Svalbard( Europe )


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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
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
Area:
total: 62,045 sq km
land: 62,045 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:
territorial sea: 4 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
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, iron ore, copper, zinc, phosphate, wildlife, fish
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (no trees; the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry) (2011)
Irrigated land:
NA
Total renewable water resources:
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
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
Environment international agreements:
Geography note:
northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area; Spitsbergen Island is the site of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed repository established by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government
People and Society
Nationality:
Ethnic groups:
Norwegian 55.4%, Russian and Ukrainian 44.3%, other 0.3% (1998)
Languages:
Norwegian, Russian
Religions:
Population:
1,872 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
Dependency ratios:
Median age:
Population growth rate:
-0.03% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
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Urbanization:
Major urban areas population:
Sex ratio:
NA
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Maternal mortality rate:
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:
NA
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HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
0% (2001 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
HIV or AIDS deaths:
0 (2001 est.)
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Education expenditures:
Literacy:
NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Child labor children ages 5-14:
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Government
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitsbergen)
Government type:
NA
Capital:
name: Longyearbyen
geographic coordinates: 78 13 N, 15 38 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Independence:
none (territory of Norway)
National holiday:
Constitution:
Legal system:
the laws of Norway where applicable apply
International law organization participation:
Suffrage:
Executive branch:
chief of state: King HARALD V of Norway (since 17 January 1991)
head of government: Governor Odd Olsen INGERO (since September 2009); Assistant Governor Lars Erik ALHEIM
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor and assistant governor responsible to the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice
Legislative branch:
Judicial branch:
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
none
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Flag description:
the flag of Norway is used
National symbol(s):
National anthem:
note: as a territory of Norway, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" is official (see Norway)
Economy
Economy overview:
Coal mining, tourism, and international research are the major revenue sources on Svalbard. Coal mining is the dominant economic activity and a treaty of 9 February 1920 gave 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 engaging in this 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 hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox. Goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and vehicles, normally highly taxed on mainland Norway, are considerably cheaper in Svalbard in an effort by the Norwegian government to entice more people to live on the Arctic archipelago. By law, the Norwegians collect only enough taxes to pay for the needs of the local government; none of tax proceeds go to Norway.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$6.313 billion
GDP (official exchange rate):
GDP real growth rate:
NA%
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Industries:
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Labor force:
1,234 (2003)
Labor force by occupation:
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Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Taxes and other revenues:
NA% of GDP
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Exports:
$NA
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Imports:
$NA
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Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar -
5.802 (2013)
5.8162 (2012)
6.0442 (2010)
6.288 (2009)
5.6361 (2008)
Energy
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Communications
Telephones mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: local telephone service
international: country code - 47-790; satellite earth station - 1 of unknown type (for communication with Norwegian mainland only) (2005)
Telephones main lines in use:
Broadcast media:
the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) began direct TV transmission to Svalbard via satellite in 1984; Longyearbyen households have access to 3 NRK radio and 2 TV stations (2008)
Internet country code:
.sj
Internet users:
Internet hosts:
Transportation
Airports:
4 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Heliports:
1 (2013)
Pipelines:
Railways:
Roadways:
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Barentsburg, Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund, Pyramiden
Military
Military branches:
no regular military forces
Military service age and obligation:
Manpower available for military service:
Manpower fit for military service:
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Military expenditures:
Transnational Issues
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: