Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

A Guide to Best Practice

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Significant growth in economic activity in the Arctic has added weight to the argument that projects must be developed responsibly and sustainably. Addressing growing concerns regarding the exploitation of the Arctic’s natural resources, this timely book presents and evaluates examples of best practice in Arctic environmental impact assessment.

Chapter 11: Greenland

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Subjects: environment, corporate social responsibility, energy policy and regulation, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


Greenland has two separate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) systems – one that is guided by the country’s national EIA legislation and the other whose requirements are governed by the Mineral Resources Act (MRA), applicable to all mineral extraction projects. Greenland is unlike any of the other jurisdictions in the Arctic, and its governance history plays an important role in the direct link between its economy and its environment, and hence in understanding the evolution of the different EIA systems. The first major step towards Greenland’s autonomy from Denmark was the establishment of Home Rule in May 1979. In 2000, the Government began to evaluate the Home Rule agreement, which ultimately led to the Self-Government Act in May 2008. A national referendum was held in November 2008 where 75 per cent of the electorate voted in favour of the Self-Government Act. On the National Day, 21 June 2009, the Greenland Self-Government replaced the Home Rule Government. The Act on Greenland Self-Government (Act No. 473 of 12 June 2009) extended the powers enacted in the Home Rule Act of 1979 (Act No. 577 of 29 November 1978).

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