Oil spill risk governance in the Norwegian Barents Sea: identifying key management measures and knowledge actions
|Session Name||5.1 Current research on extractive industries and the sustainability in the Arctic|
|Author(s)||Tuuli Parviainen (Helsinki University, Finland), Annukka Lehikoinen (Helsinki University & Merikotka Research Center, Finland), Sakari Kuikka (Helsinki University, Finland), Päivi Haapasaari (Helsinki University, Finland)|
Potential oil spills from natural resources extraction and shipping activities pose a significant threat to the Arctic marine environment and the coastal communities. Oil spill risks are characterized by complexity, high levels of uncertainty, and social ambiguity. This presents serious challenges in developing effective risk governance measures. Conventional approaches relying on natural sciences and expert knowledge alone might be of limited value in assessing and managing oil spill risks. Rather, in the context of high complexity and uncertainty, risk governance systems need to address the diversity of values and perceptions of risks and acknowledge the importance of deliberative decision-making processes based on both scientific and non-scientific knowledge. This case study focuses on the Norwegian government’s recent decisions to open new areas for offshore resource exploration and exploitation in the Barents Sea. With the use of stakeholder interviews and visual influence diagrams, the aim of the study is to 1) provide insight into and analyse the different viewpoints, values and perceptions of oil spill risks and the appropriate governance measures, 2) investigate what type of knowledge actions are needed to support effective oil spill risk governance. BNN- based influence diagrams provide simple yet informative way of formalizing the nature of the policy problem and for visualizing the different views and priorities e.g. competing goals and alternative management decisions. Finally, the study demonstrates a need for developing proactive oil spill risk governance systems that are based on deliberative processes and social learning.
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