In October 2022, Greenland and Iceland signed a cooperation agreement that seeks to build on deepening bilateral ties between the two countries, especially in the areas of trade and culture, education and health, and several people-to-people relations. The agreement was signed by Prime Ministers, Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland, and Mute B. Egede of Greenland.
Greenland and Iceland History
The two nations’ historical ties extend to over a thousand years, and have accelerated over the last decade, with the opening of the Consulate General of Iceland in Nuuk in 2013, and the Greenland Representation in Reykjavik in 2018. As partners within the framework of Nordic, West-Nordic and Arctic cooperation, the two leaders agreed to annual meetings, alternating between Nuuk, Greenland and Reykjavik, Iceland. These meetings will assess the year’s progress and look at ways that relations can be further enhanced.
In the Declaration of Cooperation, the leaders identified various areas for future cooperation, including trade, fisheries, economic cooperation, climate change and biodiversity, gender equality, education and research, and cultural cooperation. Climate change is a key area for both nations, with the declaration pointing out that,
“We are faced with similar challenges because of the climate crisis. In our immediate region, climate change is happening at an alarming pace. Temperatures are rising and glaciers are melting with serious impact on our oceans, marine biodiversity, ocean currents and weather patterns.”
The countried agreed they need to join hands. They want to strengthen cooperation as regards monitoring and assessments of the changes and developments, as well as mitigating the effects. There are ample opportunities to facilitate the green transition of their economies, not least in the energy and transport sector, but also as regards the introduction of various green solutions in society at large.
The two countries have worked to preserve their pristine landscapes, with tourism to both countries rising, and travellers enjoying road trips in Iceland, for example, and the two countries’ unique climates. Sustainable tourism is something that both countries seek to encourage as part of an effort to improve the already good ties between the two nations.
The two nations believe that research and education are important priorities, and want to ensure that they create mutually beneficial synergies through student and teacher exchanges, and increased distance learning.
The two countries share similar demographics and socio-economic development levels, and they believe that this is the basis for good cooperation, and mutual learning in such areas as gender equality and mainstreaming. Greenland and Iceland are very interested in working together to combat sexual and gender-based violence against women and research on the impact of trauma on women’s and children’s health. They also aim to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in creative industries to preserve their identity and languages.
Overall, the two prime ministers believe that, as a result of this agreement, both countries will result in an equitable bilateral trade agreement between Greenland and Iceland, equitable, fair, and sustainable fisheries agreements, cooperation on renewable energy and climate smart solutions, sustainable tourism, aviation and the construction industry, and joint efforts with focus on monitoring, assessing and mitigating the ongoing changes in their region due to climate change.