Minister Responsible for the Foreign Affairs of Greenland continues to emphasize the importance of peaceful cooperation in the Arctic.

Minister Responsible for the Foreign Affairs of Greenland continues to emphasize the importance of peaceful cooperation in the Arctic.

Naalakkersuisoq (Minister Responsible for the Foreign Affairs of Greenland) Vivian Motzfeldt continues to emphasize the importance of peaceful cooperation in the Arctic.

The Arctic countries and indigenous people’s representatives gathered from the 22nd to the 23rd of May in Ilulissat to mark the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration. The participants visited the village Ilimanaq and saw with their own eyes the opportunities within local sustainable development. In addition, the guests went to the glacier Isua and received a lecture on the development of the ice and climate change.

The following day offered a high-level session where the countries each confirmed their obligations within the Ilulissat Declaration and underlined important collaborations in the field.

The High Sea Fisheries Agreement, an agreement that commits fisheries nations in the Arctic to limit fishing beyond 200 nautical miles until a scientific basis exists, was highlighted as a good example. In addition, the Arctic coastal states are in a dialogue about the individual countries’ submissions to the UN to extend their rights to the continental shelf, ie. the right to the subsoil under the sea. These are examples of cooperation through dialogue on the basis on international law which encompasses the principles of the Ilulissat Declaration.

Naalakkersuisoq, Vivian Motzfeldt, stressed the importance of continuing to commit to this peaceful cooperation; “Us who live in peaceful areas sometimes forget the importance of maintaining peace. With the global unrest and future development opportunities in the Arctic, the Ilulissat declaration principles are immensely important. I am grateful that all the countries of the Arctic Council, the ICC and the Saami Council have confirmed that they fully support the principles of peaceful cooperation.”

Lastly the event consisted with a session on the international scientific agreement negotiated under the Arctic Council, where the world-famous geologist Minik Rosing lectured on the importance of cooperation across the Arctic. Finally, a memorial plaque about the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration was presented, and it is to be placed in Ilulissat.

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Naalakkersuisoq for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Motzfeldt, to host a High Level Summit on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration

Naalakkersuisoq for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Motzfeldt, to host a High Level Summit on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration

The newly appointed Naalakkersuisoq for Foreign Affairs Vivian Motzfeldt, together with the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen, will host a high level meeting in Ilulissat 22-23 May on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration. Ministers and representatives of the eight Arctic States and Indigenous People’s Organizations in the Arctic will participate in the meeting.

With the Declaration of May 2008, the five Arctic states, including Greenland and Denmark, committed to maintaining the Arctic as a low-tension area, where possible conflicts are resolved through peaceful negotiations in accordance with international law, and to cooperate in areas such as sustainable economic development, environmental protection and research.

Regarding the high level meeting in Ilulissat, Naalakkersuisoq Vivian Motzfeldt stated that “Greenland wishes, through our participation in Arctic cooperation, to actively contribute to the conservation of the Arctic as a peaceful region. The Arctic must continue to be an area where the parties through international cooperation and dialogue achieve peaceful economic and sustainable development for the benefit of the people of the Arctic. “

The program will include the following:

– High-level session where ministers and representatives of the eight Arctic states and indigenous peoples of the Arctic will discuss the importance of the Ilulissat Declaration and different aspects of Arctic cooperation.

– Session on the perspectives of the new research agreement concluded by the Arctic Council countries.

– Study trip through Ilulissat Isfjord to the village Ilimanaq. In Ilimanaq, local economic development has been created by constructing cabins from which tourists can experience the magnificent Greenlandic nature.

– Cultural event at the opening of a memorial plate for the 10th anniversary of the Ilulissat Declaration.

– Press conference.


For inquiries, please contact the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Kenneth Høegh,, +299 565604

Greenland news OCT events
QR Code labelling of products made from Inuit sealskins

QR Code labelling of products made from Inuit sealskins

The EU recognizes that seal hunting is an integral part of the socio-economy, nutrition, culture and identity of Inuit and other indigenous communities. Geographically speaking, the relevant areas in this respect are primarily Greenland, Nunavut and Northwest Territories in Canada. It is recognized that seal hunting provides a major contribution to the subsistence and development of indigenous peoples in these areas: providing food and income to support the life and sustainable livelihood of the community, preserving and continuing the traditional existence of the community.

For these reasons the EU legislation allows under certain conditions for the placing on the EU market of seal products, which result from hunts conducted by Inuit.

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The OCTA Innovation International Conference took place in Ponta Delgada, Azores on 11-14 April 2017. It gathered representatives of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTs), the government of the Azores, the European Commission and innovation experts to look at how innovation is spurring sustainable development in small islands and to develop cooperation and future initiatives.

