years. Only the government and parliament have the opportunity to make decisions regarding the governance of all human activities at sea. The decision-making is institutionalized at the level of national Government and the decision uses only natural scientific knowledge as it is presented to them to make political decisions governing all human usage of the ocean. In March 2011 the Norwegian government finally announced its decision under its new revised management plan for the Barents Sea (Ministry of Environment, White Paper, nr. 10, 2010-2011). The national policy closed the sea area outside the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands to petroleum activities and the area within 50 km of the ice-front, defined as the limit of 40% ice-cover in wintertime over the latest 10 years. As a political compensation, the Parliament opened, in 2013, 40 000 km2 of new coastal areas for petroleum activity in the Barents Sea along the border with Russia. These new concession blocks for petroleum activity are situated 35 km off the coast of Norway in the Barents Sea and south of 74 degrees north parallel. The political compromise within the government opened new areas for petroleum activity in the Barents Sea. The new conservative government of Erna Solberg supported in 2013 this policy of closing new areas in the Norwegian Sea, the Barents Sea and Costal zone of Norway for oil drilling for four years (Governmental declaration, Sundvolden, 2013-2017). Political Government and Social Experiences The analytical question is: is government based ecosystem management planning the institutional framework for solving the conflicting interests between conservation and oil drilling in the Barents Sea? This briefing report has presented a case study of national decision-making related to the development of large-scale ecosystem management in the Barents Sea. The issue concerned is the making of political decisions within government regarding conserving maritime biodiversity for the future and developing oil drilling and petroleum exploitation in the Polar Ocean. The national decision is based on national state implementation of different international agreements on the conservation of the Arctic Ocean and maritime biodiversity at the UN. The process of national implementation has produced national conflicts between petroleum stakeholders on the one hand and stakeholders of fishery and maritime conservation on the other. Politically, it is impossible to obtain a decision within the Norwegian government to secure the permanent conservation of key areas of the ecosystem. The key areas are the most important sea areas for the fisheries and for tourism in Norway, the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands and the ice-front of the Barents Sea. The national experiment with ecosystem-based management has one outcome. The marine ecosystem based management is centralized at the Oil Drilling & Ecosystem Management Planning of the Barents Sea