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Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands
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Svalbard Information

Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands




Background:  First discovered by the Norwegians in the 12th century,
the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and
18th centuries.  Norway's sovereignty was recognized in 1920; five years
later it officially took over the territory.

Geography Svalbard

Location:  Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea,
Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway

Geographic coordinates:  78 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references:  Arctic Region

Area:  total: 62,049 sq km note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya
(Bear Island) water: 0 sq km land: 62,049 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  3,587 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM unilaterally claimed
by Norway but not recognized by Russia territorial sea: 4 NM

Climate:  arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current; cool summers,
cold winters; North Atlantic Current flows along west and north coasts
of Spitsbergen, keeping water open and navigable most of the year

Terrain:  wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west
coast clear of ice about one-half of the year; fjords along west and
north coasts

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Arctic Ocean 0 m highest point:
Newtontoppen 1,717 m

Natural resources:  coal, copper, iron ore, phosphate, zinc, wildlife,

Land use:  arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (no trees,
and the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry) (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  ice floes often block the entrance to Bellsund (a
transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make
parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic

Environment - current issues:  NA

Geography - note:  northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists
of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area

People Svalbard

Population:  2,868 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: NA% 15-64 years: NA% 65 years and over: NA%

Population growth rate:  -1.99% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  NA births/1,000 population

Death rate:  NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate:  NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Sex ratio:  NA

Infant mortality rate:  NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  total population: NA years male: NA years
female: NA years

Total fertility rate:  NA children born/woman

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0% (2001)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  0 (2001)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  0 (2001)

Ethnic groups:  Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3%

Languages:  Russian, Norwegian

Literacy:  NA

Government Svalbard

Country name:  conventional long form: none conventional short form:
Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitzbergen)

Dependency status:  territory of Norway; administered by the Polar
Department of the Ministry of Justice, through a governor (sysselmann)
residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920)
sovereignty was awarded to Norway

Government type:  NA

Capital:  Longyearbyen

Independence:  none (territory of Norway)

National holiday:  NA

Legal system:  NA

Executive branch:  chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since
17 January 1991) head of government: Governor Morten RUUD (since NA
November 1998) and Assistant Governor Odd Redar HUMLEGAARD (since NA)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor and assistant
governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice

International organization participation:  none

Flag description:  the flag of Norway is used

Economy Svalbard

Economy - overview:  Coal mining is the major economic activity on
Svalbard. The treaty of 9 February 1920 gives the 41 signatories
equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian
regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have
mined in the past, the only companies still mining are Norwegian and
Russian. The settlements on Svalbard are essentially company towns. The
Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the Norwegian
population on the island, runs many of the local services, and provides
most of the local infrastructure. There is also some trapping of seal,
polar bear, fox, and walrus.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - real growth rate:  NA%

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $NA

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  NA%

Labor force:  NA

Budget:  revenues: $11.5 million expenditures: $11.5 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  NA kWh

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: NA% other: NA% hydro:
NA% nuclear: NA%

Electricity - consumption:  NA kWh

Exports:  $NA

Imports:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  $8.2 million from Norway (1998)

Currency:  Norwegian krone (NOK)

Currency code:  NOK

Exchange rates:  Norwegian kroner per US dollar - 8.9684 (January 2002),
8.9917 (2001), 8.8018 (2000), 7.7992 (1999), 7.5451 (1998), 7.0734 (1997)

Communications Svalbard

Telephones - main lines in use:  NA

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: probably adequate domestic:
local telephone service international: satellite earth station - 1 of
unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 1 (plus 2 repeaters), shortwave 0

Radios:  NA

Television broadcast stations:  NA

Televisions:  NA

Internet country code:  .sj

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  13 (Svalbard and Jan Mayen) (2000)

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Svalbard

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: NA km paved: NA km unpaved: NA km

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  4 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 3 under 914 m: 3 (2001)

Military Svalbard

Military - note:  demilitarized by treaty (9 February 1920)

Transnational Issues Svalbard

Disputes - international:  despite recent discussions, Russia and
Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's
fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard
Treaty zone

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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