9 million for environmental protection measures on Svalbard
Svalbard’s environmental protection fund has today allocated NOK 9 million to environmental protection projects in the spring application round.
Svalbard’s environmental protection fund must be used to the best of the environment on Svalbard by contributing to the implementation of measures to protect the natural environment and cultural heritage on the archipelago. The fund will work to initiate and stimulate good projects and measures that aim to safeguard the high environmental goals set for Svalbard and help ensure that Svalbard’s distinctive wilderness nature is preserved as a basis for experience, knowledge, and value creation.
All visitors to Svalbard pay an environmental tax which accrues to Svalbard’s environmental protection fund. The fund also receives income from fees for hunting and fishing licenses, fees, and compulsory fines according to the Svalbard Environment Act.
The fund can only be used for measures on Svalbard which aim to protect the environment through the protection and safeguarding of the natural environment, cultural monuments and the cultural environment, and for projects with training and information purposes. In the spring 2023 application round, 44 applications have been received with a total application sum of approx. NOK 16 million for projects within cultural heritage, research, reuse, tourism, information, training and facilitation. Of these, 27 applications received support.
This year’s priorities
Each year, the fund receives detailed priorities from KLD, which guide what the fund can support. When processing applications and allocating the fund’s funds, the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund shall in 2023 prioritize projects such as:
– contributes to ensuring that tourism in Svalbard is in line with the environmental goals for Svalbard and is channeled to the areas around the larger local communities in the Isfjorden area
– increases knowledge about the impact of climate change and/or the overall burden of human activity on the natural environment and cultural heritage
– promotes measures to safeguard cultural heritage
– contributes to the prevention and reduction of pollution, waste and marine litter
– promotes circular economy
There is great variation among the incoming applications and funds have been allocated within all application categories. In this round of applications, most support has been granted for cultural heritage projects with a total sum of NOK. 3,361,200
Among other things, funds are given for repairing the foundation at Gjestehuset 102, Kings Bay AS has received funds for the same measure at “Hvitt hus” in Ny-Ålesund.
The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) has received funding for a project they call “Skeletons in the closet”. They will use material from excavations carried out both in the 1980s and now in the 2020s and look at the differences in decomposition in the context of the fact that Svalbard is warming. Store Norske has received funding for the installation of fire alarms and escape routes in the Cable Car Central, which hopefully means that the building is one step closer to being able to open more to the public. Svalbard Museum has received funding to make stored and frozen archaeological material available.
Waste and pollution
Aktiv i friluft has received funding for a clean-up project in Isfjorden, the project corresponds to “project Forlandet”, a very well-executed event in 2022.
In this application round there was a smaller number of research applications than in previous application rounds, of those submitted there are still many good applications and NOK 2,556,825 has been granted for various research projects. Here we can e.g., highlight Akvaplan NIVA and NINA’s projects on “Mapping migration and area use for sea trout, Atlantic salmon” and “Humpback salmon in Svalbard and Svalbard salmon – genetic tracking and electronic tagging”. These are projects that are important for managing the species in the right way.
Svalbard Recycling Workshop has received an additional grant for its project which promotes reuse, repair and circular economy.
Information and training
Longyearbyen Local Government has received funding to organize a sustainability week where many different activities are planned that focus on sustainability, e.g. seminar, debate, climate quiz, author visit, student exhibition, art exhibition, recycling festival in Føniks, climatologist, climate bath and climate roar to name a few. Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen is a well-known biologist who has had a major impact on nature conservation both on Svalbard and on the mainland. This year marks 150 years since “Norway’s first green stocking” was born and the Norwegian Polar Institute wants to mark this with various lectures, an exhibition at the Svalbard Museum and several other events. The Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund will contribute support to the events taking place on Svalbard.
AECO has received funding for a project where they will develop a climate plan and Visit Svalbard AS has received funding for an informational film about the sustainable use of nature.
Next award round – new opportunities!
The next allocation round will be in the autumn of 2023. The board estimates that the announced funds will be around NOK 10 million.
Svalbard’s environmental protection fund reminds that all applicants must meet the requirements set for the content of the application and at the same time justify concretely and practically how the measure falls under the purpose.
As a general rule, the necessary permits must be in place before applying for support. It is also important that the application explains how the project contributes to increased environmental benefits, in line with the guidelines for the fund.
The board wishes to invite active dialogue with potential applicants. We are open to input and reflections that can specify in what ways the fund can contribute to realizing measures that can be used in the short and long term to supplement ongoing projects and create synergies that contribute to safeguarding the high environmental goals set for Svalbard.
Current applicants are encouraged to contact the secretariat for discussions about project ideas and any guidance in the application process before the next application deadline of 15 September 2023.
All applicants are sent a letter with the decision and any conditions. For a complete overview of this spring’s allocation, please refer to the attached list. We reserve the right to make errors in the summary at this time.
Hanne Eriksen (adviser, secretariat) tel. 79 02 43 51
Pål Prestrud (chairman of the board) tel. 970 71 50