Jørgen S. Søndergaard
The words used control the discussion, which means that something important can be forgotten. The discussion of Sustain-able Development was derailed using the words “economy”, “social” and “environment”. This also applies to Arctic socie-tal development. The article is based on the definition of the Brundtland Commission and shows that the understanding of the sustainability concept consisting of three dimensions: an economic, a social and an environmental, as it was usually defined in the years after the UN Conference in 1992, originating in the 1990s implementation discussions in the UK. The Earth Charter was an initiative that wanted to bring the concept of sustainable development back to the right track so that all elements of the Brundtland Commission's definition were included.
The discussion in Greenland has been focused on the exploitation of the living marine resources, which is reflected in the way the concept is translated into Greenlandic. At the same time, there has been an awareness in Greenland that the cul-tural dimension is part of the discourse, although the national implementation of sustainable development initiatives still mostly is economically motivated. The Arctic Council’s Fairbanks Declaration (2017), paragraph 13 states that “the Arctic Council in promoting sustainable development through the harmonization of its three pillars in an integrated way: economic development, social development and environmental protection”. The struggle for recognition of the cultural di-mension as an integral part of sustainable development thus remains important in an arctic context. Focusing on the main points of the Finnish Presidency’s Arctic Council Program for the period 2017 - 2019, it can be concluded, that the struggle to expand the understanding and definition of ‘sustainable development’ to include the cultural dimension and thus go beyond “economy”, “social” and “environment” continues. It is important to use the right words.