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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In Norway, the Ministry of Agriculture bears the main responsibility for agriculture.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Instruments to strengthen the integration of environmental concerns into agricultural policy are being further developed. Administrative systems for promoting environmental considerations in agriculture have been improved with the establishment of monitoring systems and the introduction of a systematic annual evaluation of the results of the policy. The Ministry of Agriculture will also develop and implement an environmental action plan. The main policy instrument is regional and structural support, and this and environmental goals and programmes are negotiated annually between the government and the two farmers’ unions, and laid down in the Agricultural Agreement. Measures are targeted towards specific purposes to promote cost-effective action.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The national policy on sustainable agriculture and rural development was revised in 1992 (Report to the Storting No. 8 (1992-93)) and subsequently adopted by the Storting in 1993. A second revision of the policy started in 1998 and a report on Norwegian agriculture and food production was presented to the Storting in December 1999 (included in the Storting’s agenda for the spring session 2000).

Environmental considerations have been part of agricultural policy since the 1970s, and in 1992 the main principles of sustainable development were also included. These principles comprise sound management of natural resources, preservation of ecological functions, vulnerable species and ecosystems, and conservation and development of the cultural landscape with the emphasis on cultural monuments and its recreational value. The main strategy now is to integrate environmental concerns in agricultural policy in order to find overall solutions. Agricultural policy is also intended to reduce air and water pollution. In recent years more attention has been focused on ecological methods of production, the development of organic farming (including marketing) and the multifunctional role of agriculture.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Agricultural policy instruments are routinely reviewed in connection with the Storting’s approval of the annual agreement between the farmers’ organisations and the Norwegian government. Reindeer husbandry should in its turn be ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable, taking into consideration the Sami people as an ethnic group with status as indigenous people. 

Programmes   and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Norway is the northernmost country in Europe, and agriculture is carried out further north than in any other country in the world. Norway's mainland extends from 58ºN to 71ºN. Norway is sparsely populated with a population density of 13 inhabitants per km2. The topography is such that farms tend to be small, productivity is relatively low and there are large distances between producers and markets. There are however considerable regional variations in conditions.

Regional development is seen as vital for maintaining the geographical distribution of the population, especially in the most remote regions. Agricultural policy is the primary means of fulfilling this goal, particularly in less favoured regions where there are few alternatives to employment in agriculture. The geographical distribution of agricultural production is regulated by various means to encourage labour-intensive production in areas where alternative industries are scarce. Over the past decade, there has been growing emphasis on the promotion of interaction and complementarity between agricultural and regional policies, and an emphasis on environmental goals. Rural development is intended to maintain settlement patterns and to ensure equality in living conditions throughout the country. Creation of new industries, especially for women, is the major challenge today

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

The Rural Development Support Scheme (RDSS) was established in response to the challenges rural communities are facing in relation to employment and changes in the settlement structure. The RDSS is intended to supplement general regional aid by providing an incentive for small-scale operations that can provide employment to replace disappearing jobs in agriculture. The target group is people attached to farm holdings. Environmental sustainability is a precondition for support from the RDSS. The Ministry of Agriculture seeks to combine the interests of the industry with environmental and cultural concerns. RDSS funding is available to both men and women, but special priority is given to women.

In the past few years, administrative systems dealing with environmental policies and agriculture have been reorganised, thus raising the level of competence in the public administration. New formal mechanisms at both central and local or regional level are helping to integrate environmental and rural priorities into overall agricultural policy, and are promoting a more efficient approach to sustainable development at the regional and local level. Additionally, some private institutions have been established.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

Long-term plans for research in agriculture (1998-2005) have been drawn up setting out the goals, strategies, and priorities for agricultural research. The aim is to provide the knowledge required for sustainable management of nature and production of food, forest products, and other products and services based on biological resources, land resources, and sustainable rural development.

Financing 

State aid and funding allocated by the Ministry of Agriculture to the promotion of sustainable agriculture totalled NOK 3800 million in 1998. Rural development schemes accounted for NOK 567 million in the same year.

Cooperation

Norway takes part in the work of the Nordic Gene Bank and the Nordic Gene Bank for Farm Animals, both of which have been established under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. These organisations have been involved in reviewing Norway’s national strategies and have provided additional funding and external human resources. Furthermore, Norway is working to promote sustainable agriculture within the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 2000.

For access to ODIN (Official Documentation and Information from Norway), click here:
For access to the homepage of the Ministry of Agriculture, click here:
For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The national institution responsible for atmospheric protection is the Ministry of Environment which is a member of the National Committee for Sustainable Development and the National Committee for International Environmental Questions. An Inter-ministerial Steering Committee On Climate Change and Acid Rain was established in 1991 to coordinate Norway's policies on these issues at the national and international level, and to ensure a cross-sectoral and cost-effective approach in the identification and implementation of these policies.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

National legislation to protect the atmosphere has generally been reviewed and revised in light of Agenda 21. In 1995, the Government submitted a report to parliament on the Norwegian policy to mitigate climate change and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). This White Paper introduces measures which enhance the national climate change policy programme. These include measures aimed at improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy sources, introducing voluntary agreements in industrial sectors not currently subject to the CO2 tax, setting requirements for methane (CH4) recovery from landfills, and promoting activities implemented jointly in the pilot phase (as decided by the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC). The White Paper also reiterates the important principle in Norway's climate policy that all policies and measures at both national and international levels should be cost-effective.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Four major Norwegian environmental NGOs (Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature, Nature and Youth, Greenpeace Norway, and The Future In Our Hands) have formed an alliance on climate change issues.

Programmes and Projects 

The programme "Technology for reduction of greenhouse emissions" (KLIMATEK) began early 1997. KLIMATEK is co-financed by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The Ministry for Petroleum and Energy emphasises projects promoting energy saving and renewable energy sources. In addition, a strategy has been developed to give priority to ESTs and programmes which may contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect.

Status 

Norway does not produce ozone depleting substances. The consumption of halons was phased out on 1 January 1994, the consumption of chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) and carbon tetrachloride on 1 January 1995, and the consumption of methyl chloroform and hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFC) on 1 January 1996. Methyl bromide is going to be phased out by 2010 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) by 2015. Emissions of greenhouse gases totalled 51,000 gigagrammes (Gg) in CO2 equivalents in 1994, which is roughly the same as in 1989 and 1990. This total level of emissions does not take into account the increased uptake of CO2 stemming from the enhancement of sinks, implying that Norway's net contribution to climate change has been reduced since the turn of the present decade.

In 1991, Norway introduced a CO2 tax which at present is applied to sources of 60% of Norwegian CO2 emissions, but covers almost all energy related emissions. Exemptions from the CO2 tax are intended to preserve international competitiveness related to mineral oils used in air transport, ships engaged in foreign trade, the North Sea supply fleet, and the national fishing fleet, as well as to CO2 emissions associated with the production of steel, aluminum, cement, and concrete.

Norway will maintain its current high CO2 tax level, while adopting a more comprehensive approach to combating climate change. In the policy area, there is a joint programme involving the Norwegian oil industry and Norwegian authorities. Voluntary agreements with the industry limit emissions of greenhouse gases that are not subject to the CO2 tax. The Government gives high national priority to the use of more energy-efficient and environmentally safe technologies in industry, transport, energy production, and to Environmental Impact Assessments. The Government also continues to maintain and strengthen the system of grants to new renewable energy sources, such as bio-energy.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

The Government supports climate- and ozone-related research. Important studies on the effects of ultraviolet radiation and ambient air pollution have been undertaken. A substantial amount of climate-related research is carried out to improve understanding of atmospheric processes and the relationship between oceans and the atmosphere, and between economic processes and their impacts on climate change. Research and development of technology, especially in the energy and industrial production sectors, is supported by the Government and industry.

Financing 

Norway established a National Fund in 1991, mainly for climate change purposes, with an annual budget of NOK 30-75 million. The Fund is in part used for contributions to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and in part for the national programme on Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ).

A State Environmental Fund will be established in 1998, with the purpose to inspire both development and use of ESTs by granting loans on favourable terms. Particular attention is to be given to the reduction of greenhouse emissions.

Furthermore, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate provides grants for the reduction of NOx emissions from ships. These are given as direct financial contributions.

Cooperation

In Norway, the Montreal Protocol (1987) was ratified on 24 June 1988, the London Amendments (1990) on 18 November 1991, and the Copenhagen Amendments (1992) on 3 September 1993. The Vienna Adjustment was ratified in 1995. The latest report to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat was prepared in 1996.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was ratified on 9 July 1993. The latest communication of information related to its implementation was submitted to the UNFCCC secretariat in 1994 and the next is to be submitted in 1997. A report on greenhouse gas emissions in Norway 1990-94 was submitted to the secretariat in 1996.

 

Norway is committed to the process of strengthening the UNFCCC by adopting new and legally binding commitments, based on equitable burden-sharing. It is a Norwegian aim to actively contribute to the development of practical and effective policy instruments at the international level. As part of this ambition, Norway has co-funded three pilot projects on AIJ in cooperation with the World Bank (in Mexico, Poland, and Burkina Faso), and funded a bilateral pilot project in Costa Rica. Further cooperation on AIJ is under preparation.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1997.

Norway's second National Communication under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, is available under:
The Report to the Storting No. 41 (1994-95) on Norwegian policy to mitigate climate changes and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) - Summary is available under:
For information on air pollution from the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, click here:
For national information on climate change, click here:
For national information on ozone layer depletion, click here:
For information on acidifaction in Norway, click here:
Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment (the Department of Nature Conservation and Cultural Heritage, the Section for Biodiversity and Biotechnology) is the body primarily responsible for biodiversity and genetic resources.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The most important acts which can be used for biodiversity and area protection are the Nature Conservation Act and the Svalbard Act. In addition, there are conservation initiatives stemming from other acts, such as the Planning and Building Act, the Wildlife Act, the Act Relating to Salmonids and Freshwater Fish, the Cultural Heritage Act, the Act on Saltwater Fishes, and the Aquaculture Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Priority is given to integrating sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in all sectors and at all levels of society. All relevant sectors are participating actively in the preparation of a National Action Plan on Biodiversity which will be presented in a Parliamentary Report on sustainable development to be issued in spring 1997. Related legislation will be reviewed according to the conclusions of the action plan. In general, several parastatal bodies and institutions, as well as NGOs representing academic and private sectors, are involved in the national, regional, and local planning processes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

Protection of species is primarily secured by conservation and proper management of habitats. In Norway, protected areas consists of 18 National Parks, 76 Landscape Protected Areas, and 1172 Nature Reserves. In addition, there are several action plans for managing species requiring special attention (for example, threatened species and game species). Species covered by the Wildlife Act and the Act Relating to Salmonids and Freshwater Fish (terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and other freshwater organisms) are at the outset under the principle of general protection.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In order to improve the coordination of collecting, storing, and presenting environmental data, the Ministry of Environment has established a network of 10 thematic centres. The centres will together cover all sectors relevant to environmental issues/data collection.

Monitoring of Environmental Biodiversity is an overall programme planned to be established by the year 2000. It is recommended that the programme be based on ongoing monitoring activities as well as on the need for new biological registrations. It is recommended that the management of the various monitoring programmes still resides with the authorities and institutions presently responsible, but the overall organizational responsibility is to be placed with the Directorate for Nature Management.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

In 1995, the Norwegian Research Council received approximately US$8 million in national funding for research on subjects related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Biodiversity is increasingly integrated into the educational system at different levels from primary school to universities. The establishment of Centres for Environment and Development at all universities has strengthened environmental capacity in the educational system. In 1994, the number of scientists in the field of biodiversity was approximately 400. In universities, the number of courses on biodiversity at the Masters and Doctoral levels has increased.

Funding for biodiversity-related measures within the budget of the Ministry of Environment in 1996 was: ecosystems and species management US$74.5 million; outdoor recreation US$12.1 million; climate/air pollution/organic waste US$79.2 million; land use planning US$21.7 million; Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems US$19.8 million; and research and information US$24.5 million. Funding for environmental measures from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries in 1996 was US$132 million and US$42 million respectively.

Cooperation

Norway is party to four international conservation and sustainable use instruments related to biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. A country study on biological diversity in Norway was issued in 1992 as a follow-up to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The first Norwegian report on the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention will be submitted by June 1997. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 1976. The latest report submitted to the Secretariat was in 1995. Other pertinent instruments are the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar), and the Convention on the Conservation on Migratory Species (Bonn).

The Government attaches great importance to international cooperation regarding R&D, as well as legislation on biotechnology. In May 1993, the Ministry of Environment, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), arranged a conference of experts on biological diversity in Trondheim which was attended by scientists, managers, bureaucrats and policy-makers, as well as representatives from international organizations and NGOs from 79 countries. In July 1996, the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with UNEP, the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), arranged a conference on Alien Species in Trondheim. One hundred and eighty scientists, managers, and policy-makers from developing and developed countries, as well as representatives from international organizations and NGOs attended this second Trondheim Conference. Norway will also contribute actively to strengthening the scientific basis for decisions to be made under the Convention on Biological Diversity by arranging workshops and other fora.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on biodiversity in Norway, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available. 

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Norway is not an affected country partner under the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa. Norway's role concerning the Convention is as a donor to affected developing countries. These contributions are directed through multilateral channels as well as regular bilateral aid programmes. Additionally, activities implemented jointly to combat climate change may yield benefits in terms of land use and protection.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In 1991, Norway introduced a CO2 tax which at present is applied to sources of 60% of Norwegian CO2 emissions, but covers almost all energy related emissions. Exemptions from the CO2 tax are intended to preserve international competitiveness related to, for example, mineral oils used in air transport.

The Government gives high national priority to the use of more energy efficient and environmentally safe technologies in industry, transport, energy production, and to Environmental Impact Assessments. The Government also continues to maintain and strengthen the system of grants to new renewable energy sources, such as bio-energy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In 1995, the Government submitted a report to parliament on the Norwegian policy to mitigate climate change and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). This White Paper introduces measures which enhance the national climate change policy programme. These include measures aimed at improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy sources, introducing voluntary agreements in industrial sectors not currently subject to the CO2 tax, setting requirements for methane (CH4) recovery from landfills, and promoting activities implemented jointly in the pilot phase (as decided by the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC).

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects 

The programme "Technology for reduction of greenhouse emissions" (KLIMATEK) began early 1997. KLIMATEK is co-financed by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The Ministry for Petroleum and Energy emphasises projects promoting energy saving and renewable energy sources. In addition, a strategy has been developed to give priority to ESTs and programmes which may contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect.

The programme for energy conservation is managed by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration and paid by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Local energy agencies are responsible for running energy conservation programmes. There are several local programmes in action.

