Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 519

  Briefing Note OIL DRILLING & ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PLANNING OF THE BARENTS SEA Allan Sande Introduction Biodiversity conservation in the Arctic is on the international agenda at the United Nations (UN). Greenpeace International calls upon the UN and governments for an immediate moratorium to save the Arctic Ocean from industrial development. The Arctic Ocean has historically been covered by sea ice, which has today suffered a significant reduction due to climate change. According to Greenpeace, the long term solution is an inter-governmental agreement to a permanent, equitable and overarching treaty or multi-lateral agreement that protects the Arctic Ocean’s environment and ecosystems and the peoples who depend on them ( The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OPG) is working on a Joint Industry Programme (JIP) for technological innovations in oil drilling in Polar Oceans to develop new technology for the emergency planning and management of large oil-spill disasters in ice conditions (Øvrebekk Lewis, 2013). This article presents the Norwegian solution to the oil and gas exploitation and biodiversity conservation of large sea areas in the Barents Sea, which is a part of the Arctic Ocean (Figure 1). In accordance with international UN agreements, the Norwegian state has implemented an ecosystem based management plan for large areas in the Barents Sea (Ministry of Environment, White paper nr.8, 2005-2006). This initiative is linked to the international conventions of biodiversity conservation and the Malawi convention of ecosystems (Sandstrøm, 2008). These international guidelines are based on user management at the lowest democratic level, the conservation of a large ecosystem and the use of local knowledge and natural science in the governance of nature. Allan Sande is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway.