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.
Hydrocarbon activity can be both harmful and hazardous. It is harmful if, in the course of normal ... Read more
Hydrocarbon activity can be both harmful and hazardous. It is harmful if, in the course of normal operations, it damages its surrounding environment and/or the interests of other states. States and operators should implement a number of technical measures to ensure that the impacts remain below the legally relevant threshold of ‘significant’ harm. However, hydrocarbon activities are also inherently hazardous because there is always a risk of a low probability-high impact accident, e.g., an oil spill or an explosion. The harsh conditions of the Arctic coupled with its sensitive biodiversity mean that activities in the Arctic are more hazardous than in more temperate parts of the World.
This paper addresses three themes to clarify the rights and responsibilities of states pursuing offshore hydrocarbon development in the Arctic: international law regarding permanent sovereignty and constraints to protect the environment, the interests of other states and the rights of indigenous and other peoples; the role and limitations of the Arctic Council; and the challenge of indigenous sovereignty and indigenous rights.
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.