Within the special programme for energy conservation and indoor climate (MEIS) it is documented that schools have saved up to 20 % of their energy consumption and made a contribution to improving the indoor climate. Databases for energy saving programmes and indoor climate programmes are established.

Status 

Ninety nine percent of the electricity generated in Norway is hydro-generated. Thus water plays a crucial role in the country's energy supply, with an ensuing potential for conflict between industry interests and conservation considerations.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

Research and development of technology, especially in the energy and industrial production sectors, is supported by the Government and the industry.

In 1995, the Ministry of Environment established the Norwegian Centre for Sustainable Production and Consumption (GRIP). GRIP collaborates with organizations in specific business areas to develop, field test, and promote methods that increase eco-effectiveness (value added per unit environmental load). GRIP functions like a catalyst for more efficient use of energy and other resources.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1997.

The homepage of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is available under:
For access to the homepage of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration, click here:

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Agriculture is primarily responsible for the forest sector. Other ministries and institutions actively involved in forest matters are the Ministry of the Environment, county and municipal forest authorities, the State Forest Service, the Norwegian Forest Research Institute, the Norwegian Forestry Society, the Forest Extension Institute and the Norwegian Institute of Land Inventory. Major groups active in forestry include the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A wide range of measures, including legislation, taxation, economic support schemes, extension services and administrative procedures are employed in implementing the forest policy. The Forestry and Forest Protection Act (1965, amended in 1993) is the main legal framework for forest management. Other laws regulating the forest sector are the Nature Conservation Act (provisions for conservation of forests), the Planning and Building Act and the Outdoor Recreation Act. The Government has initiated a revision of the Forestry and Forest Protection Act, partly with the aim of achieving better integration of environmental aspects.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Norwegian forest policy was revised in 1998 - 1999, and a white paper on this was submitted. The policy was adopted by the Storting in June 1999. The white paper presents an updated national forest programme in which the UNCED decisions, the proposals for action from the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and the results of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe are given special consideration.

The development, revision and implementation of the forest programme is a continuous process supported by various inter-ministerial committees to ensure that the programme becomes an integral part of Norway’s national sustainable development strategy. Appropriate coordination mechanisms have been established to ensure participation by county and municipal authorities, forest owner organisations, forest industries, NGOs, research and extension institutes and other stakeholders. The Ministry of Agriculture has encouraged development of county forest strategies, and developed guidelines for strategic planning at municipal level.

A national plan for the protection of coniferous forests was begun in 1991. The objective is to establish a network of strictly protected areas of representative and distinctive types of forest. An evaluation done in 1995 revealed that highly productive areas and large, almost untouched areas are not sufficiently well represented in the protection plan. It was therefore revised and expanded in 1995 - 1996.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects 

In 1995, the forest sector (including the forest industry) in collaboration with several NGOs, labour organisations and customer interests and the forest and environmental authorities started a 3-year project called "Living Forests". Information and competence building were important aspects of the project. The main result was, however, the development of a set of criteria, indicators and standards for sustainable forest management, adapted to national conditions, and within the framework of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. These criteria and indicators are important tools for policy development, policy monitoring as well as reporting. The negotiated standards form the basis of a certification system for the forestry sector in Norway.

Status 

Area of forest and other wooded land cover a total of 12 million hectares, which amounts to 37 per cent of the area of Norway. The volume of growing stock has more than doubled since 1920, and was 650 million m3 in 1999. The net annual increment is 22 million m3, while annual removals are 8-10 million m3. Approximately 80 per cent of the forest area is in private ownership, divided among about 120 000 properties. This means that responsibilities and authority relating to forests are to a considerable extent in the hands of a large number of individuals.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Information on forestry issues and forest policy has increased substantially after UNCED. The Ministry of Agriculture makes funding available for forest information annually, and information campaigns are either initiated directly by the Ministry of Agriculture and the county offices or by the Norwegian Forestry Society and the Forest Extension Institute. The Norwegian Forestry Society promotes the understanding of the many ways in which forests are important. The Forest Extension Institute disseminates expertise and information about forestry and related topics to forest owners, workers and officers. Additionally, the forest owners’ organisations have taken on substantial information tasks and programs (e.g. in connection with biodiversity and the forest as a carbon sink).

Forest resources have been systematically assessed by the National Forest Survey since 1919. The 7th countrywide survey started in 1994 and was completed in 1998. The survey has been improved in the light of international commitments and national requirements. A comprehensive nationwide programme recording the effects of forest policy on the environment, covering harvesting, regeneration, forest road construction and forest planning, has been developed over the past 4 years. Together with forest and environmental information gathered through the National Forest Survey, the program is designed to evaluate and provide guidance for forest policy measures.

In 1997 the Ministry of Agriculture introduced an environmental registration project aimed primarily at improving knowledge of forest biodiversity and key biotopes. The main objective is to develop a scientifically based mapping method, which can be used as a tool in forest property management planning. Regular inventories will start on a small scale in 2000.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Norwegian Government has signed the International Tropical Timber Agreement.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

For access to the homepage of the Ministry of Agriculture, click here:

For national information on forest resources, click here:

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The charge of coordinating water resource management and development is divided among several agencies, the most important of which are the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration (a subsidiary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy), which is in charge of the management of the country's water resources, particularly as regards power generation, and the Norwegian Pollution Control Agency (a subsidiary of the Ministry of Environment) which is in charge of preventing pollution, noise and waste.

At the regional level, regional offices under the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration and the county governors are involved in the management and development of water resources. Water resource management is among the areas where the subsidiarity principle applies in Norwegian administration.

The Norwegian agricultural administration (the Ministry of Agriculture, the county governors and the municipalities) is responsible for water resources management affecting the agricultural sector, such as water supply and irrigation. The Ministry of Agriculture reports upon request to international fora. In addition Statistics Norway reports on agricultural matters to Eurostat. Norway submits annual reports issues related to development cooperation to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The most important legislation with regard to water resources management and development is the following:

- the Watercourses Act, to be replaced in 1998 by the Water Resources Act,
- the Pollution Control Act, 1981,
- the Municipal Health Services Act, 1982.

The Planning and Building Act (1985) facilitates coordination of national, county, and municipal activities; and provides a basis for decisions on the use and protection of the environment. Under the Act, municipalities may establish environmental goals for their water resources and the environment in the vicinity of these resources during their physical planning. The Regulation for Water Supply and Drinking Water (1995) gives a set of requirements for drinking water quality, deliverance security, etc. for water plants. The municipal councils approve the water supply systems in accordance with the Regulation within the municipal borders.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are several plans in place for integrated land and water management and development:

1. a plan for improving water quality in the Oslo Fjord area, the most densely populated part of the country;

2. a plan for the preservation of 341 watercourses whose conservation value is regarded as superior to their value for electricity generation. (Total energy potential of these watercourses is approx. 35 TW.);

3. a plan for utilization of watercourses, particularly with a view to possible energy production. The watercourses are classified according to conservation value and energy potential. (Total energy potential is approx. 24 TW.)

A plan of action against floods was adopted by parliament in 1997. Disaster preparedness as regards drought is not applicable to the environmental conditions in Norway.

There is no centrally formulated pricing policy for water use. Providing water is the responsibility of local authorities, and prices vary greatly. Water supply and wastewater treatment are municipal utilities financed by a usage fee levied by the supplier. There is no special tax on water use, and no plans to introduce any.

