From the Secretariat: The first report on holiday traditions in Oslo

Around the holidays here in Norway, members of the staff will be sharing their stories and thoughts from their work at the EITI Secretariat. Here is Kjerstin Andreasen, who joined the secretariat staff in May this year as Administrator.

The “julebord” or “Christmas table” is the Norwegian office holiday party. The requirements are few but strict: the julebord must consist of good food and a lively atmosphere.

This year the EITI International Secretariat decided to “go beyond compliance” and take a spin on the traditional julebord while remaining true to the core requirements.

After consulting our key stakeholders, we signed up for an EITI curling competition. This was clearly beyond the traditional scope of julebord tradition, but agreed by the multi-stakeholder organising committee. Since this age-old Scottish sport was foreign to many of us, we sought out operational guidance and learned the Rules, Principles and Criteria of the game.

When assessed as ready by a technical expert, we ventured onto the curling sheet (the ice) to implement our newly gained knowledge. Teammates cheered each other on and validated our sliding, gliding, aiming and sweeping abilities.

Competition was fierce and an international incident nearly broke out when one of the granite stones was moved by an opponent whilst still in play. This caused a near delisting of the team from the competition, but as curling is a “gentleman’s sport”, the teams reconciled and the stone was placed back in its approximate location.

Following the rigorous game, we made sure we stuck to the core requirements and enjoyed a delicious homemade dinner which included Swedish meatballs, herring (fish) in various sauces and “Janssons frästelse” (“Jansson’s temptation”). In the spirit of transparency, the recipe for this delightful potato au gratin with anchovies dish was disclosed. Its validity was independently verified.

The julebord has been implemented as an annual tradition but we can’t stop there. Preparations for next julebord reporting cycle have already begun.