© Elisabeth Kruger / WWF

WWF Arctic Council Scorecard


Norway performed well in terms of considering environmental and biodiversity protection within most parts of its Arctic policy.

For example, it has significant terrestrial conservation areas within Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen that provide important refuge for Arctic biodiversity. Furthermore, it has shown willingness to engage and cooperate with other Arctic states to protect and manage natural resources and biodiversity. However, the lack of clear measures and implementation within some policy areas, as well as the unclear balance between environmental protection and Arctic development, raise questions about Norway’s Arctic priorities. For example, it has licensed petroleum production near the marginal ice zone despite the fact that it lacks the technical ability to clean up oil spills within such areas, and it lacks conservation areas within its Arctic waters outside of the 12-mile nautical zone. This also applies to its recently announced intention to mine copper in its Kvalsund municipality despite opposition from Indigenous groups and environmentalists.




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  • Norway is the only country involved in extracting petroleum products that also legally prohibits the flaring of gas, except in emergencies (Crit. 4.1.4-5).
  • Norway has banned the use of heavy fuels for some protected areas around Svalbard, though not for all its Arctic waters. It has also worked hard to implement an international ban on heavy fuels through the International Maritime Organization (Crit. 6.2.4).
  • Norway has made efforts to reduce the detrimental effects of its fishing industry on the marine environment (Crit. 1.2.1-2).
  • Norway has an extensive number of terrestrial conservation areas, especially around Svalbard and Jan Mayen, and the recognition of additional areas is in progress (Crit. 2.3.2).


  • Norway has been ambivalent about the balance between development and environmental protection. This ambivalence is exemplified in its long-standing record of requiring environmental impact assessments prior to petroleum activities in its Arctic waters. Experts have said that the high rate of allowances issued through such assessments raises questions about the weight given to development versus environmental protection (Crit. 3.1.1-4).
  • Norway has a strong regulatory framework for petroleum activities. However, its ability to coordinate and communicate among governmental agencies and operators with regards to oil spill preparedness and response has been heavily criticized. (Crit. 5.1.1; 5.1-3).
  • Although Norway has generally performed well with regards to biodiversity and ecosystem topics, there are no biodiversity-related objectives or provisions in its Arctic strategy. The strategy fails to elaborate on how such considerations would be applied in practice (Crit. 1.1.1).
  • Similarly, there is a lack of consideration in its policy statements on how to support the resilience and adaptation of Arctic biodiversity in the face of climate change (Crit. 1.1.2).
  • Although Norway is in the process of protecting areas of ecological importance, its marine protection areas currently only cover an area of about 12 nautical miles off the coast, leaving out a significant portion of its Arctic waters (Crit. 1.1.3).

Detailed ratings

C Biodiversity

  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity and its Resilience
  • 2/6
  • Sustainable Management of Living Resources and Habitats
  • 3/4
  • Monitoring Biodiversity
  • 3/4
  • Overall Rating
  • 8/14

All ratings for Biodiversity

C Conservation areas

  • Identification of Conservation Areas
  • 4/6
  • Protecting Areas of Ecological Importance
  • 1/4
  • Mechanisms to Safeguard Connectivity
  • 3/6
  • Overall Rating
  • 8/16

All ratings for Conservation areas

A Ecosystem-based Management

  • Environmental Impact Assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessments and Risk Assessments
  • 7/8
  • Assessment of Combined Effects of Multiple Stressors
  • 2/2
  • Arctic State Cooperation in Advancing Implementation of EBM
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 11/12

All ratings for Ecosystem-based Management

B Black Carbon and Methane

  • Short-lived Climate Forcers: Black Carbon and Methane Emissions
  • 8/10
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • 4/6
  • Climate Change Observation
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 14/18

All ratings for Black Carbon and Methane

B Oil Spills

  • National Action for Preparedness and Response
  • 1/2
  • Oil Spill Monitoring
  • 4/4
  • Oil Spill Prevention
  • 5/8
  • Overall Rating
  • 10/14

All ratings for Oil Spills

B Shipping

  • Protection from various shipping risks
  • 5/6
  • Actions to reduce air emissions from shipping
  • 3/8
  • Arctic Marine Traffic System
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 10/16

All ratings for Shipping