National Policy Guidelines and national standards are being formulated to help the municipalities set their own environmental objectives for freshwater within the municipal borders. A classification system for water quality assessment has been established and will form the basis for biological and chemical water quality criteria. Efforts are being made to establish the necessary systems to ensure efficient and systematic collection, processing, storage and retrieval of information on the quality of water resources.

River systems have been designated as a target area for regional planning and land use policy as regards natural resources. Joint land use plans for major river systems have been drawn up by several counties. Coordinated water resource planning is for instance being implemented for the Glomma, Numesdalslågen, and Femund/Trysil rivers.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

All policy and legislative proposals are circulated to all relevant parties in order to collect commentaries and to secure a broad representation of opinions. This also applies to NGOs, community and women's groups as stakeholders in a particular policy or piece of legislation. The reference groups are selected based on their importance either as stakeholders or as a capacity regarding the issue under consideration. Major environment NGOs are active watchdogs with regard to the management of water resources, and are important hearing bodies mainly through their network "The Cooperation Board on Nature Conservation" (SRN). The Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers is particularly concerned with restoring lakes and watercourses from acid rain damage by carrying out voluntary liming projects, in close cooperation with central, regional, and local nature management authorities.

Programmes and Projects 

A national programme for improving water supply was launched in 1995 with the goal of securing satisfactory and safe water from all waterworks supplying more than 100 persons, i.e. roughly 85 percent of the population.

Status 

Conflicting interests over water resources may arise. This is handled in two different ways depending on the character of a particular conflict. Conflicts between private parties are handled by the courts. Conflicts related to development projects (e.g. for hydropower) are handled as part of the licensing process.

Water supply and quality

Norway has an abundance of water and supply is adequate for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. Eighty-seven percent is drawn from surface water. In 1994, withdrawals of ground and surface waters were 0.3% of available water. Domestic consumption was 260 ltrs/capita/day.

Water supply and sanitation coverage is universal in Norway. Although most of the freshwater is of satisfactory quality, the government has during the last ten years been encouraging waterworks to increase the share of groundwater, for environmental reasons as well as considerations of economy and public health.

Water quality is measured with national standards based on ISO standards. According to WHO guidelines faecal coliform must not be detectable in a 100 ml sample. All freshwater will now and then exceed this level from natural causes, even in the absence of man-made pollution.

Critical loads of acid deposition are exceeded in 117,000 km2 which comprises a third of the total Norwegian land area. From 1960 to 1990, the total area with damaged fish stocks increased fivefold. Out of 13,000 fish stocks controlled, near 2,591 stocks have gone extinct and 2,914 are endangered. Acidification is mainly due to long-distance airborne pollution (SO2, NOx ) from Great Britain and from Central and Eastern Europe.

Water supply and wastewater treatment is financed through a local fee called "Water and Wastewater" which every household is required to pay to the municipality.

Ninety nine percent of the electricity generated in Norway is hydro-generated. Thus water plays a crucial role in the country's energy supply, with an ensuing potential for conflict between industry interests and conservation considerations.

Special restrictions on land use are being introduced in order to protect drinking water sources from pollution. Such restrictions are compensated financially.

The main principle in developing water supply has been that the overall benefit to society should exceed the cost.

It is a national goal that, as a general principle, all measures to modernize the municipal sector should be completed by the year 2000. Norway has built several wastewater treatment plants with secondary treatment (chemical purification) over the last few years, and a secondary phase is planned for all plants (with freshwater recipient) with more than 2000 p.e. Two wastewater plants have included a phase of nitrogen removal, and three plants have started building the nitrogen removal phase. Nitrogen is not a large problem for freshwater in Norway.

The capacity for waste water treatment is about 5.4 mill pe. Sixty seven percent of urban sewerage is treated. For waste water treatment, Norway applies EU Directive 91/271/eec and recipient assessments. For water purification, 500 new drinking water disinfection plants and 500 additional plants for colour removal are needed. At present, 65% of water is treated before used as drinking water. The target is to increase this percentage to 100%.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

A national monitoring programme for water quality in lakes and rivers was initiated in 1980. The programme currently includes monitoring 1,000 lakes and determining the effects of eutrophication in 355 lakes. Discharge into the sea is monitored in approximately 20 rivers. In addition, short-time monitoring on clean-up and restoration works are also carried out.

Norway has about 670 hydrological stations covering any area from 0.5 to 40,000 sqkm. Data are collected at least daily, in many places continuously.

The following information on water management and development is regularly collected:

- agricultural sector: Estimates of influx of environmentally toxic substances and estimates of outflows of nutrients and agricultural chemicals are performed by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment/State Pollution Control Agency and the environment advisory service of each county governor.

- household sector: Local waterworks collect information on organic load, nutrient salts, environmentally toxic substances (at some stations only) and hydrological loads.

- industrial sector: Industry itself reports on various emissions, mostly such as are subject to prior approval, to the State Pollution Control Agency and the environment advisory service of each county governor.

The information is distributed as reports, fact sheets, statistics from the agencies in charge. The information is stored in electronic data banks which may be accessed by the competent authorities only.

Research and Technologies 

Main institutions for research on water management, including resource use, are:

Research is mainly funded by the institutions themselves or by the Research Council of Norway.

Under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway the following research programmes are presently active in the field of freshwater management:

In addition all the universities have several research projects related to water management.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Norway is a signatory of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, and has concluded several bilateral agreements concerning individual watercourses.

In Norwegian development cooperation it is generally accepted that economic development and improved living conditions for vulnerable population groups cannot be achieved without at the same time addressing natural resource management. Norwegian environmental efforts in development cooperation are focused on four areas: natural resource management, protection and sustainable use of biological diversity, reduction and prevention of pollution problems, and protection of cultural heritage. Water resource management is a primary concern particularly in natural resource management and reduction and prevention of pollution problems, and a major factor in sustainable use of biological diversity.

Norway cooperates both bilaterally and through multilateral organisations with a number of developing countries. Many projects and programmes include water management, but few have this as their main component. Bilateral support to water resource management in 1997 amounted to NOK 6.6 mill., whereas the share of the water management component in other energy and water programmes is estimated at approximately NOK 15 mill.

Since 1993, Norway assisted the Zambezi River Action Plan (ZACPLAN) in Zambia, supported the setting up of the River Board in Tanzania, and indicated willingness to support the Government of Zimbabwe in its efforts to commence work on a national water strategy. Norway also supports the strengthening of cooperation between the administrations of Zambia and Zimbabwe in assessing and protecting the ecosystem in Lake Kariba. The lake is a tremendous food resource and determining the level of sustainable exploitation is a major task of the project. Several other projects regarding drinking water supply and sanitation in these two countries are also being funded.

Norway's assistance to water resource management programmes and projects administered by multilateral organisations amounted to approximately NOK 22 mill. (USD 3 mill.) in 1997.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1997.

Statistical information is available from Statistics Norway at:
For access to the homepage of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration, click here:
For information on acidifaction in Norway, click here:
For information on eutrophication in Norway, click here:

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The body primarily responsible for land-use management is the Ministry of the Environment (Department for Regional Planning and Resource Management) which is also a member of the National Committee for Sustainable Development and the National Committee for International Environmental Issues. Decisions by the Ministry of the Environment are made after consultation with other ministries involved.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The 1985 Planning and Building Act is the primary legislation dealing with land use management in Norway and thus, also an important instrument of environmental and natural resource policy. The last major amendments to the Act were made in 1993. In March 1997, a white paper on regional planning and land use policy was submitted to the Storting. This dealt with planning in mountain areas, the coastal zone, rivers, and cultural landscapes, and presented guidelines for reducing transport through land use planning. The Planning and Building Act is now being revised in response to the conclusions of the white paper. The revision will also focus on ensuring that the Act functions as a tool for promoting sustainable development, the conservation of biological diversity, and environmentally friendly use of energy. The revision is also intended to improve public participation and simplify the Act. A first report will be presented in the second half of 2000.

