Arctic Yearbook 2012
The Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy for the Arctic
“The Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy for the Arctic 2011-2020” was adopted by the
Government of Denmark, the Government of the Faroe Islands and the Government of
Greenland, and launched by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 2011
(Kingdom of Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011).
The Kingdom of Denmark has recently had an active and effective influence in the Arctic
region, particularly due to the new jurisdictional position of Greenland. This was already
apparent in the joint draft strategy of Denmark and Greenland
which was published in May
2008 (Namminersornerullutik Oqartussat and Udenrigsministeriet, 2008), and now this is
approved by the final Strategy. The draft strategy contained a series of objectives for the
work, which broadly fell within two categories: first, supporting and strengthening
Greenland's development towards increased autonomy and self-government; and second,
maintaining Denmark’s position as a major player in the Arctic.
Correspondingly, the Kingdom of Denmark’s Strategy for the Arctic 2011-2020 is
comprehensive and includes all relevant fields in substantial detail. Its primary focus is on
Copenhagen’s new relations with the self-government of Greenland and on strengthening
the Kingdom of Denmark’s status as a player in the Arctic. Its objective is twofold: first, to
react and respond to significant environmental and geopolitical change(s) in the Arctic and
the growing global interest toward the region; and second, to redefine a (new) position of the
Kingdom of Denmark and strengthen its status as a player in the Arctic.
According to the Strategy document, the Kingdom of Denmark is “in an equal partnership
between the three parts of the Danish Realm”, Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands –
this much legitimizes the use of the term “Kingdom of Denmark” when it comes to Arctic
affairs – will work for “a peaceful, secure and safe Arctic; with self-sustaining growth and
development; with respect for the Arctic’s fragile climate; and in close cooperation with our
international partners”. Further, the Strategy is described “first and foremost” as “a strategy
for development that benefits the inhabitants of the Arctic”. It has a clear global perspective
by stating that the vast changes in the Arctic are one of most significant global issues, and
that “[T]he world has again turned its attention to the Arctic”, and consequently the aim is
“to strengthen the Kingdom’s status as global player in the Arctic” (Kingdom of Denmark
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2011: 9-11).