Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 258

258 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Organization (GTO) for many years. This implies that the hitherto rather scarce exploitation of raw materials and hydropower energy in Greenland is a result of high costs, accessibility, and global market conditions for exploitation, more than a lack of knowledge about their potentials. The increasing global resource shortages of certain raw materials and consequent expectations of price increases is a major explanation for the increased international interest in some of Greenland’s mineral potentials. This is also reflected in the global geopolitical considerations towards the Arctic region resulting from changing climate conditions. From a Greenlandic perspective the global interests in the countries’ resources are highly welcomed. Currently, the Danish government contributes almost half of Greenland’s government budget (577 million Danish Kr. out of 1.261 million in 2011) (Statistics Greenland 2013) and approximately one third of the disposable gross national income. At the same time, Greenland has the same demographic challenges as a number of other Arctic areas, with increased life expectancy, a declining birth rate which is down to 1.8, and migration from Greenland, which together result in an increased dependency ratio, with consequent growth in public spending. Public spending is also challenged by expectations of increased welfare, education and health, while export incomes are declining, overall resulting in an expected increase in public finance deficits. The political desire in Greenland for increased political and economic autonomy creates an obviously untenable situation. Over the past decades, the value of mineral exports has been quite modest, while fish and shellfish account for approx. 85% of exports. In recent years a massive political desire has emphasized the need to expand the export incomes to more areas than just living marine resources and this has resulted in the development of new business areas based on the exploitation of mineral resources. This article explores in section 2 the historic policies of centralization supporting the growth of cities and the reduction in settlements based on subsistence fishing and hunting, but also an increase in the economic dependency of Greenland. This provides H