Stakeholder workshop on the future Barents Sea, risks, mitigation and adaptation options

Benjamin Planque
Institute of Marine Research


Stakeholders in the Arctic have a desire to know what the future will bring. They were therefore taken on a joint exploration of the possible states of the Barents Sea by the horizon 2050.

In August 2019, the Nansen Legacy, together with the BarentsRisk project, arranged a stakeholder workshop with the title “The future Barents Sea, risks, mitigation and adaptation options”. The workshop was attended by seven researchers (IMR, UiB) and ten stakeholders, representing the following organizations: the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear safety authority, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Norwegian Polar institute, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Equinor, Fiskebåt, Biotech North and the World Wide Fund For Nature.

The objective of the workshop was to undertake a joint exploration of the possible states of the Barents Sea by the horizon 2050, the associated risks and the possible ways to mitigate or adapt to them. The workshop was divided in four sessions. Session #1 focused on risks and ecosystem services, session #2 focused on futures for the Barents Sea, session #3 consisted in group work to explore how risk may change under future scenarios and session #4 discussed science-stakeholder interactions.

During these sessions, a broad range of issues were discussed. Some salient points that emerge from the presentations, group work and discussions are: • different stakeholders have different ways of defining risk and managing it • the notion of ecosystem services is not part of the culture of all stakeholders and it should be better communicated • among all future scenarios considered, the global governance perspective was considered most often and associated to increased risks • science-based (fact-based) policy is valued by stakeholders; communication between stakeholders and scientists is valued by stakeholders • dialogue between parties is an important tool to reduce risk, and the dialogue method used in the meeting is perceived as a good way to identify the most pressing issues.