Official visit to Iceland: Arctic Circle breakfast event
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning, everyone
Gođan daginn kæru vinir
I have been looking very much forward to joining you here this morning. Thank you to the Embassy for organising this annual breakfast event on the morning of the Arctic Circle Assembly. I have been wanting to attend the Assembly for some time, and this year I am very happy to finally be able to be here.
I would also like to commend Chairman Grimsson for your leadership – both during your long period as President of Iceland and as the founder of Arctic Circle. You and your organisation have managed to create a powerful platform for discussing Arctic issues on a broad level. This is becoming more and more important – not just for those who live in the Arctic itself, but for the entire world.
A special thanks to our Icelandic friends here as well. Iceland and Norway have a long history of excellent relations based on shared interests, culture and values. We bring a distinctly Atlantic and Arctic perspective into the Nordic family.
It is encouraging to see so many Norwegian participants and your international partners from a wide array of institutions and businesses.
By participating in the Arctic Circle, you are also helping to bring Norwegian perspectives on developments in the Arctic to a wider audience. Your experience and knowledge are crucial at a time when this region is attracting increasing global attention. I am looking forward to hearing about your activities and ideas for the future. We will all benefit from exchanging experience and insight.
We meet here in Reykjavik against a very challenging international backdrop. In these uncertain times, Norway remains committed to international law and to preserving structures for multilateral cooperation in the Arctic. These structures have served us well for nearly 30 years. We must ensure that the Arctic Council continues to be the key forum for cooperation on Arctic issues. Norway looks forward to chairing the Council from next year.
Arctic communities are witnessing first-hand the dramatic impacts of climate change. The ice cap is melting, and air and water temperatures are rising rapidly. Fully understanding the implications of this, and how to mitigate and adjust to climate change must be our top priority. We must accelerate the green transition.
We must also find ways to create jobs, educate people and provide opportunities for coming generations. In this process it is important that we listen to the indigenous population and to the young people of the Arctic.
The Nordic countries are already working closely together on these issues. And I am sure many of you here today are directly involved.
There is also potential to expand Norwegian-Icelandic cooperation in research, green and blue technologies, and sustainable management of the oceans.
The Icelandic-Norwegian agreement on Arctic research cooperation is now being renewed. It demonstrates our long-term commitment to strengthening cooperation between Icelandic and Norwegian scientists, and it continues the Nansen professorship at the University of Akureyri.
This is just one of the many ways we can work together to achieve our goals.
Friends and participants,
We have some exciting days ahead. I encourage you all to use them well! I wish you the best of luck.