The current Planning and Building Act sets out the different responsibilities of the central authorities, the counties, and the municipalities as regards land use planning. Regional planning to ensure sustainable land use management is an important task at both county and municipal levels. It is important that planning at both levels includes goals and programmes to find appropriate forms of multiple land use, both for areas where there has previously been little development (coastal zone, rivers, and large mountain areas) and for more developed areas (towns and urban areas).

According to the Act, each county council is responsible for preparing a county plan, a comprehensive plan outlining development activities within a sustainable framework. The plan lays down guidelines for the use of land and natural resources in the county, and concerning matters that will have major impacts beyond the boundaries of a municipality.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Each municipality is obliged to prepare a municipal master plan, consisting of a long-term and a short-term component. The long-term component covers goals for the development of the municipality, sector planning, and land use. The land use part, which is legally binding, is to be reconsidered for major revision once each election period (every four years). The short-term component consists of an integrated programme of action for the sectoral activities during the next few years. This part is not legally binding, but provides the political framework for the municipality to establish priority between activities. Municipalities also prepare detailed plans (local development plans) with associated provisions which regulate the use and protection of land, watercourses, sea areas, buildings, and the external environment in specific areas of a municipality.

Both the county plan and the municipal master plan must be drawn up within the framework of national guidelines. An integrated approach is ensured as plans are required to "coordinate the physical, economic, social and cultural planning within their areas." The county governor is required to ensure that the policy and propositions comply with national goals concerning economy, nature conservation, and pollution. Although the local and regional authorities have extensive responsibilities for planning and managing land resources, the Ministry of the Environment can overrule plans or projects if they conflict with national goals.

In some fields, national standards are set which influence land use. An example is noise pollution, which affects land use planning. Generally speaking, biodiversity cannot be saved, for example, simply by preserving areas. Biodiversity problems must be solved within a "sustainable use" framework, that is by application of the Planning and Building Act. This requires integration of environmental and land use planning.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The system of environmental impact assessments (EIA) is used for larger scale projects. This system, as well as encouraging public participation through the planning process, is an important contribution to local and regional involvement.

Through policy guidelines and monitoring the planning process at county and municipal levels, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for ensuring that planning takes place within the broad framework of national priorities. Thus, county and affected state sector authorities participate to inform about national and regional interests. In addition, they are given the right to object to a proposed plan based on consideration of national interests. Participation is the principle and objections a safety valve. Provided there are no objections from the county or affected state expert authorities, the plans may be finally approved by the municipal council. In the case of objections, the plan is sent to the Ministry of the Environment for final decision unless the municipality takes the objections into account.

The Planning and Building Act states that "affected individual persons or groups" shall be given an opportunity to participate actively in the planning process. This may be accomplished through meetings with the parties involved, by direct consultations, or by actively involving individuals or groups to provide input into the planning process. This involvement may even imply the active participation of the local community in developing the plan. Planning authorities are obliged to actively inform from an early stage in the planning process. When a draft plan has been prepared, the existence of the plan shall be announced publicly and made available for inspection by the public. Information and development programmes play an important part in bringing about change at the local level.

Public participation is in focus in the implementation of the objectives of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) in national policy. Dissemination of best practice and networking is being facilitated by the setting up of offices in all counties. Special attention is given to the integration of LA21 at municipal level as well as all sectors of central government.

Programmes   and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

A temporary ban on construction of shopping centres outside central areas of cities and towns was laid down by the Government in early 1999. The purpose of the ban is to bring about stronger regional coordination of the policy for the establishment and expansion of major shopping centres. The intention is to strengthen existing city and town centres and to avoid unnecessary urban sprawl and further dependency of vehicular travel.

Better accessibility for all is the main goal of an initiative to improve the physical surroundings for the disabled. Inclusion of the needs of the disabled are to be integrated in the planning, in line with UN standard Rules for Equalisation of Opportunities for Disabled persons. The municipalities play a key role in a four year programme assigned to the Ministry of the Environment.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Dissemination of national policies and ensuring a basic level of knowledge on land use planning at regional and municipal level is the goal of a series of conferences being initiated by the Ministry of Environment.

Information 

The Ministry of Environment is coordinating a monitoring programme to monitor land use development in vulnerable areas and to provide municipal planning authorities with improved documentation on important indicators of area qualities on which to base the planning process. The programme focuses on several aspects, for example, land use monitoring in the coastal zone, land use statistics for towns, satellite mapping, and land use information systems in municipalities and counties. The topics all use geographic information technology, such as administrative electronic registers, digital maps, or geographic information systems (GIS).

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing
Financing land use planning is within the ordinary budgets of the municipalities and the county municipalities. The planning authorities at each level are responsible for financing the plans. Private proposals for local development plans are financed by the proponent.

Cooperation

Norway participates in the Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning (CEMAT) under the Council of Europe. This organisation is concerned with planning guidelines at the European level, and is working on charters for rural and mountain development and on Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent.

Norway also takes part in inter-regional cooperation on spatial planning of the North Sea Region and the Baltic Sea Region. This is within the European Union (EU) initiative Interreg IIC to help restore regional balance, foster trans-national cooperation, and improve the impact of EU policies on spatial development. Other topics covered include coastal zone planning, urban land use planning, and management of natural resources. Norway is taking part in preparing programmes for a continuation of this co-operation on spatial development concerning the period 2000-2006, Interreg III.

In the Baltic Sea Region, Norway is in 1999-2000 chairing a committee on spatial development. The objective of this initiative is to integrate all nations bordering the Baltic Sea into international co-operation on spatial planning. One of the main tasks of the Norwegian chairmanship is to ensure progress in the revision of a spatial vision for the region is a main task of the Norwegian chairmanship.

 

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

Report No. 29 (1996-97) to the Storting on Regional planning and land-use policy, click here
For information on natural and cultural landscapes in Norway, click here
Report No. 29 (1996-97) to the Storting on Regional planning and land-use policy is available under:
For information on natural and cultural landscapes in Norway, click here:

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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The bodies mainly responsible for sustainable mountain development are the Ministry of Environment, the Directorate for Nature Management, and Statsskog (State-Owned Land and Forest Company) at the national level; the County Governor and the county municipalities at the regional level; and the municipalities at the local level. In addition, there are several other sectoral institutions at each of the three levels that have interests in such areas and participate in the decision-making processes.

Legislation related to mountain areas includes: the Nature Conservation Act, the Mountain Act, the Planning and Building Act, the Wildlife Act, the Pollution Control Act, the Cultural Heritage Act, the Act Relating to Salmonids and Freshwater Fish, the Open-Air Recreation Act, and the Act Relating to Motorized Traffic in Marginal Land and Water Courses.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Nature Conservation Act has been, and will be in the years to come one of the major legal instruments to secure biodiversity of mountain regions. On a national level, large mountain areas are already secured through the existing Norwegian national park system. According to a new, approved Action Plan for National Parks, the protection of mountain areas will be extended significantly by the year 2008. One of the main tasks of regional planning is to ensure sustainable land use management in such areas. National and regional protection plans pursuant to the Nature Conservation Act are important, but they are not sufficient on their own to achieve Norway's environmental policy goals of maintaining viable ecosystems and biological production and diversity.

