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Nunamut Namminermut, Pinngortitamut Avatangiisinullu Naalakkersuisoqarfik Departementet for Indenrigsanliggender, Natur og Miljø. Greenland National Park – strategy plan. Thomas Nielsen, Department of Domestic Affairs, Nature & Environment AECO annual conference Oslo, October 4th 2010.

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greenland national park strategy plan

Nunamut Namminermut, Pinngortitamut Avatangiisinullu Naalakkersuisoqarfik

Departementet for Indenrigsanliggender, Natur og Miljø

Greenland National Park – strategy plan

Thomas Nielsen, Department of Domestic Affairs, Nature & Environment

AECO annual conference

Oslo, October 4th 2010

the national park strategy plan
The National Park – strategy plan
  • Contents:
  • Strategy plan
  • The National Park
  • Conservation status:
    • National Park
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Zonation:
    • Conservation zones
    • Management zones
  • Scenarios
  • Next steps
the strategy plan
The strategy plan

In the Zackenberg agreement between Environmental Ministers of Denmark and Greenland of 7 august 2001, it was decided that a strategy plan should be developed for the National Park,

The Strategy Plan should ensure a gradual protection of the area in line with international obligations and protect an intact ecosystem for future generations.

Seven working groups comprised of relevant authorities and institutions

1. Huts – some are of historical interest and need conservation

2. Ownership of huts

3. Garbage – how to clean up and who is responsible?

4. Tourism – infrastructure and guidelines/rules for tourism

5. Infrastructure – potential for new airport/improvement of harbour in Ittoqqortoormiit

6. Conservation status: Man and Biosphere/National Park

7. Zonation

working groups stakeholders
Working groups/stakeholders
  • Department of Domestic Affairs, Nature and Environment
  • Department of Culture, Education, Research and the Church
  • Department of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture
  • Department of Industry and Mineral Resources
  • Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum
  • Greenland National Museum and Archives
  • Greenland Tourism and Business Council
  • The commune of Sermersooq
  • This year we have organised two seminars with the stakeholders, incl. NGOs and others
  • We are doing our best to involve all stakeholders in the National Park
conservation status
Conservation status

The National Park

Established in 1974

Area: 972.000 km2

Conservation aim:

Ensure ecosystem conservation, research and recreational use (for the local human population and tourism).

In 1994 mineral exploitation is permitted in the Park.

Conservation Status

  • National Park (does not comply with IUCN def.)
  • Biosphere reserve under UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program
conservation status national park
Conservation status- National Park
  • Recognised internationally as a national park


  • Since the permission to carry out mineral exploitation in the National Park (1994), Greenland no longer comply with criteria for the IUCN protection category II (National Park).
  • The pressure from the mineral and oil exploitation interests makes the need for a strategy plan even more urgent to ensure management that complies with the objectives of the national park
  • Tourism can be permitted as long as it does not affect conservation aims.
conservation status man and biosphere reserve
Conservation Status- Man and Biosphere Reserve

What are Biosphere Reserves?

  • Biosphere Reserves are terrestrial or coastal ecosystems recognised by UNESCO Man and Biosphere program (MAB).


  • Appointed Man and Biosphere status by UNESCO in 1977.
  • Greenland has not implemented the MAB concept as described in the Seville Strategy (1995). Part of the strategy plan is to make sure that the National Park complies with the Seville Strategy.
conservation status man and biosphere reserve8
Conservation Status- Man and Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserves should fulfill three functions:

► Nature Conservation

- protection of landscape, ecosystems, biodiversity and genetic variation

► Development

- create foundation for economic development that are ecologically and culturally sustainable

► Logistics

- support for learning projects, research, monitoring and education and training in the fields of nature conservation and sustainable development

Implementation requirements include, according to the Seville Strategy:

  • Permanent human population resident in the area
  • Zonation
conservation zones
Conservation zones

Strategy Plan should develop zonation of

the area in accordance with international

obligations and political aims.

Use of MAB zone categories to facilitate possible

implementation of the concept.

MAB - zones

Core Areas

Highest protection status. Vulnerable areas. Often a “no-go”-area at least in parts of the year.

Buffer Zone

Buffer zones are protection zones around

core areas. Activities that do not compromise

conservation aims can be permitted.

Transition Area

Sustainable use of natural resources in

collaboration with and for the benefit of local


many interests in the national park zonation is needed
Many interests in the National Park- zonation is needed
  • Conservation interests
  • Threatened and vulnerable species and habitats
  • Unique habitats (e.g. polynias, thermic springs)
  • Historical settlements (paleo-eskimoic to recent hunting and World War II structures)
  • Unique geological sites of scientific interest
  • Stakeholder interests
  • Tourism
  • Mineral and oil resources
  • Local human population (hunting, fishing, recreation etc.)
  • Research
  • Authority control, inspection and monitoring

GIS database based on various scientific reports identifying important areas of conservation interest (nature, geology, culture) and issued mineral exploration licenses.

management zones
Management zones

Management zones is seen as a tool:

- to ensure fast processing of applications

- to reduce workload in the administration

- to facilitate control of activities in the area

This is sought by establishing specific

regulations for each management zone

Justification for zonation:

  • Tourism and local recreational and hunting interests increases towards the south
  • Cultural remains are particular sensitive north of 77oN
  • Search and rescue operations are problematic, particularly in the north
  • Possibilities for monitoring and control decreases towards the north

National Park

Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserve

And National Park

next steps
Next steps
  • Recommendations to the parliament in spring 2011:
    • for the protection status of the National Park/Biosphere Reserve
    • for the zonation of the National Park/Biosphere Reserve
  • Public hearing of the recommendations this autumn/winter
  • Revision of the executive order for the National Park/Biosphere Reserve based on the final strategy plan is planned for 2011
  • Management plan for the National Park/Biosphere Reserve is expected in 2012
  • We need AECO’s opinion and advice too!