Kåre Hendriksen, Birgitte Hoffmann & Ulrik Jørgensen

The key question of the paper is how to plan and organize mining projects in Greenland in ways that involve local workforce and develop business as well as settlement potentials. The paper outlines a concept of flexible settlements with the aim to build a socio-economic sustainable future for Greenland.

A major contemporary challenge for Greenland is its economic deficit and dependency on state support from Denmark, to maintain its living standard. The evolving decoupling between existing settlements and the main export industry based on marine living resources re-enforced by new mineral extraction based on a workforce that is working temporarily at the mining sites poses a threat to employment in Greenland. At the same time, attracting mineral resource based industries is key to overcome the economic challenges. Mining companies envisage potentials for a fast extraction of the resources using immigrant and migrant labourers that work intensively while living in temporary quarters. The historic experiences of Greenland tell that a different, slower exploitation of mineral resources may contribute to social improvements and competence-building thereby providing long-term improvements for the Greenlandic society. This point to a need for plans and the organisation of mineral exploitations that operate based on coupling local settlements and resources with mining and other forms of activities. This demands new perspectives on the content of social impact assessments as well as new criteria for the planning of settlements and infrastructures.

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Kristín Rut Kristjánsdóttir

Tourist destinations in the Arctic regions are dependent on very fragile ecosystems and distinctive cultures. Therefore it is crucial that sustainability principles are included in tourism development. This participatory action research, conducted with a transdisciplinary approach to tourism studies and sustainability science, illustrates how tourist hosts in a rural community in northern Sweden perceive their possibilities of producing shared sustainable benefits for their community. Micro-situational variables were identified with in-depth interviews and broader contextual variables were identified with qualitative participatory system analysis. The themes that emerged from these methods were analyzed with the framework of conditional cooperation for sustainable use of common pool resources. The study concluded that the level of cooperation is beneficial and thus tourism can function as the empowerment needed to activate drivers for sustainable development at a community level. The participants are learning and are reciprocal in developing a practice that is both environmentally and socially sustainable for the community. They are adapting to limiting infrastructural and social conditions and are confident that others in the community commit equally to meeting these challenges. Together they create community capital in projects and initiatives that create net benefits in the community. The main driver of this reinforcing relationship is the common interest of being able to continue living in their community and continue working with tourism. Standardization and centralization in national and municipal policies are the main limiting factors for sustainable development of this peripheral community, and for sustainable development of tourism as an employing industry in this area.

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Patrick T. Maher, Hans Gelter, Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, Gestur Hovgaard, John Hull, Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson, Anna Karlsdóttir, Outi Rantala, & Albina Pashkevich

This paper addresses human capital in the Arctic in relation to tourism. More specifically, with an ever-increasing number of tourists recognizing the attractiveness of the Arctic, tour companies are increasingly recognizing the opportunities. The media (typically southern media) sells the image, either before or after the tourists arrive, and communities are often left to deal with the repercussions – whether those are social, economic, environmental, or the like. Many of the repercussions are negative; however, even when perceived as positive they can create tensions within small communities and showcase a variety of capacity issues.

This paper focuses on the realities and possibilities of tourism in the Arctic. It offers an up-to-date descriptive overview of tourism numbers and valuations. In addition, ‘realities’ also focuses on the current suite of challenges and ‘possibilities’ addresses critical questions that need to be asked as tourism grows. We are in an uncertain age and academic critique of the Arctic tourism phenomenon is growing as quickly as the numbers. This paper is almost fully circumpolar in outlook, written by individuals from those jurisdictions, and aims to intersect with other sectors active in the Arctic.

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Simo Sarkki, Kirsi Latola, Mikko Jokinen & Adam Stepien

This paper introduces concept of socio-natural capital, which is here seen as a property of social systems including institutions, human groups and individual people to use natural capital in a sustainable way. The objectives of this article are to map gaps regarding socio-natural capital via examining case of reindeer herding and its relations to other land uses in northern Fennoscandia, mainly in Finland, and to explore ways how socio-natural capital can be promoted in order to enhance sustainable land use in the northern sparsely populated Fennoscandia. These issues are examined based on previous research and especially on reindeer herders’ perspectives, as well as on an online questionnaire (n=13) and a workshop (n=11) with stakeholders on land use in Fennoscandia. Gaps in socio-natural capital include lack of trust between different land users, discrepancy between governance ideals and real world practices, divergent perceptions on sustainable land use, and use of resources for external benefits. Following proposals can help to close these gaps: 1) to enhance public participation, 2) to stronger institutionalize indigenous land rights, 3) to enhance multi-directional knowledge exchange, and 4) to include social impact assessment more strongly into planning processes. Further studies and conceptualisations of socio-natural capital are needed to find ways how people could interact to build capital to solve land use contradictions for sustainability.

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C.C.A. Smits, R.G. Bertelsen, & J.C.S. Justinussen

Like many Arctic states, Iceland and the Faroe Islands used to be the resource-based economies which Greenland is today. Remotely located in relation to the World economy, Iceland and the Faroe Islands have succeeded in developing a knowledge-based economy, also related to their energy sector. To create a knowledge-based economy a sufficient mass of human capital is of crucial importance. In forming this critical mass, higher education and knowledge institutes play a central role. The cases of the Faroe Islands and Iceland show that it is possible to create a critical mass of human capital by developing strong knowledge institutes and stimulating the exchange of knowledge. Iceland has successfully developed a knowledge-based energy sector based on hydropower over the last century. Icelanders bringing home knowledge gained via graduate education at top institutes abroad, appeared of major importance. More recently the Faroe Islands have developed human capital based on oil and gas exploration activities, while no economically viable resources have been found yet. Greenland on the other side has made some important steps in creating and strengthening strong knowledge institutes, but is still far from a full-fledged knowledge-based economy such as the one in Iceland. Are there lessons to be learned from Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and how much do historic path-dependencies matter in this context? These are questions that this article will explore.

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Brit Sojka

In the Canadian Arctic, new federal policies are challenging the ideals of integrated ocean management. Consolidated environmental regulatory authority and efforts to subdue and silence environmental research are also placing the Arctic’s ocean resource-dependent and subsistence-based indigenous communities at risk. Through the lens of Canadian ocean and coastal governance, this paper is an attempt to identify and address some of the emerging insecurities and tensions that exist between current federal resource management policies and their ultimate impact on both the people and environment of the Canadian Arctic.

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