The High North Center for Business and Governance at Nord universitet has officially launched its three-year project AlaskaNor: Opportunities for Blue Growth in Alaska and North Norway. Together with various partners in the United States and Norway we aim to strengthen Arctic relations between Alaska and North Norway with respect to the two region's blue economy potential.
Strengthening Positive Cooperation
AlaskaNor is partly financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and State Secretary Audun Halvorsen states that sustainable management of marine resources is a key part of the Government's High North Strategy.
– International cooperation and sharing knowledge about opportunities and challenges in the blue economy is important. I hope the AlaskaNor project will help strengthen the already good Arctic relations between Norway and the United States, and identify new opportunities for cooperation between Alaska and Northern Norway, Halvorsen said.
A key goal of AlaskaNor is to find good solutions that will benefit both regional and national interests and can stimulate blue growth in the High North.
Looking Forward to Working with the United States
The Director of the High North Center, Frode Mellemvik, says that the project is particularly important for developing knowledge between Norway and the United States:
– For the High North Center for Business and Governance , AlaskaNor is important. We have been working with Russia for a long time and we work with many other Arctic states, and this work is being further developed. Now we have the opportunity to work closely with USA, to find good solutions, also for them and for close cooperation in the High North, says Mellemvik.
Nordland County Municipality is also co-financing the project. County Council President, Tomas Norvoll, believes that AlaskaNor will open new paths:
– We must create sustainable blue growth in our arctic regions through marine resources. But the future of the Arctic can also mean offshore, energy, shipping and transport, Norvoll explains.
The United States and Norway have Common Interests
U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Kenneth J. Braithwaite, believes that the project will improve knowledge about blue economy:
– The future of the Arctic region is of vital importance to both the United States and Norway. For decades, Alaska—America's Arctic state—and northern Norway have played critical roles in the oil and gas, marine resource, and shipping industries that have contributed to the prosperity of both nations. In today’s rapidly changing Arctic, it is in our shared interest to support regional initiatives like AlaskaNor, so that we can better understand the common challenges and opportunities facing our northern maritime economies. Like dentify new ways for Arctic communities to actively participate in the blue economy and benefit from 'blue growth'; and strengthen our collaboration to ensure sustainable economic development in the region, says the Ambassador.