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ICC Greenland faces shutdown after funding slashed

Inuit interest organisation is asking Greenland's parliament to rethink budget cuts that would see four million kroner taken out of its budget over the next four years
Let my funding go (File photo: Leiff Josefsen)

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The voice of the Inuit in Greenland cold fall silent if that country’s parliament does not take steps to counter a decision to slash the budget of ICC Greenland by 1 million kroner ($184,000) a year for the next four years.

The move would see the Greenlandic parliament gut its annual contribution to the ICC from 5.4 million kroner to 1.4 million in 2018.

Addressing the organisation’s annual general meeting last week, president Aqqaluk Lynge said the cuts, passed last year and which take effect this year, were so deep that it threatened ICC Greenland’s participation in the quadrennial international ICC General Assembly later this year.

Missing the ICC would be especially embarrassing for Lynge, who is currently president of the ICC international’s organisation and was due to hand over the reigns to Canada’s Okalik Eegeesiak during the July 21-24 meeting in Inuvik.

SEE RELATED: ICC Greenland shocked at proposed funding cuts

ICC – an abbreviation for Inuit Circumpolar Council – is an international organsiation made up of national chapters from Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka, Russia. It sits on the Arctic Council as a so-called permanent participant, which allows it to participate in discussions, but does not give it the right to vote. The organisation has also been granted consulative status at the UN.

Unless it gets its funding restored, Lynge said, ICC Greenland will not be able to afford to pay its contributions to the parent organisation.

“We have tried to operate as a volunteer organisation without support from the national budget, but that’s just not realistic in 2014,” Lynge said. “Right now, the most responsible thing we can do is prepare to shut down.”

SEE RELATED: Inuit look ahead

Lynge said given the organisation’s current financial outlook, he would recommend beginning the winding down process in 2015, and completing it by 2017.

ICC Greenland hopes parliament will shelve this year’s cuts in order to allow the group the funding it needs remain active while the two sides conduct talks about the future of the organisation.

The ICC Greenland budget cuts come despite praise for the Greenlandic and Danish governments from abroad for supporting the work of the ICC.