The pillars and values that are the basis of a society were considered as well as the capacities and needs of all stakeholders to underpin them. The implementation of different types and different levels of innovation have been under consideration. The vision of an economically prosperous and inclusive society should be based on innovation and entire collaboration between public and private actors. Innovation should support all stakeholders in society, in both economic and social fields and is perceived as crucial for tackling the issues of natural resources, climate change and sustainable development. The governments have to ensure enabling conditions for propelling innovation. Innovation Managers of the Overseas Countries and Territories of European Union, active members of OCTA Innovation, assembled in the Azores, commit themselves to feeding these dynamics.

Governments must take the lead in systemic innovation across all sectors; fostering partnerships between public and private entities and knowledge sharing and capacity-building. The ambition is to grow a number of thematic and regional centres of excellence among OCTs with a focus on those sectors where individual OCTs are already leading the way, and to share expertise among the OCTs and with regions.

Innovation Managers: Anguilla, Bren Romney; Aruba, Bianca Peters; Bonaire, Dianne Boelmans; British Virgin Islands, Lizette George; Cayman Islands, Jamaal Anderson; Curaçao, Fiona Curie; Falkland Islands, Michael Betts; French Polynesia, Bran Quinquis; Greenland, Lars Balslev; Montserrat, Angela Estwick; New Caledonia, Jean-Michel Le Saux; Pitcairn, Leslie Jaques; Saba, Menno Van der Velde; St. Barthélemy, Pascal Peuchot; St. Helena, Niall O’Keeffe; St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, Olivier Gaston; St. Eustatius, Roy Hooker; St. Maarten, Jude Houston; Turks and Caicos Islands, Alexa Cooper-Grant; Wallis and Futuna, Carole Manry.

OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck:

Greenland Falklands New Caledonia Sint Eustatius sustainable development Montserrat Curaçao British Virgin Islands Aruba event French Polynesia news OCTA Sint Maarten Turks and Caicos Islands St Barts Saba Cayman Islands Bonaire Anguilla Saint Helena Tristan da Cunha islands Saint Pierre and Miquelon Wallis And futuna Pitcairn Bianca Peters Menno Van Der Velde Jamaal Anderson Fiona Curie Lizette O. George Roy Hooker Carole Manry Dianne Boelmans Olivier Gaston Alexa-Cooper-Grant Michael Betts Bran Quinquis Niall O'Keeffe Pascal Peuchot Jezic von Gesseneck Conferences Azores
Research: Algae are melting away the Greenland ice sheet

Research: Algae are melting away the Greenland ice sheet


‘Black and Bloom’ project explores how microorganisms help to determine the pace of Arctic melting.

Researchers are fanning out across the Greenland ice sheet this month to explore a crucial, but overlooked, influence on its future: red, green and brown-coloured algal blooms. These darken the snow and ice, causing it to absorb more sunlight and melt faster.

The £3-million (US$4-million) Black and Bloom project aims to measure how algae are changing how much sunlight Greenland’s ice sheet bounces back into space. “We want to get a handle on just how much of the darkness is due to microbes and how much to other physical factors”, such as soot or mineral dust, says Martyn Tranter, a biogeochemist at the University of Bristol, UK, and the project’s principal investigator.

Team scientists arrived near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this week for 6 weeks of observations. The work will continue for two more summers, exploring different parts of the ice sheet. Ultimately, the scientists hope to develop the first deep understanding of  how biological processes affect Greenland’s reflectivity.

Full article.

Greenland blue economy news Climate Change
Education in Greenland: Arctic Technology Centre, ARTEK

Education in Greenland: Arctic Technology Centre, ARTEK


Arctic Technology Centre, ARTEK, was formally established in 2000 to educate Greenlandic and Danish engineering students in Arctic technology. The centre is a joint venture between Teknikimik Ilinniarfik, KTI, (Tech College Greenland) in Sisimiut and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby while organisationally part of the department of Civil Engineering (DTU BYG).

The centre is financed by funds from the Government of Greenland, private foundations and DTU. ARTEK also runs courses and seminars about arctic conditions and contributes to research and guidance into Arctic technology.

ARTEK has within the last 10 years established and consolidated itself as a central, international player within educating and researching in relation to the global climate changes. The latest development in Greenland and the multifaceted challenges the country is facing related to the upcoming mining and quarrying, increases the need for “know-how” within Arctic technology. In relation to that, ARTEK has in collaboration with the Greenlandic government and other stakeholders started a strengthening of the Centre’s activities, based upon “Vision125”. Vision125 implies the establishment of a new technical university centre in Sisimiut, which will be developed into an international centre of excellence for technical education and Arctic technology. DTU and the Greenlandic government is responsible for the deployment of the new centre.

