Future Greenland 2015

 “Growth and welfare – scenarios for the development of Greenland”


Greenland Business Association (GA) once again invites everyone who is interested in society to an exciting debate on the goals and direction for the development of Greenland, under the title “Growth and welfare – scenarios for the development of Greenland”.

Click here for printable program

For further information about the individual presentations, please see below:

 Bo Lidegaard, editor-in-chief, Politiken

“Resources in collaborations between Denmark and Greenland”

Denmark and Greenland have a strong community of interest, but in recent years we have not been good enough at taking advantage of this. After achieving autonomy within the Danish commonwealth, we have received a framework that enjoys very broad support in both Greenland and Denmark; but we have not succeeded in creating dynamic co-operation within this framework, and Danish investments in Greenland’s economy have not become the motor that they have the potential to be. We must therefore ask ourselves what it will take to attract Danish investment to Greenland and stimulate growth, to the benefit of both parts of the commonwealth.


Erik Vilstrup Lorenzen, Arctic ambassador

Political developments in the Arctic and related collaboration

In his presentation, Erik Vilstrup Lorenzen will focus on political developments in the Arctic and joint activities in this connection, including in the Arctic Council. How, for example, does the Arctic Council support sustainable economic development in the region, and what role can the newly-established Arctic Economic Council be expected to play?


Torben Möger Pedersen, managing director, PensionDanmark

Pension fund investments in Greenland – why and how?

On the basis of experience gleaned from PensionDanmark’s infrastructural investments of more than DKK 15 billion in Europe and the United States, and from the Climate Investment Fund, managing director Torben Pedersen Möger presents some ideas on how money from Danish pension funds could find its way to Greenland.


Henrik Wegener, pro-rector, Technical University of Denmark (DTU): Education as a driver of growth

Welfare and economic growth are closely linked to knowledge in industry and the capacity of the public sector. This gives education, as a means of knowledge and capacity-building, a particularly important role in the sustainable development of society in Greenland.

Fifteen years ago, the government of Greenland and DTU initiated a joint venture on the training of engineers in Greenland. This highly successful collaboration, also known as ARTEK, has resulted in the training of 56 engineers in Arctic technology. Half of these engineers are Greenlandic, and virtually all are in employment in Greenland today.

A key question in relation to the current challenges faced by Greenlandic society, and the focal point of this presentation, is whether further efforts in education in Arctic technology can contribute to growth and sustainability, and thereby to strengthened independence.

The presentation will be based on experience gleaned from other countries of the importance of education and knowledge, as well as on the conclusions of a recent report by the Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV), and will propose ways in which education and knowledge-building can be applied as a strategic tool and growth driver in Greenland.

Vision 125, the development of ARTEK into a university centre in Arctic Technology in Sisimiut, Greenland, will be presented as an example of how such a strategic effort can be realised, and what this requires.

Ole Christiansen, managing director, NunaMinerals A/S

Greenland as a competitive mining country

Against the background of many years of experience with and knowledge of the mining industry and mining activities in Greenland, Ole Christiansen will present his thoughts on how Greenland could create competitive conditions that will attract serious investors in connection with mineral exploration and the establishment of mines in Greenland. He will also discuss this challenge in the perspective of international competition: What is Greenland up against, in relation to other countries that are competing for the same investment resources?


Adam Chamberlain: Impact and Benefit Agreements as a Mining Development Tool

Adam Chamberlain has worked in the negotiation and implementation of Impact and Benefit Agreements in various natural resource projects in Canada and in the Canadian Arctic in particular. Adam will discuss some of the lessons learned in the Canadian context and how those lessons might be used in Greenland mining development.

Karsten Dybvad, CEO, Confederation of Danish Industries

“Growth in the private sector as the prerequisite for a well-functioning society”

A well-functioning and prosperous society needs a strong business community. A strong business community is the prerequisite for society being able to provide good welfare services, such as public childcare, primary schools and nursing homes. Conversely, companies also rely on well-trained staff and good care possibilities for children and the elderly. A strong business community and a well-developed public sector are therefore not mutually exclusive: they are interdependent. But if the equation is to balance, it will require consistent political focus on securing conditions for businesses to thrive and evolve, and thereby contribute to a society in growth and equilibrium.


Mads Lebech, Managing Director, Danish Industry Foundation

The Arctic Cluster of Raw materials: Innovative and sustainable business ventures, Danish – Greenlandic possibilities

With many years of experience in the cross-field between the business community, public authorities and interest organisations, Mads Lebech will talk about the background to the involvement of the Danish Industry Foundation in the Arctic Cluster of Raw Materials, including the prospects for closer cooperation between businesses in Greenland and Denmark. The cluster is designed to bring together skills in the mining area, and Mads Lebech will also talk about some of the Foundation’s other projects with clusters and various cooperation models.

Minik Rosing, geologist, professor, University of Copenhagen

“Greenland Perspective – Can Greenland create new businesses that contribute to global solutions?”

The University of Copenhagen and the University of Greenland have jointly founded the initiative ‘Greenland Perspective’, which in many ways represents a response to the report ‘For the Benefit of Greenland’. By drawing upon international research, local businesses, authorities and civil society, Greenland Perspective aims to examine how the special characteristics of Greenland can be turned into an advantage and used as a lever for positive development in the country.


Edward Huijbens, Dr / Director, Icelandic Tourism Research Center. The development of Icelandic tourism

Terms of development and policy making. What can Greenland learn?

The talk will outline the key development trajectories of Icelandic tourism, focusing on its rapid growth in the most recent years. The role of resource use, infrastructure and product development will be highlighted within a cross-country comparative framework between Iceland and Greenland. Marketing practices and entrepreneurial activities will be explained and their potential and downsides assessed in the Icelandic context. The key concern of the talk is what the Greenlandic tourism industry can learn from Iceland and which tools it can adapt.


Robert Sheldon, Director, Business Development, Venture North: High Latitude Investments in the Arctic.

This presentation will provide a demonstrated framework to develop and access capital for economic as well as stakeholder approved projects through collaboration amongst Greenland and Denmark. The framework  overview will detail participants, their roles, and show the applicability to both renewable as well as non-renewable resource utilization including how it can become a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. Opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in collaboration with Danish funding sources will also be addressed. Further, an overview of geographically relevant value-add opportunities in Greenland, Denmark, and potentially Iceland, will be summarized for broader regional value creation and capture where it may not otherwise be possible.

Peter Beck, consultant, Ministry of Finance.

“Greenland’s debt crisis in the late 1980s. What lessons have been learned?”

Greenland was struck by a severe debt crisis in the late 1980s. There were several reasons for this: Optimism after the introduction of home rule in 1979, and the taking over of the commercial area from the state. A far too ambitious industrial development plan. Too much capacity expansion in the fishing industry. Fast implementation of mortgage financing and massive expansion of the infrastructure. There was also over-investment, particularly in prawn fishing. Too many companies were given prawn quotas, and the quotas were too small to support profitable operations.

As a result, the economy became overheated around 1986-1988. The national treasury acquired a record deficit and major liquidity problems. The consequence was significant borrowing in 1988 and very tight public finances in the subsequent years. The settlement of the debt was commenced, the construction budget was halved, and extensive savings were made in the operations of home rule.

GDP plummeted, unemployment rose, and there was a major exodus of both imported and domestic manpower. The recession was prolonged; it was not until around the turn of the century that GDP returned in real terms to its 1988 level. Luck has also contributed to the solution, inasmuch as interest rates have consistently fallen over the past 25 years.

Since 1988, there have been significant improvements in the management of public finances. State-owned companies have contributed to a more professional task solution – but this has also brought about new challenges in the management of the overall economy and the public debt.

Since 2012, the government of Greenland has formulated a debt and investment strategy with a view to prioritising and managing investments and debt developments. This is a useful tool in the management of public finances.

There will always be a risk that society may be gripped by euphoria and over-investment, and thereby increase the total level of debt – for example in connection with growth in activities in the oil and gas sector, or large-scale mining activities. It is therefore especially important to have independent advice available on the development of the macro economy, and instruments to ensure that any large extraordinary income is appropriately managed.