In recent years, counties have begun to draw up joint land use plans for several large mountain regions in southern Norway. Work is in progress for Setesdal Vesthei, the Dovrefjell area, and the eastern Hardangervidda. A joint land use plan for the Rondane mountains in Hedmark and Oppland counties was approved by the central authorities as early as 1992. Several of these plans involve coordinated land use management pursuant to the Planning and Building Act in the peripheral zone, and protection plans pursuant to the Nature Conservation Act in the core area.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The following NGO groups are involved in mountain issues: NGOs for out-door recreation, for example the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT); fishing and hunting groups, for example, the Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers (NJFF); nature conservation groups, for example, the Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature (NNV), the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF), the Norwegian Botanical Society (NBF), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and the local mountain board (Fjellstyrer).

Programmes   and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

In Norway, the mountain region covers an area of approximately 155 000 km2 or nearly half of the Norwegian mainland. However, the relative economic importance of the mountain regions to the country is less than 1%, and the number of people living in these areas is very small. The most important livelihoods are farming, forestry, and tourism. A number of social, economic, and cultural incentives have been made for farmers or mountain communities to commit themselves to conservation of mountain areas and to remain in these areas. Such incentives include: funds (compensation) to land-owners for establishing special nature conservation areas; grants to farmers to maintain and develop cultural landscapes; grants to farmers to compensate for damage caused by predators; and grants for research.

Large mountain areas are used for or affected by several types of encroachments linked to road constructions, hydroelectric schemes, power-line corridors, industrial and other commercial projects, and housing. In this century, areas with a wilderness-like character have been reduced drastically. Such areas, located more than 5 km from a major technical encroachment, constituted 12% of the country in 1994, compared with 48% in 1990 (Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not included). Many of the wilderness-like areas that are left are located in the mountain regions and in the northern part of Norway.

In an international context, Norway has a particular responsibility for preserving a representative selection of its areas of fjords, coasts, and mountains. For instance, the Norwegian mountains represent the natural habitat for the original wild mountain reindeer in Europe, and Norway has, therefore, a special responsibility for conserving this species. The Government has designated large continuous areas of natural habitat as one of the main targets of its land use policy as regards natural resources.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In a special report, the Directorate for Nature Management has presented a mapping project focused on Norwegian environmental regions without human encroachments. The report gives an account of the importance of areas without encroachments in relation to the conservation of biological diversity and outdoor recreation. Future development will be continuously monitored. The report is meant to support management of areas and resources and facilitate decision making at the municipal and county level.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

Financing for sustainable mountain development is within the ordinary budgets of the Ministry of Environment (Directorate for Nature Management), the County Governor, the county municipalities, and the municipalities. Norway participates in the Conference of Ministries responsible for Regional Planning (CEMAT) under the Council of Europe and is working on charters for rural and mountain development.

Cooperation

Norway has signed the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Wildlife Habitat, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). These agreements have been taken into account in reviewing national strategies for mountain areas.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The main responsibility for oceans and coastal areas rests with the Ministry of Environment and its subordinate body, the State Pollution Control Authority. Some authority is delegated to state agencies at the regional level. The implementation of measures is the responsibility of the sectoral ministries, such as the Ministry of Fisheries, the Ministry of Industry, etc.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main acts for regulating ocean and coastal issues are the Pollution Control Act (1983), the Seaworthiness Act, the Nature Conservation Act (1985), the Planning and Building Act (1986), the Saltwater Fisheries Act, the Aquaculture Act, and the Harbour Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Norway has a National Oceans Policy which is fully integrated with the national strategy for sustainable development. All the programme areas of Agenda 21's chapter 17 are considered to be important or very important and have been well and fully covered.

Norway has established a coordinated approach to planning and sustainable management of the coastal zone with respect to accommodation, common property issues, pollution, biological diversity, nature conservation, cultural heritage, transport, industry, agriculture, marine culture, fisheries, and other business. In coastal areas, it is often necessary to complete municipal planning for several municipalities as a whole. Coastal zone planning within the framework of county planning on the basis of sustainable management of natural resources is in progress. The intention is to develop close regional cooperation on the management of the coastal zone, and thus make it easier to clarify different interests and areas of conflict between sectors.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

In Norway, major groups contributing to national decision making on oceans and coastal management include NGOs dealing with the environment, fisheries, aquaculture, industry; labour organizations (LO), and the fisheries organization (Norwegian Fisherman Association).

Programmes   and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

In principle, all pollutants to the oceans, especially hazardous substances, require international cooperation. Norway, therefore, participates fully and actively in all global and relevant regional cooperation for the protection of the marine environment from both sea-based and land-based activities. The issue of hazardous substances is fully addressed in national policy. It is stated in the report to Parliament concerning Norway's implementation of the North Sea Declarations that, as a matter of principle, all discharges of hazardous substances should be reduced to levels that are not harmful to man or to the environment by the year 2000.

In recent years management and development of the Oslofjord region has been in focus. As a result, the National Policy Guidelines for planning in coastal and marine areas in the Oslofjord were adopted in 1993. In effect, the guidelines define a national policy for the Oslofjord region. The implementation of the land use planning guidelines within the framework of municipal master plans and country plans is important.

Addressing sewage related problems is of very high national importance and is generally well covered. Norway is concerned about bringing sewage onshore in scattered areas, and has therefore not ratified Annex IV on Sewage of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention 73/78). Other sources of marine pollution are also receiving full attention, and environmentally less harmful pesticides and fertilizers are comprehensively promoted. Discharges of organohalogen compounds and other synthetic organic compounds are also comprehensively addressed. Promotion of environmentally sound technology and sustainable practices are considered very important and these aspects are generally well covered. Public awareness and information programmes are strongly supported.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Coastal vulnerability assessment is very important and well covered in research activities. Systematic observation of the marine environment is also very well covered by Norwegian research and marine science, and these activities will be further strengthened in the coming years. Norway initiated a study of phyto- and zooplankton in Arctic shallow lakes in 1995 to determine possible effects of ozone layer depletion. Annual assessments are regularly made of the state of the environment in coastal and marine areas and of living marine resources. In addition, Norwegian experience with the transfer of environmentally sound technology is often relevant to oceans and coastal areas.

There are no subsidies in place in Norway relating to ocean and coastal area issues.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was signed by Norway in 1982 and ratified in 1996. Norway has also ratified the agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

Norway has ratified the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) agreement on Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, and has been active in the FAO work on a Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing. Most of the important principles in these international agreements are applied in Norwegian fisheries management, and initiatives have been taken to implement the precautionary approach in fisheries. The further implementation of the specific provisions of the Code of Conduct will be considered when acts and regulations are revised.

Norway is at present one of the leading countries in, and hosts the secretariat for, regional North Sea Cooperation. The integration of fisheries and environmental issues is on the list of priorities in this process. Norway has pledged its support to FAO in assisting developing countries to implement the Code of Conduct in their national fisheries policies, and supports a global Fisheries Management and Law Advisory Programme (FIMLAP) implemented by FAO. Other important international forums for cooperation are as follows: the Oslo & Paris Commissions (OSPAR), the Bonn Agreement, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) at the regional level; and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO/MEPC), London Convention 1972, and the Ocean Pollution Research Centre (OPRC) at the global level.