Read more

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Ambitiously big “toolbox” for the entire Arctic coming soon

An extensive team of some 100 researchers is putting the final touches on three large reports focusing on the adaptations that the Arctic will have to make in response to climate change and social developments. In addition to summarizing existing knowledge in many fields of research and economic sectors, ranging from fisheries to education, the reports provide input on how to tackle the many challenges in today’s rapidly changing Arctic.

Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA) is the title of this ambitious project, which covers three regions: the Barents; the Bering/Chukchi/Beaufort region; and an area that encompasses Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait. Researchers in the respective regions are working parallel to describe these enormous areas.

The reports will serve as tools for decision-makers, administrators and stakeholders within diverse sectors. Socio-economists, for example, will gain an overview of current and possible future trends in the areas of economics, demography, education and culture. What kinds of drivers can be expected that will have an impact on developments in the area? How can these drivers impact each other, what kinds of changes can be anticipated and, last but not least, what can be done to achieve the maximum benefit from these developments?

Commissioned by the Arctic Council
The AACA reports were commissioned by the Arctic Council and will be dealt with at a ministerial level in 2017. The plan is for the reports to be completed by autumn 2016.

The reports are to be written by researchers and all chapters in the reports will be subjected to scientific quality assurance. But not all of the facts in the reports are scientifically documented. For instance, researchers are receiving input from the sectors involved, which in Greenland include Royal Greenland, other representatives of the fisheries sector, the mining industry, and the educational sector. The last AACA workshop for stakeholders was held as recently as February 2016 in Nuuk. Participants had an opportunity to discuss the preliminary Baffin Bay/Davis Strait area report, which is being compiled by an interdisciplinary team of Greenlandic, Danish and Canadian researchers. The project is jointly managed by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Aarhus University (AU, DCE) and Canada’s ArcticNet. Contributors to the report include researchers from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Aarhus University, Ilisimatusarfik (the University of Greenland), Aalborg University, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, the Danish Meteorological Institute and a number of Canadian universities.

Why another major project?

Researchers are publishing a steady stream of big status reports on the Arctic: on the climate, seawater pollution, flora, fauna, the melting ice cap, oil and gas exploration, changes in permafrost, reductions in sea ice, etc.  One of the most recent is the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment report from 2014, which provides an exhaustive description of the current state of Arctic biodiversity. Furthermore, commissions working for the Government of Greenland have compiled a range of reports on social issues in recent years. Recommendations have been made by the Greenland-Danish Self-Government Commission, the Transport Commission, the Tax and Welfare Commission along with countless status reports on the oil and minerals that Greenland has at its disposal and many other reports that are used as tools by decision-makers.

Meanwhile, in 2014 the Arctic Council decided to integrate the many different sources of information about the Arctic and identify the interactions of multiple key drivers for change in the Arctic. This led to the launching of pilot projects in three regions, with interdisciplinary research (including natural sciences, social sciences, etc.) that is tailored to local needs and fosters a dialogue that ensures the involvement of local players. The goal of the AACA reports is “to enable more informed, timely and responsive policy-making and decision-making related to adaptation actions in a rapidly changing Arctic.”

The Arctic Council hopes that the AACA reports will provide decision-makers in the three regions with practical tools for developing new policies, thereby paving the way for a conscious adaptation to future developments.

A wealth of information
The Baffin Bay/Davis Strait area report is anticipated to contain approx. 400 pages and 12 chapters that deal with our lives all along the west coast of Greenland, from the northernmost settlement of Siorapaluk all the way to Cape Farewell, plus the north-eastern part of the Nunavut region in Canada.

In the section on the shipping situation, for example, readers can find out what can be expected when the ice in the Northwest Passage has melted sufficiently to allow commercial navigation in the area. What are the latest challenges generated by cruise ship tourism in remote areas, and what developments can we expect to see on this front?

Written in a clear and concise manner, the reports present a wealth of information gathered from papers, articles, recommendations and the like. They are an important source of the latest knowledge and indicate options that should be taken into consideration as we in Greenland face the many challenges and opportunities of the present and the future. The reports will be published after the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in the spring of 2017.

original article

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(Newsletter) April 2016 edition published

(Newsletter) April 2016 edition published

This month, after two years of extensive work on propelling innovation, we are half-way in our quest of delivering and strengthening innovation at the Overseas Countries and Territories. This quest is OCTA Innovation.

The objective of OCTA Innovation is ‘to enhance sustainable development through innovative solutions for economic diversification and to improve regional and global competitiveness of the OCTs’ through innovative methods, to unlock the value of the Territories’ human and natural resources and to achieve sustainable development’.

The goal is to assist OCTs to take innovative steps to improve their economic growth and promote social development. We provide demand-driven technical services and capacity building to each OCT government, support to each government in developing their innovation strategy, and support in implementing their innovation actions in different areas including grant funding of pilot projects.

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