The total budget for High North activities for 2012 is NOK 1.5 billion, an increase of NOK 190 million from 2011.
“The Government’s budget proposal creates a good starting point for increasing Norway’s activities, knowledge and presence in the north. The aim is for Norway to be a leading actor in the development of the High North and the Arctic together with our neighbours, allies and partners,” said Mr Støre.
The allocation for petroleum exploration in the northern sea areas has been increased by NOK 45 million to NOK 164 million for 2012.
“A new oil and gas region is opening up in the north. Exploration, data collection and impact assessments are needed,” said Mr Støre.
Among the new budget items this year are NOK 6.8 million for the Storskog border crossing point and NOK 50 million for a new border guard station in Sør-Varanger.
The Galileo satellite navigation system is to receive NOK 103 million. The Government will also continue to support the mapping of the seabed under the MAREANO programme, which is to receive NOK 88.5 million. Work on implementing the national strategy for mapping organisms in the sea and on the seabed with scientific or commercial potential (marine bioprospecting) is to receive an allocation of NOK 25 million. NOK 40 million is to be allocated to development of the mineral-based industry. NOK 37 million is to be allocated to the further development of the Fram Centre, and NOK 30 million to the development of the maritime surveillance system BarentsWatch.
NOK 30 million is to be allocated for the construction of a new technology building at the University of Tromsø and NOK 30 million for studies on the impact of increased value creation in Nordland and Troms.
The Government also intends to fund concrete High North activities and project cooperation with Russia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget. Funding for projects on climate change, resources, transport and logistics, as well as for research on the High North as a basis for the further development of policy, is channelled through the Barents 2020 programme.