Mineral extraction is pursued in Greenland to strengthen the national economy. In order that new ... Read more
Mineral extraction is pursued in Greenland to strengthen the national economy. In order that new industries promote sustainable development, environmental impact assessments and social impact assessments are legally required and undertaken by companies prior to license approval to inform decision-making. Knowledge systems in Arctic indigenous communities have evolved through adaptive processes over generations, and indigenous knowledge (IK) is considered a great source of information on local environments and related ecosystem services. In Greenland the Inuit are in the majority, and Greenlanders are still considered indigenous. The Inuit Circumpolar Council stresses that utilizing IK is highly relevant in the Greenland context. Impact assessment processes involve stakeholder engagement and public participation, and hence offer arenas for potential knowledge sharing and thereby the utilization of IK. Based on the assumption that IK is a valuable knowledge resource, which can supplement and improve impact assessments in Greenland thus supporting sustainable development, this paper presents an investigation of how IK is utilized in the last stages of an impact assessment process when the final report is subject to a hearing in three recent mining projects in Greenland.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the Greenland basin is estimated to contain 17 ... Read more
According to the United States Geological Survey, the Greenland basin is estimated to contain 17 billion barrels of oil and potentially138 billion cubic feet of natural gas (Bird et al. 2008). Other, more moderate, models predict that Greenland contains “substantial reserves” (see eg. Cavallo 2002, Geuns 2012). Oil development is therefore high on the agenda in Greeland. It is being pursued both as the means to grow the economy and as a path to increased economic and political independence from Denmark (Østhagen 2012).
Oil projects are expected to produce benefits for Greenlanders, but these benefits cannot be achieved without careful planning and project management. To ensure that negative impacts are mitigated and that positive outcomes are achieved, Impact Assessments (IA) have been implemented to promote sustainable development in the sector. Additional Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) have to be negotiated between the affected communities, the government, and oil companies to ensure that social investments are made to secure long-term benefits for local communities.