Security in the High North – Civilian vs. Military Ownership

The importance of security in the High North is growing alongside the increased tensions between Russia and Europe. Strategic importance, petroleum resources, fish and new sea routes attract a number of actors to the area. 

How can civilian methods be used more actively and reduce conflict, both between Norway and Russia, and with NATO’s presence in the High North? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different alliances in effecting conflict prevention and damage control?

This week, The Norwegian Peace Council will host a two-day seminar on April 15th-16th at Fredshuset. The aim is to obtain a clearer perspective on the roles of, and possibilities for, the different Nordic organisations, institutions and other actors, in developing effective alternatives to militarization in the North.

The seminar is a part of “Norden for fred”, a co-operation between six Nordic peace organizations: The Åland Islands Peace Institute, Peace Union of Fin­land, the Norwegian Peace Council, Danske Freds­la­get, the Swedish For­enin­gen Nor­den and Insti­tute of Inter­na­tional Affairs at Uni­ver­si­ty of Iceland, and financed through Nordplus Adult.


Wednesday 15th April:
Alliances and non-violent solutions in the High North

09:30 Registration and coffee/tea

10:00 Introduction: “Security in, and the strategic importance of, the High North, and conflict lines with Russia”

10:30 Lieutenant Colonel Tormod Heier: “Cooperation between Norway and NATO, USA and Nordic countries”

11:00 Carolina Sandö (Swedish Defense Research Agency) “A closer look at the Nordic countries and their cooperation on civil security”

11:30 Paal Frisvold (The Brussels Office) “EU: Arena or alliance for defense cooperation”

12:00 Lunch break

13:00 Panel Debate:
The advantages and disadvantages of different alliances in effecting conflict prevention and damage control in the High North and Civilian/Military cooperation

15:30 Screening of “Beyond Horizons”. Introduction by Nina Toft (Atelier Nord). More information:


Thursday 16th April:
The role of Nordic Institutions and Organisations

09:00 Introduction:
The Arctic Council, The Nordic Council and the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, and their roles in reduction of conflict in the High North

10:00 Roundtable Discussion:
What leverage do they have in practice, and what potential could they have? Is there a need for an expanded mandate? Where do we go from here?

Else Berit Eikeland (Arctic Council and MFA’s Dep. for Security Policy and the High North), Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes (Nordic Council), Trude Pettersen (Norwegian Barents Secreatriat), Kirsti Bergstø (SV), Eirik Sivertsen (AP), Frank Bakke-Jensen (H)

Bitte Vatvedt (Norwegian Peace Council) will host and moderate both days. The seminar will be in English.

Please sign up to