Island Operations in Greenland – Challenged by the Sectorialisation of Infrastructure

Lead Author Kåre, Hendriksen
Institution Contact Arctic Technology Centre DTU Byg Technical University of Denmark Brovej, Bygning 118, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Danmark
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.3 Current infrastructural Challenges, extreme weather and natural hazards and the effects on northern communities
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text In socio-economic terms, Greenland belongs to the world's most complex and challenging - and therefore expensive - communities. In practice all 75 Greenlandic towns and settlements more or less operate as isolated island economies and consequently as island-operated societies. This present some unique management and engineering challenges. Every town or settlement has its own power plant, water supply system etc. Based on the limited transport infrastructure it is not possible to commute on a daily basis between the settlements.
During the period of independence (Home-rule) the previous colonial infrastructure system run by the Greenland Technical Organization (GTO) and the Royal Greenlandic Trade (KGH) has been transformed into segmented public owned companies. The individual companies have restricted their focus to their individual fields of competence. Over the years, this has resulted in a general loss of competences on a series of cross-sector areas. The tendency of sub optimizing in the individual company combined with the wish to run on market conditions have resulted in an increase of services and lowered prizes in the larger towns. In contrast, the smaller settlements and remote districts have experienced a decrease in services as well as growing prices.
The general technical and economical consequences of the Greenlandic island operation will be discussed and coupled to the settlement pattern and utilization of local natural resources and the local development dynamic. The applicability of using market mechanism as a management tool will be questioned. Additionally the consequences of the sectorialisation of infrastructure and lack of coordination between different companies will be problematized.