Areas of responsibility

The Department of Foreign Affairs main areas of responsibility are: Arctic co-operation, relationship with EU, UN and indigenous people rights, Nordic cooperation, export/trade promotion and protocol.

Arctic co-operation
Most dominant in the Arctic co-operation area is Greenland's (The Kingdom of Denmark) work within the Arctic Council. The Department of Foreign Affairs coordinates the Home Rule's participation in the Arctic Council, a governmental organization consisting of the eight sovereign arctic states, Canada, Kingdom of Denmark (Greenland and Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, USA. Further six indigenous peoples' organizations have seats as permanent participants, among them, the ICC.

The Arctic Council (AC) is an international forum with the main focus areas being sustainable development and protection of the environment. The AC consists of six working groups, with Greenland participating in the most relevant groups and task forces, along with the Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) meetings.

Apart from the AC, Greenland co-operates closely with the other Arctic states on a bilateral level.

Since the Greenlandic withdrawal from the EU in 1985, held numerous contractual relations with the EU. The co-operation is mainly within the fishery sector, and a partnership agreement. Greenland has further connection to the EU with the OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories) scheme. The Self Rule has via the Department of Foreign Affairs, a Representation in Brussels, maintaining Greenland's interests in the EU. The Representation offers assistance to Naalakkersuisut, Inatsisartut and the Self Rule.
For further about the Representation in Brussels, see the Representation in Brussel's homepage.

The Department fo Foreign Affairs attends various fora under the auspices of the UN, which are of particular interest to Greenland. Among these is the UN's ongoing work on human rights, indigenous peoples' rights, climate etc. Greenland is responsible for continuous reporting to the ILO about the implementation of the ILO convention 169 (deals with the rights of indigenous and tribal people). The Self Rule and the Danish Government, are supervized by the UN, who follows the implementation of the UN human rights conventions.

Further readings about the UN and its fora:

The Continental Shelf Project
In 2003 the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) decided to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) from 1982. Both the Faroese and Greenlandic Parliaments have subsequently ratified the decision. Entered into force on 16 December, 2004, Greenland/Denmark has 10 years (from the day of the ratification) to lay extended claims of the continental shelf, outside the 200 nautical miles.

To Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, there are five interesting areas, of which one is the North Pole. In order to document the demand on new seabed areas to the Danish Kingdom, the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science has in cooperation with the Faroese Home Rule and the Greenlandic Self Rule, along with relevant institutions from all countries, launched The Continental Shelf Project.

Read more about the Continental Shelf Project on the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science's homepage.

Nordic co-operation
Naalakkersuisut participates in the Nordic Council of Ministers, with the members of Naalakkersuisut participating in the various subject specific Councils of Ministers. For a list of the Councils of Ministers, please see the homepage.
The Nordic Co-operation is part of the Minister of Nature and Environment's portfolio. The Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the secretariat. The Nordic policy is part of the Naalakkersuisut foreign policy, exercised via the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the Inatsisartut (parliament) relevant fora, the Nordic Council and the West Nordic Council.

Cooperation between Greenland and USA
There are number of cooperation agreements between Greenland/Denmark and the United States. The first official agreement with the US relating to Greenland is Defense Agreement of 1951. As in recent years, was amended and supplemented in Igaliku Agreement of 2004. Defense Agreement of 1951 contains the defense of Greenland as a NATO member. And how Denmark on Greenland could contribute to collective defense in the NATO alliance. In Igaliku agreement was Greenland's status was changed from colony to an equal part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

There are also other agreements between the United States and Denmark with Greenland, which is related to the defense agreement of 1951, the US military presence in Greenland, information sharing in the area, as well as the authority and responsibility-sharing within the US military presence.

Read more about agreements between Denmark / Greenland and the United States:
Defense Agreement of 1951
Igaliku Agreement
Economic and technical cooperation
The environmental agreement
Kangerlussuaq Agreement
Dundas Agreement
Memorandum of Understanding in 1991

Cooperation between Greenland / Denmark and the United States occurs at least once a year in cooperation fora Joint Committee and the Permanent Committee.

Trade and export promotion
The Naalakkersuisut is responsible for promoting Greenlandic tradeinterests, resulting in performing analysis and negotiations in order to promote bilateral trade agreements, aimed at increasing Greenlandic export.

The Naalakkersuisut aims to limit restrictions to Greenlandic exports by signing bilateral agreements, stimulating productivity in Greenlandic companies, by securing free access to open markets.
The Naalakkersuisut works to stimulate export to other countries in order to limit the vulnerability of relying on few buyers and price fluctuations.


The Department of Foreign Affairs' Chief of Protocol arranges official visits in Greenland and official arrangements on behalf of the Naalakkersuisut.

The Department of Foreign Affairs publishes an annual report on the Naalakkersuisut international work. The annual foreign policy report is currently only available in Greenlandic and Danish. For notifications in English, please consult the news feed.