The Governor of Svalbard is both Chief of Police and has the same authority as a County Governor on the mainland. The office consists of an Environmental Department, a Police Department, an Administrative Department and a Staff Section. The Governor and Vice Governor represent the public prosecuting authority.

Environmental protection

The Governor has the principal environmental protection authority in Svalbard, and among the Environmental Protection Department's main tasks are:

• Nature supervision and environmental monitoring

• Safeguarding the environmental aspects of planning and construction, business enterprises and interventions in nature

• Management of protected areas, flora and fauna

• Oil spill preparedness, pollution control and waste disposal

• Registration, monitoring and maintainance of cultural heritage sites

• Control of import and export of animals and registration of domestic animals


Svalbard is an independent Police District and the Governor is Chief of Police. The Police Department is, among other things, tasked with the following duties:

• Security, law and order

• Preparedness measures and rescue services. The Governor is head of the local rescue station and leads all rescue missions in Svalbard.

• Criminal investigation

Traffic control, driving licences and registration of vehicles

• Prevention policies aimed at children and youth

• Issuing visas and firearm permits

Other duties and tasks

In addition to being a police and environmental authority, the Governor performs a number of services:

• Host and representation tasks

• Media contact

• Tourism and travel matters 

• Performing marriages

Issuing separation orders and divorce orders

• Legal advice

• Notary Public

• Board of health advisory duties

• Fire protection

National goals and tasks

The Norwegian Svalbard policy is drawn up by the Government and adopted by the Norwegian Parliament (the Storting). The policy was stated in Report No. 22 (2008-2009), confirmed during the parliamentary debate.

The objectives are:

• Consistent and firm enforcement of sovereignty

• Proper observance of the Svalbard Treaty and control to ensure compliance with the Treaty

• Maintenance of peace and stability in the area

• Preservation of the area's distinctive wilderness

• Maintenance of Norwegian communities on the archipelago