In Iceland visit, Special Representative on the Arctic and High North discusses challenges of the Arctic and its growing importance



081123 iceland photoMark Pritchard meets with Birgir Ármannsson in Reykjavík, 6 November 2023REYKJAVIK, 8 November 2023 – OSCE Parliamentary Vice-President and Special Representative on the Arctic and High North Rt. Hon. Mark Pritchard (United Kingdom) is concluding an official three-day visit to Iceland where he discussed security and environmental challenges that the Arctic is facing.

During his visit Special Representative Pritchard met with the Director of the Centre for Arctic Studies, at the Institute of International Affairs Pia Hansson, Speaker of the Althingi Birgir Ármansson, Ambassador and Senior Arctic Official of Iceland Pétur Ásgeirsson, Chair of the Icelandic Delegation to the Nordic Council Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, Chair of the Icelandic Delegation to the West Nordic Council and Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir and Chair of the Icelandic Delegation to the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region Líneik Anna Sævarsdóttir.

During the meetings, interlocutors briefed the Special Representative on the recent developments in the Arctic, parliamentary efforts and strategy to keep Arctic issues high on the agenda, co-operation with other Arctic states and elaborated on various aspects of security in the region. He exchanged views with the interlocutors on striking a balance between environmental and economic security, and discussed Iceland's role in providing platforms for addressing Arctic issues.

During the meeting with Icelandic parliamentarians, it was emphasized that despite political disagreements, it is imperative that research projects in collaboration with the Arctic states continue unabated. The pursuit of scientific knowledge and the shared understanding of Arctic challenges transcend political divisions and are crucial for the sustainable management and well-being of the region and its inhabitants.

081123 iceland photo 2Mark Pritchard visits the Icelandic Coast Guard to learn about their operations in the Arctic, 8 November 2023Pritchard’s interlocutors also emphasized that the Arctic is undergoing rapid environmental changes and is becoming an increasingly important region. “The fact that the Arctic is home to four million people underscores the importance of approaching Arctic issues through co-operation and diplomacy rather than relying solely on hard security measures,” said Special Representative Pritchard. “While the Arctic’s exceptionalism point is latent these days, the need for environmental protection make a collaborative approach essential for the well-being of the Arctic and its inhabitants.”

Today, Special Representative Pritchard visited the Icelandic Coast Guard to discuss search and rescue initiatives in the region, meeting CEO of the Arctic Circle Assembly Ms. Ásdís Ólafsdóttir to elaborate on the outcomes of the recent Arctic Circle Assembly’s meeting and Arctic Portal Director Halldór Jóhannsson to exchange views on research and data sharing initiatives.

For more information on the work of the Special Representative on the Arctic and High North, please click here.



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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