Greenland. UN Children’s Fund UNICEF declared in January that Greenland violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF referred to a study that showed that about a tenth of the Greenlandic children live in misery. At the beginning of the year it was also found that Greenland has more violence than any other society in the world, according to reported cases per 10,000 residents. When it came to murder, Greenland was in fourth place in the world. The violence was usually associated with alcohol consumption, according to police. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation GL which stands for the nation of Greenland.
In May, the European Parliament decided that member states should stop importing seal products, which was received negatively in Greenland.
Before the transition from so-called home rule to expanded self-government in June, new elections to the County Council were announced. The election, held June 2, became a landslide victory for the left-wing party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA). Social Democratic Siumut’s historic loss of power in the election was assumed to be due to several corruption scandals. The bourgeois party Democrats lost nearly half of their electoral votes and stayed at just under 13 percent and four seats. IA took close to 44 percent of the vote and 14 of the County Council’s 31 seats. Siumut declined sharply, staying at just over 26 percent and nine terms. IA’s desire to bring Greenland to independence faster than other parties is believed to have contributed to the success. IA’s party leader Kuupik Kleist, who pushed for better health care and social care, was also considered to play a big part in the party’s victory.
On National Day 21 June, Greenland officially switched to expanded self-government. Danish Prime Minister and Queen Margrethe participated in a solemn ceremony in Nuuk, where the queen handed over the new autonomy law. It states, among other things, that Greenlandic becomes the official language and that the islanders are given the right to decide for themselves if and when they want independence from Denmark. Greenland is also granted ownership of oil and gas deposits under the seabed.
In the Danish Folketing’s defense settlement during the year, there were plans to strengthen the Danish military presence in Greenland and establish an Arctic intervention force and an Arctic command. Critics saw the plans as an unnecessary militarization of Greenland, which could contribute to race armor in the Arctic, including the Russian Federation as a player.
In November, a research study was presented that showed that Greenland’s glaciers are melting ever faster since the mid-1990s. From 2006 to 2008, over 800 billion tonnes of ice melted into water. The melting rate is expected to increase, according to researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
Institutional structure. – Since 1979, Greenland has been established in an autonomous Danish county. The main effects of self-government (see below: History) include the official acceptance of bilingualism (Danish and Eskimo) and the exit from the European Economic Community. It was also decided not to host nuclear devices on the island, even during the war, despite its membership of NATO and the presence of US military bases (the main one in Søndre Srømfjord).
Population. – The population of Greenland counts 55.558 residents (1990), distributed in coastal areas free from permanent ice which, according to the latest evaluations, are about 341,700 km 2 extended, equal to 15.7% of the island’s surface. The western Greenland appears much more populated, with over 90% of the residents, while the population of the eastern Greenland (3425 residents) Is almost entirely concentrated in the main center, Angmagssalik / Ammassalik (2889 residents In 1990). There are only 849 permanent residents in northern Greenland in addition, a thousand nomads have been registered. Out of the population as a whole, about 9500 are resident foreigners (mostly Danes).
The most populous centers are located along the west coast: Godthaab / Nuuk, capital of Greenland (12,687 residents In 1990), Holsteinsborg / Sisimiut (5090 residents), Jakobshavn / Ilulissat (4568 residents), Sukkertoppen / Maniitsoq (4075 residents).
The Greenlandic population recorded a notable increase in the 1950s and 1960s, with annual increases of over 4%, then stabilizing at growth rates of around 1% per year: 24,118 residents were registered at the 1951 census; in 1960, 33,113; in 1965, 39,600; in 1970, 46,531; in 1976, 49,630. Overall, therefore, in the last forty years the population has more than doubled.
Economic conditions. – With the traditional activity of hunting reduced to a marginal role, and caribou and sheep farming remaining stationary, the island’s economy tends to rely more and more on fishing and mining. The fishery essentially concerns cod, whose product is in almost constant increase (about 214,000 tonnes landed in 1989) and feeds the few industrial installations in Greenland. The fishing of cetaceans and shrimps is also of some importance.
As for mining activities, the extraction of coal and cryolite of Ivigtut / Ivittuut stopped, the production of lead (about 35,500 t of metal contained in 1989) and zinc (130,500 t), extracted at Mesters Vig, remain considerable. Cultivation of other known deposits (uranium, molybdenum, thorium) has not yet started, which nevertheless seems promising.
The trade to and from Denmark received enormous impetus, reaching values of about 2.9 billion crowns on imports and about 2.9 on exports (1989).
However, as a consequence of recent technical developments, the importance of the geographic position of the Greenland is greatly diminished, both from a strategic point of view, as an intercontinental airport and as a base for meteorological surveys.
Finally, the establishment (1974) in the north of the Greenland of the largest natural park in the world, extending over approximately 700,000 km 2, should be noted.