About the symposium


Photo: Inger Lise Næss / Norwegian Polar Institute

The Symposium is organized by Kings Bay AS in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and the Research Council of Norway.

The purpose of the Symposium is to help:

  • Disseminate knowledge and create awareness and understanding of Svalbard and the Norwegian polar interests specifically, and the High North issues and global environmental issues in general
  • Promote Ny-Ålesund and Kings Bay as an international environmental research and monitoring station, and on Svalbard as a research platform.
  • Create an arena that Norwegian politicians can use to create awareness and interest in the High North issues, both nationally and internationally.
  • Linking knowledge of the northern areas of global knowledge.
  • Build networks.

Picture from the symposium 2010, from left: Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland, H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Chairman of Kings Bay and Ny-Ålesund Symposium Knut. M. Ore


In 2004, the Board of Directors of Kings Bay Ltd, discussed the future strategic course for the company. As a former state owned coal mining company, Kings Bay had been converted into an organization responsible for running the Arctic research station in Ny-Ålesund. Ny-Ålesund have been developed into a leading, international polar research station with scientists from many countries. Research done here has become increasingly important for understanding the global threat of Climate Change.

With its unique location at 79 degrees north, where climate changes are so visible, with the spectacular natural environment, its historical buildings, and with a symposium venue shielded from all sorts of outside distractions, it would be a perfect place for a high level conference on various aspects of the climate changes and its global implications. As a State owned company with focus on Corporate Social Responsibility this would match well.

It was decided to establish an annual symposium in 2006.

Knut M. Ore, the current Chairman of the Board of Kings Bay, took the initiative and established the Ny-Ålesund Symposium. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Symposium from the start in 2006 to 2014.

The following ministries accepted to be co-organizers: The Ministry of Climate and Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Education and Research and Ministry of Justice and Public Security. In addition, The Research Council of Norway also became one of the organizers. The minister of one of the five ministries serves as host each year.

Over the years, a large numbers of Ministers, heads of UN-organizations, NGOs and other international organizations, senior business executives and bureaucrats have attended. The symposium has been an important international meeting place.

HRH Crown Prince Haakon is the patron of the Symposium and has participated several times.

During the event in Ny-Ålesund, Kings Bay is responsible for all the practical arrangements. CICERO Center for International Climate Research, is the Secretariat.