The Tentative List of Norway In Brief

by Mr Gaute Sønstebø, Directorate for Nature Management

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With seven World Heritage sites by 2007 Norway is to be considered well represented on the list. With the global strategy in mind it is our intention to be modest and realistic about future nominations. Our short tentative list reflects this view.

The tentative list contains two areas transferred from the 2002 list (the Tysfjord area and the Lofoten archipelago) and two areas (Jan Mayen & Bouvet islands and the Svalbard archipelago) added a result of the revision this year. All four sites are relevant in a Arctic setting as they all are located within the borders of the Arctic region as defined by the CAFF member countries.

Name of tentative property: Proposed category: Comment:
Tysfjord, Hellemo and Rago Mixed Extension of Laponia
Lofoten Mixed  
Svalbard Archipelago Mixed  
Islands of Jan Mayen and Bouvet Natural Part of the potential transnational serial site; The Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Tysfjord, Hellemo and Rago
Fjord-, forest- and mountain-area bordering up to the Laponian World Heritage site in Sweden. This 1200 km2 extension has potential to fulfil the idea of Laponia as a transboundary site, stretching from the Botnian side over to the Atlantic side of the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Tysford, Hellemo and Rago represents; an exceptional example of Lule Sami settlement and cultural landscape as well as an exceptional cross section of the Quaternary geological process taking place in Scandinavia.

A part of the tentative area does not yet have adequate protective measures to meet the criteria of integrity and protection. Currently the follow-up of a National Park proposal awaits the conclusions from a governmental assessment of the rights to use and manage natural resources within areas where Sami reindeer-herding take place.


Currently there are six municipalities involved in the assessment of a potential mixed site which Norway intends to nominate within four to five years from now.

The 200 km long mountainous chain of islands comprises 1227 km2 of land and has about 25000 inhabitants. The assessment-area also includes territorial waters. The natural values of the Lofoten islands are the dominate factors and precondition the range and type of the cultural values associated with this area. The cod fishery, manufacture and export of stockfish in the last 1000 years represent cultural values of international importance.

The mountainous ridge, up to 1200 m.a.s.l., in open waters is a spectacular view. The waters of Lofoten are the most important spawning-area for the Atlantic Cod on the Northern Hemisphere. So far the conditions are perfect but climate change can alter this and cause dramatic damaging effects on the marine ecosystem that precondition continuation of unique cultural landscapes and traditions.

Svalbard archipelago

Svalbard, 62 700 km2 of land, is the largest wilderness-area in Norway and consists of five larger and a number of small islands. 60% of the area is covered with snow and ice. Svabard has a varied high-Arctic environment containing cultural and natural values of great importance.

The scenery, the geological heritage, the intact ecosystems, the flora and fauna and the little affected habitats represents significant natural values from the point of view of conservation and science. Cultural sites and remains demonstrate unique examples of utilisation of natural resources under severe natural conditions. Several remains from early research expedition that extended mankind’s cognition are to be found on Svalbard.

65% of the total land-area and 75% of the marine area within territorial seas of Svalbard are nature protected areas. Traces of human activity dating form 1945 or earlier are automatically protected elements of the cultural heritage.

Jan Mayen – as part of “a transnational proposal; “The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR)”
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island located about 550 km northeast of Iceland in the border zone between the high arctic and subarctic transitional zones. Total area of land is 377 km2.

The stratovolcano Beerenberg (2277m.a.s.l.) is the northernmost active supramarine volcano in the world. The natural values are extensive and attached both to a magnificent and distinctive landscape, the islands isolated situation, the geology, the intact oceanic ecosystems and the large seabird populations. Remains from different periods with whaling- and trapping activities represents important cultural heritage.

Jan Mayen is evaluated for protection as Nature Reserve and a Royal Decree of protection regulations is expected in 2008. Norwegian follow-up, as a World Heritage nomination, is depending on the progression and realism of the serial trans-national nomination initiative that involves five different stateparties to the convention.

Thank you for your attention!