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Morten Høglund is Senior Arctic Official (SAO), i.e. Norway's ambassador for the Arctic and works in the Section for the Northern Areas, Polar Affairs and Resources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has for many years been a representative in the Norwegian Parliament and he has led, among other things, the Parliament's delegation for Arctic parliamentary cooperation.
The section where Høglund works is responsible for coordinating the government's Arctic policy and work with polar issues, including the Svalbard issue and international cooperation in the Arctic. This includes work through the Arctic Council. They also contribute to international cooperation on the management of living marine resources, including fisheries cooperation with Russia and the EU, as well as energy issues in the Arctic in a security and foreign policy context.
In addition, the section is responsible for operationalizing the northern area investment through the management of grant funds totalling NOK 160 million.
Will lead the Arctic Council
As Arctic ambassador, Høglund represents Norway in many contexts in connection with Arctic matters, i.a. in the Arctic Council. In 2023, Norway takes over the chairmanship. It was in this connection that Høglund and Ina Nygård Mossin (deputy SAO) visited the High North Center.
– We are in a process where we are preparing for Norway to take over the leadership of the Arctic Council, explained Høglund.
– Det skal lages et utkast til formannskapsprogram, som skal behandles av regjeringen i oktober. Hva skal Norge levere på, og hva skal de engasjere seg i? Vi er i ferd med å rekruttere et større team til vi skal overta det.
– We are in listening mode
Høglund said that the thematic deliveries will be important while Norway holds the chairmanship. They want input on and suggestions for this. The visit to the High North Center was part of this work.
We have three main issues: Ocean, climate and environment and sustainable development.
– Right now, we are in a listening mode, both to get input and to have a dialogue with you, and other players in the northern areas. If there is something we can do under the leadership of the chairmanship that enables us to clarify our work, then we want to know about it. We have three main themes: Ocean, climate and environment and sustainable development.
All of these are areas that the High North Center and Nord University Business School have knowledge of. During the four-hour meeting, Høglund therefore received a thorough introduction to both the Business School's study program around this, the work of the High North Center and, not least, several of the projects in which the High North Center and the Business School are involved.
Professor Grete Hovelsrud, who is president of IASSA (International Arctic Social Science Association), informed about the work of IASSA, which for the first time has its secretariat in Norway. The secretariat is part of Nord University and Nordlandsforskning, and IASSA is important in the work of the Arctic Council.
The visit ended with a peek into NORDLAB, which offers advanced simulation technology and IT-based decision support systems for planning operations and exercises in preparedness and crisis management for sea, land and air operations.
Senior adviser Hege Christin Stenhammer gave a demo of how their command, communication and control systems work and explained how they hold large-scale exercises and courses for both students, public agencies and the business world.
After the visit, Høglund expressed great enthusiasm for what they had seen and thought it had been instructive.
Director of the Nordic Center, Frode Mellemvik, was very happy about this visit.
– In our extensive work related to developing and disseminating knowledge about the opportunities in the northern regions, we have very good contact with the Parliament and the government, and in particular with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which coordinates the Norwegian Arctic policy.
– The visit by Morten Høglund and Ina Nygård Mossin gave us the opportunity both to tell them about what we do and about the plans we have for further development, as well as to have a good dialogue with them about what will happen in the period 2023-2025 when Norway holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We are looking forward to this period, and to the many opportunities that such a chairmanship provides for everyone who is interested in the northern regions.