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 Svalbard
(territory of Norway)
[Country Flag of Svalbard]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Svalbard]

Svalbard

Geography

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

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, fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (no trees and the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: ice floes often block up 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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: 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

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Population: 2,594 (July 1998 est.)

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

Population growth rate: -3.55% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

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

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

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

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

Ethnic groups: Russian and Ukrainian 62%, Norwegian 38%, other NEGL% (1994)

Languages: Russian, Norwegian

Government

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

Data code: SV

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

Government type: NA

National 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 Ann-Krisitin OLSEN (since NA) and Assistant Governor Jan-Atle HANSEN (since NA September 1993)
elections: none; the king is a hereditary monarch; 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

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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.

Labor force: NA

Budget:
revenues: $11.7 million
expenditures: $11.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: NA kW

Electricity—production: NA kWh

Electricity—consumption per capita: NA kWh

Economic aid:
recipient: Norway, $8.7 million (1997)

Currency: 1 Norwegian krone (NKr) = 100 oere

Exchange rates: Norwegian kroner (NKr) per US$1—7.4875 (January 1998), 7.0734 (1997), 6.4498 (1996), 6.3352 (1995), 7.0576 (1994), 7.0941 (1993)

Communications

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Telephones: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: local telephone service
international: satellite earth station—1 of NA type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1 (repeaters 2), shortwave 0
note: there are five meteorological/radio stations

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: NA

Transportation

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Railways: 0 km

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

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

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Military

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

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: Svalbard is the focus of a maritime boundary dispute in the Barents Sea between Norway and Russia