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About the symposium

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Photo: Inger Lise Næss / Norwegian Polar Institute

General
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. DNV GL is a co-organizer and sponsor of the Symposium.

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.

The members of the Steering Committee are:

Kings Bay Unni Steinsmo, Chairman
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
Erlend Opstad
Ministry of Education and Research Pål Sørgaard / Berit Nereng
Ministry of Climate and Environment Fredrik Juell Theisen
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Else Berit Eikeland
Ministry of Justice and Public Security
Hanne Margrethe Ingebrigtsen / Øystein Mortensen
Research Council of Norway Kirsten Broch Mathisen
DNV GL
Lars Almklov
CICERO Steffen Kallbekken


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

Background

In 2004, the Board of Directors of Kings Bay Ltd, discussed the future strategic course for the company. As a former coal mining company owned by the Norwegian State, Kings Bay had been converted into an organization responsible for running the Arctic research station in Ny-Ålesund. Particularly, during the last 15 -20 years Ny-Ålesund had 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 a annual event, The Ny-Ålesund Symposium. The first was held in 2006.

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.

HRH Crown Prince Haakon is the patron of the Symposium and has been participating in the event in Ny-Ålesund.

Statkraft, one of Europe's largest producer of renewable energy and a leading power company in Norway, was the sponsor 2008-2013. DNV-GL (Det Norske Veritas-Germanischer Lloyd), the international classification society, "safeguarding life, property and the environment" is the present sponsor and co-organizer. 

During the event in Ny-Ålesund, Kings Bay is responsible for all the practical arrangements. CICERO, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo, has been the Secretariat in recent years.

Knut M. Ore, was as Chairman of the Board of Kings Bay central in the establishing of the Ny-Ålesund Symposium in 2004. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Symposium from the start to 2014.