In Oslo, OSCE PA delegation urges continued focus on High North, Tsereteli names new Special Representative on Arctic Issues

OSLO, 24 May 2019 – Arctic countries need to maintain concerted efforts to safeguard the High North as an area of peaceful co-operation, while all OSCE countries must commit to the protection of the nature and biodiversity of the Arctic, a delegation of OSCE parliamentarians highlighted today in a visit to Oslo.

Oslo 1Left to right: Kari Henriksen, George Tsereteli, Ola Elvestuen, Nilza de Sena and Roberto Montella (Oslo, 24 May 2019)The PA delegation led by President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) included Vice-President Kari Henriksen (MP, Norway), Economic and Environmental Committee Chair Nilza de Sena (MP, Portugal), and Secretary General Roberto Montella. They met Friday with Storting President Tone Trøen, Minister for Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen, and Foreign Affairs State Secretary Marianne Hagen.

The meetings in the Norwegian capital took place following a field visit to the Arctic region, where PA Members explored the local and global impact of climate change.

“The High North has long been synonymous with peaceful relations between Arctic countries, and it is in everyone’s interest to see these reinforced,” said President Tsereteli. “It is our duty as parliamentarians to leverage our influence in our national parliaments and the international arena to nurture these partnerships, and ensure continued stability in the Arctic region to overcome existential environmental challenges.”

Oslo 2Left to right: Kari Henriksen, George Tsereteli, Tone Trøen, Nilza de Sena, Roberto Montella and Semyon Dzakhaev (Oslo, 24 May 2019)Throughout the week, parliamentarians discussed challenges emerging from Arctic warming, including busier maritime traffic, increased demand for safety and assistance services, and the potential for oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

“With the Arctic Sea expected to become ice-free in the coming decades, we can expect new challenges and new sources of tension. With the possibility of offshore exploration, high risk traffic is also likely to expand in the coming years,” OSCE PA Vice-President Henriksen. “It is therefore vitally important to maintain a high-level of dialogue between our countries to prevent the Arctic from becoming an arena for international competition.”

In meetings, the PA delegation also emphasized the need for all OSCE countries to consider the global effect of polar ice melting and commit more decisively to the protection of the Arctic wildlife and ecosystem.

“Our field visit this week was crucial to reestablish the centrality of environmental issues on the OSCE agenda and reinforce the linkage between climate change and security,” said Nilza de Sena. “The climate crisis is endangering the Arctic ecosystem first, but this is a global challenge that requires global solutions. It is up to all our countries to reduce carbon emissions and decelerate the melting of the Arctic before it is too late.”

SR on ArcticLeft to right: George Tsereteli, Torill Eidsheim, Nilza de Sena and Roberto Montella (24 May 2019)In order to support international co-operation and security dialogue in the High North, and alert OSCE parliamentarians to the threat of climate change, President Tsereteli appointed today Torill Eidsheim (MP, Norway) as Special Representative on Arctic Issues.

“Arctic issues are a matter of relevance for all OSCE countries. As a matter of fact, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic, but ripples throughout the globe,” said Eidsheim. “Changes that affect us all will inevitably occur; this is why it is crucial to increase our collaborative efforts to prepare for the future.”

Minister Ola Elvestuen, who had served previously as the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Arctic Issues, welcomed the appointment, noting that the PA offers a unique forum to more closely involve parliamentarians in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Eidsheim is expected to report for the first time at the upcoming Luxembourg Annual Session (4-8 July 2019), held this year under the theme “Advancing Sustainable Development to Promote Security: The Role of Parliaments.”

Photos of the visit are available on Flickr.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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