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ICC Greenland shocked at proposed funding cuts

Inuit advocacy group is already facing drastic cuts, now one MP wants to pull the plug altogether
ICC head Aqqaluk Lynge is outraged at proposed cuts to his groups funding (Photo: Leiff Josefsen)

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Greenland’s proposed budget for 2014 cuts annual funding for the Greenlandic branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) from 5.4 million Danish kroner ($1 million) to 1.4 million Danish kroner.

Aqqaluk Lynge, the president of the international ICC organisation, 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 completely cut the ICC’s subsidy.

“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.”

A huge loss
Gitte Seeberg, secretary general of WWF Denmark, a group that works closely with the ICC, said the calls to reduce the group’s funding were simply wrong.

“NGOs like the ICC play an important role in civil society,” she said. “When governments support organisations 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 Inuits look to the ICC to be their voice in the face of the many changes happening 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.