The Arctic is booming. Resource development, shipping and tourism each year attract billions of dollars worth of investments to the region.
However, while Norway, Canada and Russia benefit hugely from this development, Greenland and Denmark is lagging behind in the race for investments.
According to experts, part of the reason for this is low world market prices on the kind of natural resources that Greenland has to offer. Another important reason lies precisely in the political relation between Denmark and Greenland.
According to London-based consultancy firm Polariis, there is a huge risk the development of Greenland will stagnate as Chinese and American investors hesitate while monitoring the political situation and the political debates going on in Greenland and Denmark concerning greater independence of the former Arctic colony.
Resources and Sustainable Developments in the Arctic (ReSDA) is the name of a Canadian project aimed at helping Northern communities get more out of their natural resources. The project coordinators point to historical precedents like the Klondyke gold rush in the 1890’s.
The sudden influx of some 100,000 people had devastating impacts on the indigenous population in the Yukon areas as had the Arctic whaling industry in the beginning of the 20th century.
The ReSDA coordinators could also point to current or impending scrambles for oil, gas and minerals in almost every part of the Arctic region, in Greenland, Alaska, Arctic Russia, and Scandinavia. Everywhere there’s a need for finding ways to ensure that more benefits of resource development stay in the local communities.