“Growing activity in the High North, both on land and at sea, has led to a need for enhanced search and rescue measures at the local level. Strengthening search and rescue is therefore a central part of the Government’s High North strategy, and we are now allocating NOK 1 million to a resource and competence centre in the field of search and rescue in the High North,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
The funds are to be allocated to Porsanger Municipality, which over the next two years is to draw up plans for establishing the centre and ensuring its future funding. The purpose of the centre will be to foster cross-border cooperation between Norway, Russia and Finland in the area of search and rescue.
“Through cross-border cooperation, we will have better access to vital equipment and resources when there are major accidents at sea or on land,” Mr Eide said.
The competence centre will include a centre for logistics, a Barents Rescue team made up of firefighters from throughout the municipality and a centre for Arctic rescue exercises. A branch of the centre will also be set up in Arkhangelsk.
“It is encouraging that Porsanger Municipality has entered into cooperation with existing centres of expertise in Bodø, including the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Northern Norway. The cooperation that has been initiated with our neighbouring countries Sweden, Finland and Russia is crucial for cross-border knowledge sharing, and it will ensure that we have better access to the right resources in the event of major accidents,” Mr Eide said.