The Nansen Programme provided by Norway supports developing countries in fishery research and management in order to promote utilization of marine living resources and an improved protection of the marine environment. The Programme's objectives reflect recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the spirit of international cooperation contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Programme carries out field work through surveys with the research vessel "Dr. Fridtjof Nansen" and produces basic information on resource abundance and distribution to satisfy immediate management needs. The long-term objective of the Programme is self-sufficiency in research and management in partner countries through the development and strengthening of their institutions. In 1995, "Dr. Fridtjof Nansen" has carried out research activities worth NOK 20 million.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the homepage of the Ministry of Fisheries, click here:
For national information on fish resources in Norway, click here:
Information on the International Conferences on the Protection of the North Sea is available under:
For information on radioactive pollution in northern ocean areas, click here:
For information on water pollution from the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, click here:
To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The bodies primarily involved in decision-making are the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Industry and Energy. The most important organization with which Norway cooperates in this field is the European Union (EU).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Through the European Environmental Agency (EEA) agreement, Norway has implemented several EU directives/regulations in the chemical field. These regulations, combined with already existing national regulations, have improved the control of harmful chemicals.

Norway has implemented a regulation concerning notification of new chemical substances, and thus takes part in the European notification system. This regulation implies that new chemical substances have to be tested with respect to possible hazardous effects on humans and the environment. The notification system contributes to avoiding new harmful chemicals entering the market.

Another important regulation which has been implemented in Norway is connected to the large number of existing chemicals already on the market. Producers and importers have to report all accessible information about health and environmental effects of these chemicals. The authorities in EEA countries will evaluate some of these substances and propose a strategy for risk reduction.

The Norwegian environmental authorities have also implemented a regulation concerning the export and import of certain dangerous chemicals, thus making the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure legally binding in Norway. Furthermore, Norway has a comprehensive regulation concerning classification and labelling of chemical substances and preparations which are dangerous to health. The provisions set detailed requirements with respect to classification, labelling, and sale of chemical substances and preparations. Norway has also implemented a regulation concerning classification and labelling of substances which may be harmful to the environment. The purpose of these regulations is to continue the efforts to prevent injury from substances and preparations which can be hazardous to health and environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The work in the chemical field has a high priority in Norway, focusing on evaluation of health and environmental hazards, risk assessment, and chemical management.

Several environmental NGOs are interested in the management of toxic chemicals and are working in several ways to disclose "old sins," and watch the new practices of industry and authorities. Industry has tended to comply with EU regulations and directives even before they are incorporated into Norwegian legislation.

By 1984, it was generally perceived that slow progress was being made in reducing pollution of the North Sea. As a result, a series of Ministerial Conferences were convened, attended by Ministers responsible for the protection of the North Sea. The first was held in Germany in 1984; the second in London in 1987; the third at the Hague in 1990; and the fourth in Denmark in 1995. At the end of each Conference, the Ministers from participating countries agreed on objectives by way of North Sea Declarations. These Declarations are not legally binding and it is up to each government to decide how to achieve the stated objectives. It has been agreed that Norway should organize the next Conference in the 2000-2002 period.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Norway plays an active role in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), especially in the work on harmonizing systems for the classification and labelling of hazardous substances. Furthermore, Norway also plays a very active role in the implementation of the North Sea Declarations, and the Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPARCOM). Norway participates in the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS), the European Commission for Europe (ECE) work with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and the activities at the Nordic level.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has adopted the policy that all cooperative activities must be assessed in terms of their anticipated environmental consequences, including questions of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes. The international programmes and projects specifically related to toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes include: monitoring and control of pollution from the aluminum industry in India; treatment and management of tannery wastes in Pakistan; integrated pesticide management in Nicaragua; training and laboratory facilities in Sri Lanka; investigation of problems related to paper-mill wastes in Zambia; and institutional capacity-building of authorities responsible for environmental policy and management related to toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nicaragua.

 

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on toxic chemicals and contamination in Norway, click here:

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legislative framework for the regulation of waste is the Pollution Control Act of 13 March 1981, and the Product Control Act of 11 June 1976. The Pollution Control Act, besides regulating the fundamental questions related to waste management, is to a large extent an enabling act giving authorities the legal basis to make regulations or individual decisions to effectively implement the act. The Product Control Act gives authorities the legal basis to make regulations or individual decisions on, for example, return and deposit schemes, recycling, and treatment of waste from products. In addition to the two acts, there are specific regulations for different types of waste and different questions related to management of waste. For example, a regulation concerning registration of waste management has newly been adopted. This gives a full overview on how waste is currently being managed.

The Pollution Control Act has a general prohibition against littering and makes anyone violating the prohibition responsible for whatever clean-up may be necessary. The Act gives the municipalities responsibility for collection and treatment of domestic waste. The municipalities' costs related to waste management is fully covered through waste management fees. The fees may, however, be differentiated when this will stimulate waste reduction and increased recovery.

The municipalities are obliged to draw up waste management plans to reduce and manage all waste generated in the municipalities. The Act makes the industry responsible for managing its own waste. The waste must be brought to a lawful waste facility unless it is recycled or used in some other way. Specific conditions for waste treatment and recycling are established in the individual discharge permits given to larger industrial activities. The Act states that anyone operating a facility for storage and treatment of waste must have a permit. The permit normally outlines the conditions concerning transport, treatment, recycling, and storage of waste.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A main priority in Norway's waste management policy is to increase industry's responsibility for the waste generated by their products. During recent years, special return systems for different types of packaging, lead batteries, and tyres have been established.

The main objective of Norwegian waste management is to ensure that waste-related problems are solved in such a way that waste causes as little damage and dis-amenity to the population and the natural environment as possible, while at the same time ensuring that waste and waste management utilize the least possible of the nation's resources. The main strategy for Norway's waste policy is to prevent the generation of waste and reduce the amount of harmful substances; to promote re-use, material recycling and energy recovery; and to secure environmentally sound disposal of the remaining waste.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

In 1993, Parliament adopted various amendments to the provisions on waste in the Pollution Control Act. These amendments provide a legal basis for requiring municipalities to cover the full cost of treatment of waste, to arrange the sorting of waste at source, and to make specific plans for waste management. In addition, a legal basis has been established for imposing requirements on industry in connection with collection, sorting, and disposal of waste.

In the packaging field, collection and recovery systems for corrugated board, cardboard, plastic, metal, beverage cartons, and glass have also been established. These return systems result from agreements between the authorities and the industry where the industry takes the responsibility for ensuring environmental sound treatment of their products when they end up as waste. Some of the agreements are supported by regulations or economic tools to strengthen them. In addition to these return systems, Norway has a system for collection and recycling of paper. An evaluation of potential return systems for others waste from electric and electronic products to buildings and installation waste is currently being conducted.

Industry has participated actively in the establishment of special return systems for different waste categories. For example, private companies owned by the different industries have been established and given the responsibility of running the different systems. Several of the Norwegian environmental NGOs are concerned about the way waste is handled and are working in several ways to ensure that waste is managed in an environmentally sound way.

