OSLO, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- There is an increased number of foreign researchers who go to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the Norwegian government wants to have more control of these activities, newspaper Aftenposten reported on Wednesday.
Low prices have stopped operations in most coal mines on Svalbard and many people have lost their jobs in the company of Store Norske, which has survived thanks to the big state transactions in the last years, according to Aftenposten.
The Norwegian Parliament's standing committee on foreign affairs and defence is about to announce their stance on the government's report on Svalbard that was delivered in spring.
After the report the coal prices have almost doubled and Store Norske has been estimating to upshift if the prices stabilize at current level.
According to Aftenposten, the future of Svalbard is, however, not in the coal production, and "tourism, higher education and research will build the Svalbard society."
The government's report says the main points in Norwegian politics on Svalbard are consequent sovereignty of Norway and peaceful and stabile management. In order to achieve political credibility, it is necessary to ensure "presence, settlement and business."
One of the main areas in the future is research. According to the writer and company consultant Per Arne Totland, the Norwegian government wants a better control over the working activities on Svalbard, specially in the research town New Alesund.
There have been about 1,000 foreign researchers who came to Svalbard from around 30 countries during a period of one year and, according to the number of publications and research days, Norwegian participation has decreased in the last 10 to 15 years.
According to Aftenposten, there are institutions from 10 countries in New Alesund.
Now the Norwegian government would like to "develop the Norwegian host role" and strengthen management and coordination of the research work. This might, according to Aftenposten, imply a wish for better control.
As the ice on Svalbard melts, the geopolitical and strategic significance of the northern areas increases.
The Norwegian Polar Institute, which is the Norwegian authorities' expert and strategic advisor in the polar issues, should get an executive key role in New Alesund, Aftenposten wrote.
However, there are reactions to the institute's different functions as a research organization and also a host for other institutions that coordinates all the research.
Aftenposten concluded that although the government had assertively decided to "tighten the grip," there still might be difficulties with the implementation of their plans. Enditem