Geysir’s Protected Status Confirmed in Signing Ceremony

iceland nature conservation geysir

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson took part in a ceremony yesterday at Geysir, in which they confirmed the area’s management and protection plan.

The namesake of all other geysers, Geysir is a well-known tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the “Golden Circle,” a popular drive near the capital area. However, many natural sites have been overwhelmed by increased tourism, leading to several sites including Skógafoss and Geysir being designated “at risk” in recent years.

nature conservation geysir iceland
Stjórnarráð Íslands

The Geysir area was originally protected by law in 2020, but this status is just now being recognized in a signing ceremony.

In addition to being a popular tourism destination, Geysir is home to many unique geological features, plant life, and microorganisms, meaning that the area is also important for scientific research. In addition to conserving the Geysir area, the new management plan hopes to place increased emphasis on education on Geysir’s significance.

At the ceremony, Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated: “The conservation of the Geysir area is an important step in nature conservation in Iceland, given its unique natural beauty. The conservation plan confirmed today ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the area as we do today.”

Minister Guðlaugur added: “This management and protection plan presents ways to ensure that the objectives of conservation are achieved. When developing infrastructure, consideration should be given to local planning […] Development should guide visitors around the area and ensure that its conservation value is maintained.”

Þórdís Björt Sigþórsdóttir, manager of conservation and planning at the Environmental Agency, was also present for the ceremony. She stated that this was a necessary step in nature conservation in Iceland, and one that most Icelanders agree with. Indeed, she notes that many Icelanders were surprised to learn that Geysir was not already a protected area.


Two Hundred and Sixty Officials Overpaid for Three Years

parliament Alþingi

Two hundred and sixty nationally elected officials, government ministers, and civil servants have been overpaid for the last three years, RÚV reports. The overpayment was a result of an error in calculating annual wage increases and amounts to a total of ISK 105 million [$785,928; €753,783], or roughly ISK 400,000 [$2,994; €2,871] per person. The recipients will be required to repay their excess salary.

Every year, the Financial Management Authority (FJS) updates the salaries of nationally elected individuals, government ministers, and civil servants in accordance with figures provided by Statistics Iceland and the Wage and Human Resources Administration. These increases are outlined in a law that was passed in 2019. However, in preparation for the wage increases for 2022, it was discovered that the wrong index has been used to determine the salaries of this group for three years, or ever since the law went into effect.

Instead of basing the wage increase for this group on the average increase in the regular wages of government employees from year to year, as is specified in the law, the benchmark for increases has been the wage index for government employees.

A total of 260 people—including President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, members of parliament, judges, district attorneys, chiefs of police, and Central Bank director Ásgeir Jónsson—were overpaid as a result of this calculation error. They will be required to repay the excess wages, which will either be deducted in full from future salary or repaid via automatic payments over the course of 12 months.