To ensure that landfills and incineration plants in municipalities operate under satisfying environmental standards, considerably stricter regulations and follow-up measures for new landfills and existing incineration plants have been introduced in recent years. Plans for upgrading existing landfills have also been made.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Information and knowledge are important to secure proper waste management. The Norwegian Resource Centre for Waste Management and Recycling (NORSAS), which is jointly owned by the Government, the Confederation of Norwegian Industry (NHO), and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (Kommunenes Sentralforbund), has as its main task to provide information and knowledge to municipalities, industry, and others taking part in waste management.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

Norway generates about 14 million tons of waste per year: 4.7 million tons from mining activities; 3.6 million tons from building and construction activities, mainly consisting of soil, stones and concrete; 660,000 tons of hazardous waste; 1.2 million tons of domestic waste; and 3.3 million tons of industrial waste. The rest derives from different private and public activities.

A subsidy scheme for private and municipal investments in systems ensuring waste reduction, waste recycling, and promotion of cleaner technologies has been established.

Cooperation

There is close cooperation between the authorities in the Nordic countries in the fields of clean technology and waste. Norwegian authorities are participating on several working groups exchanging views and working towards achieving common positions and solutions to hazardous waste-related questions. Norway is actively taking part in the work under the Basel Convention and is also participating actively in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) waste management group.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on waste management in norway, click here:

 

Hazardous Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legislative framework for the regulation of hazardous waste is the Pollution Control Act (1981) and the Product Control Act (1976). The Regulation Concerning Hazardous Waste (1994) is the specific instrument concerning hazardous waste. It makes anyone in possession of hazardous waste responsible for ensuring that it does not cause pollution or injury to human beings or animals. It also obliges enterprises generating more than 1 kg of hazardous waste to deliver it to approved handling systems at least once a year. The regulation requires anyone who wants to handle hazardous waste obtain a permit. Furthermore, it obliges municipalities to ensure that they have adequate facilities for receiving hazardous waste from household and enterprises possessing small quantities of hazardous waste. There are also specific regulations for different types of hazardous waste, for example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs), waste oils, and batteries.

In 1993, Parliament adopted various amendments to the provisions on waste (including hazardous waste) in the Pollution Control Act. These amendments provide a legal basis for requiring municipalities to cover the full cost of treatment of waste, to arrange the sorting of waste at source, and to make specific plans for waste management. In addition, a legal basis has been established for imposing requirements on industry in connection with collection, sorting, and disposal of waste.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The main objective of Norwegian waste management is to ensure that waste-related problems are solved in such a way that waste causes as little damage to the population and the natural environment as possible, while at the same time ensuring that waste and waste management utilize the least possible of the nation's resources. The main strategy for Norway's waste policy is to prevent the generation of waste and reduce its amount of harmful substances; to promote re-use, material recycling, and energy recovery; and to secure environmentally sound disposal of the remaining waste.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The Norwegian Waste Management Company Ltd. (NOAH), which is jointly owned by the Government and nine large industrial companies, was established in 1991. It ensures that Norway has solutions for handling all types of hazardous waste generated in Norway.

Most of Norway's hazardous waste is collected by 40 licensed operators. These operators have a central role in the handling of hazardous waste. Most of the operators are organized in either SAO or Norsav. Several of the Norwegian environmental NGOs are concerned about the way hazardous waste is handled and are working in several ways to ensure that waste is handled in an environmentally sound way. The Confederation of Norwegian Industry (NHO) and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (Kommunenes Sentralforbund) contributes to work in the hazardous waste field, for example through their part ownership in the Norwegian Resource Centre for Waste Management and Recycling (NORSAS).

By the year 2000, practically all hazardous waste generated in Norway will be recovered or otherwise treated in approved Norwegian installations for deposit or refuse disposal. Norway currently generates about 660,000 tons of hazardous waste per year, from which about 39,000 tons are exported. The amount of hazardous waste with unknown disposal is about 20,000 tons.

Special return systems for lead batteries and waste oils has been established in which the industry has been given responsibility for ensuring recovery of their products when they become waste. The government also is considering establishing new special return systems for waste from electric and electronic products, from buildings and installations, from packaging used for hazardous waste, from Nickel Cadmium batteries and from waste containing PCBs.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In the late 1980s, Norwegian environmental authorities started in-depth mapping of land contaminated with hazardous and toxic substances. Remedial actions to take care of acute danger to health has occurred, and the risk of severe environmental problems is significantly reduced. Substantial work has been accomplished to develop methods and techniques to efficiently handle contaminated land. A programme to ensure that contaminated land will not represent a risk of serious environmental problems in the future has been established. According to the polluter pays principle, this work will be at the cost of the contaminator.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

A subsidy scheme for private and municipal investments in systems ensuring environmentally sound collection, handling, and treatment of hazardous waste; and the promotion of cleaner technologies has been established.

Cooperation

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed by Norway in 1989 and ratified in 1990. The Norwegian Regulation on Transboundary Shipments (1994), which implements the Basel Convention, is the main Norwegian legislation regulating transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. It prohibits all export of hazardous waste (waste listed on the amber and red lists) for final disposal, as well as for recycling, to all areas south of latitude 60 degrees and to all non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Norway has established all procedures necessary to comply with the obligations in the Basel Convention.

There is close cooperation between the authorities in the Nordic countries in the fields of clean technology and waste. Norwegian authorities are participating on several working groups exchanging views and working towards achieving common positions and solutions to hazardous waste-related questions. Norway is actively taking part in the work under the Basel Convention and the waste management group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD).

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

 

Radioactive Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The location, construction, operation, and further steps of nuclear installations are mainly regulated in Norway by three legal instruments: the Planning and Building Act, administered by the Ministry of Environment; the Radiation Protection Act, administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority; and the Atomic Energy Act, administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, in collaboration with other ministries concerned, will review existing radiation protection legislation with a view to updating and adapting rules and regulations in the light of technological and other developments.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes   and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

In Norway, radioactive waste is generated from the operation of two research reactors at the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Halden and Kjeller; and from the use of radionuclides in research, medicine and industry. Low and intermediate level waste is presently conditioned and stored at IFE. About 2000 drums and boxes are stored at IFE's facility in Kjeller and about 1000 drums, containing small amounts of long lived radionuclides, such as plutonium, have been buried at the site. The latter waste will be retrieved and transferred to a new storage and disposal facility when this is completed in 1997-98.

A process to select a suitable site for a repository of low and intermediate level waste in Norway has been under way since 1989. The concept of a combined storage and disposal facility and the selection of the Himdalen site, located not far from IFE's waste management facilities in Kjeller, have been selected. It is estimated that equivalent of about 10 000 drums of low and intermediate level waste with a total activity of approximately 200 terabecquerel (Tbq) including about 50 grams of plutonium will be generated by the year 2000 in Norway. This waste will be stored at the Himdalen disposal facility in a hard rock formation about 50 metres below ground level.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Norwegian Assistance Programme for Nuclear Safety is focused on measures to increase nuclear safety and prevent radioactive pollution, primarily in North-West Russia. A total of US$35 million has been earmarked for projects in 1995 and 1996. Approximately US$15 million is expected to be available in 1997. A number of projects has been identified in four priority areas: safety measures at nuclear installations; management and storage of spent uranium fuel and radioactive waste; radioactive pollution of the Northern Seas; and arms-related environmental hazards. With this Programme, the Norwegian Government wishes to address one of the most serious threats to security, human health, and the environment. Emphasis is put on increasing international cooperation and coordination, including Norwegian-Russian NGO cooperation. In addition, Norwegian authorities play an active part within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), LC-72, the Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA), and other international fora.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.


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