NEWS: Around the Arctic November 06, 2013 - 2:03 pm

ICC Greenland shocked by proposed funding cuts in country’s budget

With Inuit advocacy group facing drastic cuts, one Greenland MP wants to pull the plug altogether

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

THE ARCTIC JOURNAL
Reprinted with permission

Greenland’s proposed budget for 2014 cuts annual funding for the Greenlandic branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council from 5.4 million Danish kroner — about C $1 million —  to 1.4 million Danish kroner — equal to only about C $265,000.

Aqqaluk Lynge, chair of the international ICC organization, said he was deeply shocked when he saw the proposed cuts, but if one member of Greenland’s parliament gets his way, Lynge’s sense of shock may turn into panic.

Kristian Jeremiassen, an MP for Siumut, the party led by premier Aleqa Hammond, wants to cut the ICC’s subsidy completely.

“The subsidy from the self-rule administration to the ICC should be cut,” Jeremiassen said.

“The money could be better spent on other things Greenland needs, like reducing waiting lists for hospitals.”

Gitte Seeberg, the secretary general of WWF Denmark, a group that works closely with the ICC, said the proposal to reduce the group’s funding is simply wrong.

“NGOs like the ICC play an important role in civil society,” she said. “When governments support organizations like the ICC, it is a sign of a strong democracy — even if they sometimes take positions that are contrary to the government’s view.”

Seeberg said many Inuit look to the ICC to be their voice in the face of the many changes occurring in Greenland.

“Greenland is making decisions that will have a major impact on future generations of Inuit,” she said.

“It is important that the ICC has the resources to carry out its work in peace, completely separated from political games.”

Seeberg said losing an organisation like the ICC would be a “huge loss” to Greenland.

The Canadian wing of the ICC is linked closely to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and is funded by contributions from Inuit organizations and government.