The Government of the Faroe Islands released its arctic strategy on October 13 at the Arctic Circle Assembly 2022 in Reykjavík. Situated in the GIUK gap between Iceland and Scotland and self-governing since 1948, the 50,000 citizens of the Faroe Islands are under the “external sovereignty” of Denmark. They have a strong focus on Arctic issues and participate in the Arctic Council as part of a delegation to the Arctic Council called Denmark/Greenland/Faroe Islands, which flies the flags of all three nations.
With rise in interest in the Arctic Region has come a corresponding rise in interest in nations that straddle strategic points in the Region, of which the Faroe Islands figure prominently. Earlier this year Denmark and the Islands agreed to establish an air surveillance radar in the Faroe Islands, which when operational will cover a critical segment in the GIUK gap.
The Faroese strategy references the UN Sustainable Development goals and specifically covers seventeen objectives in eight broad areas:
- Stability and Security
- Importance of international Cooperation
- Environment, Nature and Climate
- Research and Education
- Preparedness and Response
- Development of fisheries and Marine conservation
- Sustainable economic development
- Cross-border cultural exchange
The Faroe Islands: A Nation in the Arctic was a 2013 assessment by the Prime Minister’s Office that examined the opportunities and challenges of the region from the Islands’ perspective. The Islands were also part of the the Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic Strategy 2011-2020, which includes Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. It is currently being updated for 2021-2030. Likewise the Islands contributed comments to the updated European Union Arctic Policy, stressing the need to balance sustainable development with environmental protection.