9,1 million for environmental protection measures on Svalbard
Svalbard’s environmental protection fund has today allocated NOK 9,1 million to environmental protection projects in the autumn 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 autumn 2023 application round, 48 applications have been received with a total application sum of approx. NOK 21,8 million for projects within cultural heritage, research, reuse, tourism, information, training and facilitation. Of these, 25 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, the fund has received applications from several exciting local projects and several of these have received approval for their applications. In this round of applications, there has been a preponderance of research applications and it is this category that has received the most support with a total sum of NOK. 3,552,842.
Kings Bay AS has received funds to register objects in the museum loft in Ny-Ålesund.
The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) has received funding to expand the “Skeletons in the closet” project. They will continue their work with studying material from previous excavations and look at the differences in decomposition in the context of the fact that it is getting warmer on Svalbard.
The Norwegian Polar Institute has received funding for the “SVALMAP” project, where the fund will participate and contribute to the taking of high-resolution images that can be used in cultural heritage work and species management.
Waste and pollution
Aktiv i friluft has received funding for a beach clean-up project on Forlandet, they have carried out several similar projects in the past with very good results. Longyearbyen Lokalstyre has received funds to carry out a sorting analysis of commercial waste.
In this application round, there has been an excess of research applications, which is quite normal. There are many good applications and NOK 3,552,842 has been granted for various research projects. Here we can e.g., draw attention to the Norwegian Polar Institute which, through the development of new methods, will monitor seals through the project “SMILERS” and the Norwegian Institute of Natural Sciences (NINA) which, in collaboration with the Polar Institute, will further develop methods to increase mechanical monitoring of Svalbard grouse, which will reduce disturbance.
Alt i 3 has received funding for the purchase of a machine to press wood briquettes, which will utilize the residual product from their production and reduce the amount of waste. LNS Spitsbergen has received funding for a project where they will recycle asphalt locally and thus reduce the need to transport new and old asphalt up and down to the mainland.
Information and training
Svalbardposten has received funding for a project position where a journalist will write about climate and environmental issues.
The North Pole Expedition Museum has received funding to update the exhibition with new information about modern expeditions and the impact this has on the environment on Svalbard. Funds have also been given for a children’s book about research in the Arctic and UNIS has received funding for a citizen science project where the local population will be involved in collecting weather data.
Visit Svalbard AS has received funds to develop a climate calculator where the guest can calculate the climate footprint of a planned activity through the booking system Travelize. Funds have also been provided to improve non-motorized summer routes used by dog sledders. This will help to channel tourism activity to the areas around Longyearbyen.
Next award round – new opportunities!
The next allocation round will be in the spring of 2024. 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 1 February 2024.
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