Torill Eidsheim on Svalbard. Photo: The Storting.

Torill Eidsheim on Svalbard. Photo: The Storting.

What happens in the Arctic …

On Wednesday 16th September, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) arranged a webinar on the Arctic and climate change.

“It’s certainly not a given that the OSCE’s parliamentary assembly would involve itself in what happens in the Arctic, but it’s a pleasing, promising and – to be frank – completely necessary – development,” said Torill Eidsheim (Conservative Party), the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Arctic Issues.

“Even for people in Norway, living close to this wild and seemingly unspoilt nature, it can be easy to assume that the changes taking place in the Arctic are isolated and a long way away; that they simply don’t concern us. The Arctic must seem even more remote if you live in a country where basic democratic rights and security are under threat.”

“But these changes are actually happening, and they will affect us all,” said Eidsheim. On 16th September, she chaired a webinar on how MPs can set the agenda for more focussed and binding climate action.

Read more about the webinar

A rapidly changing area

The Arctic is an area in rapid change, both major environmental change and increasing activity.

“My aim is to help raise awareness and understanding about how to create sustainable development in the Arctic; not least to make people realise how much we depend on knowledge-sharing and international cooperation,” Eidsheim said.

“The current climate crisis isn’t something that the nations of the Arctic have created themselves, but is a result of global emissions. We are totally dependent on a joint global effort to cut emissions.”

“That said, we know that developments in the Arctic also have an impact on the rest of the world. When the ice melts, it doesn’t just mean that sea levels rise, but this lack of sea ice means that more sunlight is absorbed. This in turn brings about an even more rapid rise in temperatures, with dramatic consequences for the whole world. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t just stay in the Arctic,” she added.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world’s largest regional security organization. Torill Eidsheim is a member of the Storting’s Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), which is the organization’s parliamentary dimension.

Agreement on a number of projects

“Within the OSCE PA we’ve reached agreement on a number of projects. Our collaboration needs renewed strength, and those of us working on behalf of Norway will do our best to make sure that this happens. Cooperation and relationships are vital aspects of being able to solve climate questions and to ensure continued sustainable development in the Arctic.”

“International cooperation at a parliamentary level – not least in Europe – is more important than for a long time. The world is changing rapidly, with increasing instability in established relations. Norway is thoroughly committed to ensuring peaceful cooperation and development in the world.”

“We were given an abrupt wake-up call about our vulnerability when the COVID-19 pandemic hit us in March. There will be a post-COVID-19 world, but quite possibly not a pandemic-free future. Working together to find solutions will be absolutely necessary to combat viruses, air pollution and climate change. We are acutely aware of our responsibilities in the OSCE PA, and will continue our efforts for security and cooperation,” Eidsheim concluded.

Last updated: 22.09.2020 10:49