The paper demonstrates how the evolution of international law on colonial and indigenous peoples, ... Read more
The paper demonstrates how the evolution of international law on colonial and indigenous peoples, in particular evolving rights to sovereignty over natural resources, shaped the changing relationship between Greenland and the rest of the Danish Realm. Greenland today is in a unique position in international law, enjoying an extremely high degree of self-government. This paper explores the history, current status and future of Greenland through the lens of international law, to show how international obligations both colour its relationship with the Kingdom of Denmark and influence its approaches to resource development internally. It considers the invisibility of the Inuit population in the 1933 Eastern Greenland case that secured Danish sovereignty over the entire territory. It then turns to Denmark’s registration of Greenland as a non-self-governing territory (colony) in 1946 before Greenland’s-purported decolonisation in 1953 and the deficiencies of that process. In the second part of the 20th century, Denmark began to recognise the Greenland Inuit as an indigenous people before a gradual shift towards recognition of the Greenlanders as a people in international law, entitled to self-determination, including the right to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. This peaked with the Self-Government Act of 2009. The paper will then go on to assess competing interpretations of the Self-Government Act of 2009 according to which the Greenland self-government is the relevant decision-making body for an increasing number of fields of competence including, since 1 January 2010, the governance of extractive industries. Some, including members of the Greenland self-government, argue that the Self-Government Act constitutes full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 2007), but this view is not universally shared. The paper also considers the status and rights of two Greenland minorities: the North Greenlanders (Inughuit) and the East Greenlanders, each of whom has distinct histories, experiences of colonisation, dialects (or languages) and cultural traditions. While the Kingdom of Denmark accepts the existence of only one indigenous people, namely, the Inuit of Greenland, this view is increasingly being challenged in international fora, including the UN human rights treaty bodies, as the two minorities are in some cases considered distinct indigenous peoples. Their current position in Greenland as well as in a future fully independent Greenland is examined, and the rights that they hold against the Greenland self-government as well as the Kingdom of Denmark explored. Greenland’s domestic regime for governance of non-renewable natural resources (principally mining and hydrocarbons) is briefly analysed and compared with international standards, with a particular emphasis on public participation. The paper assesses the extent to which it complies with the standards in key international instruments.
This comprehensive text explains the relationship between the Arctic and the wider world through ... Read more
This comprehensive text explains the relationship between the Arctic and the wider world through the lenses of international relations, international law, and political economy. It is an essential resource for any student or scholar seeking a clear and succinct account of a region of ever-growing importance to the international community. Highlights include:
Broad coverage of national and human security, Arctic economies, international political economy, human rights, the rights of indigenous people, the law of the sea, navigation, and environmental governance.
A clear review of current climate-related change.
Emphasis on the sources of cooperation in the Arctic through international relations theory and law.
Examination of the Arctic in the broader global context, illustrating its inextricable links to global processes.
The study presented in this paper explored how people in South Greenland perceive their future pr ... Read more
The study presented in this paper explored how people in South Greenland perceive their future prospects and the role of mining in this regard. This region hosts two important mining projects still in relatively early stages. The study further investigated how mining projects influence local decisions about individual and community development. The study is based on qualitative interviews with people from the towns of Narsaq and Qaqortoq and from a sheep farm near Narsaq, during a fieldtrip in May 2017. The authors found that the mining projects, even though they are still in the exploration phase, have already had great impact on local expectations for future development and on decision-making and planning in people’s daily lives and thereby the development of the communities. Further, although located relatively close together in the same region, there are significant differences between the towns and their relations to the neighboring mining projects. There is both support and opposition towards the projects, which triggers division between individuals, between groups and between the towns. However, all agree on a need for more transparent processes and for timelines to inform people of when they can expect decisions to be made and activities to take place.
On 13th October 2015, Iceland quietly submitted its instrument of accession to the Antarctic Trea ... Read more
On 13th October 2015, Iceland quietly submitted its instrument of accession to the Antarctic Treaty to the US Department of State (the depositary for the Antarctic Treaty). Iceland’s accession was not accompanied by any official declaration or public discussion in Iceland or elsewhere. This paper investigates some of the factors that are likely to have spurred the decision to join the Antarctic treaty system, examines current Icelandic interests in the Antarctic and proposes constructive policies to enhance Icelandic involvement in Antarctic governance and cooperation following the accession. The authors conclude that logistical operations and adventure tourism involving Icelandic companies in the Antarctic are the most likely triggers for the accession and they propose that Iceland consider ratification of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol).