On the 20th of January, the Icelandic ministry of foreign affairs published a report which brings recommendations for strengthened cooperation between Greenland and Iceland. The report is made by the Icelandic Greenland committee that was appointed by the Icelandic minister of foreign affairs in 2019. The committee is tasked with analysing current bilateral relations as well as indentifying areas for further cooperation.
The 274-page long report has 10 main recommendations which the Icelandic minister of foreign affairs is encouraged to work towards. One of the recommendations is to work on a bilateral trade agreement that aims for increased trade and lowering the price for daily necessities for Greenlandic consumers. A bilateral trade agreement, along with the weekly sailings between Greenland and Iceland which commenced last year, is expected to facilitate access for Icelandic low-price supermarkets in Greenland.
Furthermore, the Icelandic government will also appoint a workgroup tasked with preparations of an arctic centre based in Reykjavik. The arctic centre will, among other things, be the home of Arctic Circle, which has been one of the largest conferences on Arctic affairs since 2013. Additionally, the centre will also accommodate international guests, researchers and Ph.d. fellows as well as an Arctic museum. The long-term goal is to strengthen Arctic Circle as a forum which attracts attention to the Arctic region as well as Greenland.
One of the other main recommendations focus on the establishment of an international think tank which, in consultation with Greenlandic authorities, will engage in “Greenland in the Arctic” as a topic. This can be in collaboration with e.g. Wilson Center in Washington D.C. and the Arctic Initiative at Harvard University. The goal is to increase the discussion on Greenland in international academic forums and constellations, but also to strenghten the international relations between Greenland and Iceland.
In addition to the 10 main recommendations, the report also touches upon a wide variety of areas for further cooperation. Areas such as health, infrastructure, mining, energy, fisheries, tourism, and political cooperation are also covered by the report.
On Monday the 22nd of February, Arctic Circle VIRTUAL will host a dialogue with the Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson and chairman of the Greenlandic committee Össur Skarphéðinsson on the recently published report. You can read more and register for Arctic Circle VIRTUAL: Greenland in the New Arctic, here.