Norway has made efforts to improve safety at sea and ability to reduce consequences of shipping accidents in regions under Norwegian jurisdiction and to fulfill international obligations for specific NAV areas in the High North. Following from a number of accidents along the Northern Norway coastline in the 1989-90-ties the government developed plans for improved emergency response systems. In connection with preparation of a holistic environmental management plan for coastal waters in Northern Norway it was recommended to improve the existing emergency response system. Dedicated emergency response vessels were chartered and oil spill handling was improved through development of new equipment, regional and local storage of oil spill response equipment and training of emergency response teams. This paper contains a brief introduction describing maritime activities in Northern Norway and at the Svalbard archipelago. It presents challenges for emergency response to shipping in these waters and gives a list of risk factors for shipping activities in cold climate waters. Ways of reducing risks are discussed in section 4 while section 5 looks on e-navigation for the High North. Specific problems related to increased cruise traffic in High North waters are discussed in section 6.