This contribution is based on a seminar and workshop on public participation processes related to ... Read more
This contribution is based on a seminar and workshop on public participation processes related to extractive industries in the Arctic, organized by the Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland) on October 17th and 18th 2017. The seminar was led by experts on extractive industries, indigenous peoples, impact assessments, law, and public participation. They came from Greenland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Scotland, England and Brazil. The seminar was open to the public and was well attended by representatives from the ministries, municipal governments, academic and research institutes, NGOs and others. A select group of invited experts and a group of graduate students from Ilisimatusarfik took part in the workshop.
Although Greenland has pursued hydrocarbon development over the last four decades, no viable rese ... Read more
Although Greenland has pursued hydrocarbon development over the last four decades, no viable reserves have been found to date. Therefore, local Greenland communities have little experience or knowledge of how such development might affect their way of life or how to influence project development and outcomes should a significant reserve be found. On the North Slope of Alaska, in contrast, hydrocarbon extraction was commercialized in the 1970s, and the industry is now highly developed. North Slope residents have experienced dramatic influences on their everyday lives and well-being as a result of large-scale hydrocarbon projects. Some consequences have been welcomed, such as economic development and higher employment rates; however, other impacts are harmful, such as reduced ability of local peoples to maintain subsistence hunting practices. The villages on Alaska’s North Slope share many features in common with settlements in Greenland, such as small size, isolation, and limited political influence. In this study, we explore how Greenlanders might learn from the Alaska experience by examining the comments of North Slope residents. We propose that increased local-to-local recommendation- sharing across the Arctic would better guide sustainable development practices and benefits into potential future projects in Greenland. We conclude that an Arctic “Community Guide” and the process to create one could improve planning and implementation of hydrocarbon projects across the Arctic and promote locally appropriate sustainable development in the affected communities.