Engaging NGOs on EU Arctic Policy and the Oil and Gas Industry: 12-13 November, Haparanda, Sweden
The Arctic NGO Forum of 12-13 November tackled the issue of NGOs in the Arctic context, and placed the development of Arctic resources into the larger picture of what was referred to as the “third industrial revolution” – the green economy – and its need for raw materials. This green revolution will be based, and indeed will depend, on low-carbon technologies potentially fueled by gas and gas carbohydrates from the Arctic. The Arctic Forum Foundation’s Secretary General, Steffen Weber, addressed the Forum in his capacity as an expert on EU policy development and the Northern Dimension energy strategy and who is also credited as the chief advisor on the EU Parliament’s Arctic Report. Bringing his personal experience in impacting the policy process at the EU level to bear, Mr. Weber blended the topics of energy development and the role of NGOs in the energy policy process; showing the possibilities for NGOs when cooperating with one another and/or interacting with third-party actors when dealing with the EU.
The section on EU Arctic Policy and oil and gas was chaired by John Crump of the UN Environmental Program, and featured Ramon van Barneveld, DG MARE, Marcus Lippold, DG Energy and Jaime Reynolds of DG Environment as speakers. Mr. Weber, Andreas Raspotnik of the Arctic Institute and Adam Stepien of the University of Lapland served as commentators.
The timing of the forum was particularly prescient given the first long-haul maritime shipment of LNG from Norway to Japan that took place just several days beforehand. It was noted that in terms of private sector participation, Shell was the only corporate actor present at the Forum, and not just as an observer; Shell representative John Blaauw addressed the Forum and took questions as well.