Working group on cooperation in Svalbard
Surprisingly, the Svalbard Arctic archipelago was never included in international discussions on governance or cooperation issues related to the rapidly changing Arctic. It is noteworthy that Norwegians authorities have been very careful at excluding any Svalbard considerations from their official documents on High North Strategy. Nonetheless, the Svalbard archipelago, with no doubt, is highly concerned with potential consequences of climate change in the Arctic.
Under the terms of the Paris treaty 1920, the Svalbard is under the Kingdom of Norway sovereignty which is tied to respect an equal treatment of the Parties. One may think of this legal arrangement as a rather sleeping one, but a quick look at the recent adhesions to the Paris treaty (Lithuania, Latvia, South Korea, North Korea) will show just the opposite, namely that Svalbard is currently undergoing a strategic positioning process involving the international community.
As a signatory State and the depositary State of the 1920 treaty, and the first after Norway, to have established a scientific station in Svalbard, Ny-Ålesund, in 1963, France which has firmly demonstrated its ambition to promote a vision of common interest in the Arctic (“France National roadmap on the Arctic”, June 2016), would benefit from having a clear picture of Svalbard governance, notably as far as scientific and economic activities conducted by nationals from the parties to the Treaty, are concerned.
This is the objective that the Working group on cooperation in Svalbard (WGCS) is aimed at achieving.
Composition of the WGCS
|Former Special Representative for Polar Affairs, founding-president of NGO Le Cercle Polaire.|
|Biologist, expert in environment, founding-member of NGO le Cercle Polaire, editor in chief of “Pôles Nord & Sud” magazine.|
To be confirmed
|Former Prefect of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, former Senator, former Lecturer at Ecole Centrale, Paris.|
|President of the Departemental Council of Savoie, former Minister, past MP, President of the expert mission on « Ecological, economic and geopolitic challenges of climate change in the Arctic and the Antarctic » at the foreign Affairs council, National Assembly, registered on the 8th of April 2015.|
|Vice Asmiral of the French National Marine Reserve, member of the Wise Pens think tank, co-author of several studies on the Arctic, including « Naval challenges in the Arctic » in 2013 and “Arctic, the ocean of tomorrow” in 2015, and “Arctic training” in 2016.|
|Emeritus Research Director at National Center for Scientific Research, former executive Director of the French Polar Institute “Paul-Emile Victor”.|
|Former Deputy-Mayor, Rapporteur of the expert mission on « Ecological, economic and geopolitical challenges of climate change in the Arctic and the Antarctic » at the foreign Affairs council, National Assembly, registered on the 8th of April 2015.|
|International Affairs consultant, former Minister.|