The Government of Iceland is organising, jointly with NATO, a seminar in Reykjavík on 29 January 2009 on “Security Prospects in the High North”. The aim of the seminar is to bring together ministers, officials and academics from NATO countries, NATO Headquarters and the Strategic Commands to discuss current and future strategic implications of the developments in the High North for the Alliance and individual Allies.
Important changes are under way in the High North which will have a broad impact on international affairs. The shrinking of the Arctic ice cap and technological advances are making the region´s energy resources more accessible. At the same time, new trans-arctic shipping routes are opening and are expected to alter global transportation patterns. The economic interests are reflected in a growing global awareness in the region, competing claims by relevant stakeholders, and resumed military presence in the area. As it is a region of enduring strategic importance for NATO and allied security, developments in the High North require careful and ongoing examination.
The opening address of the seminar will be delivered by Mr. Geir H. Haarde, Prime Minister of Iceland. The keynote speech will be given by Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Secretary General of NATO. The seminar will be chaired by Mrs. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.