The Nordic Strategy for Sustainable Development is the first regional strategy of its kind in the world. It helps to give Greenland a clearer voice in both the Nordic Region and around of the world.
Greenland has been involved in this international co-operation since the first conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. There was particular focus on the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was a direct result of the conference, but Greenland has been active in other collaborative situations.
Work on the first Nordic strategy for sustainable development was launched by the joint declaration from the five Nordic prime ministers and leaders of the three Nordic autonomous territories in Oslo in 1998. The result was a joint Nordic strategy for sustainable development, which has subsequently become a benchmark for the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
At the next Nordic Council Session in the autumn the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation will present a revised strategy, based partly on the outcome of the UN summit of world leaders in June in Rio.
Our participation in Nordic co-operation means two things: Firstly, we have an influence on the common policies, i.e. the joint Nordic strategies, programmes and projects etc. Secondly, we take part in presenting the joint Nordic strategy around the world.
Over the years the Nordic strategy has covered the environment, climate, sustainable production and consumption as well as the opportunities for the Nordic welfare model to strengthen the basis for the next generation having a planet to live on where the environment and nature are in order.
This is the actual core of the concept of sustainable development, namely the obligation between generations.
Among the many activities taking place during the negotiations at the actual governmental conference there will be a number of side events where participating ministers and experts will discuss specially chosen themes from the conference.
The Nordic Council of Ministers is hosting an official event in conjunction with the actual ministerial conference, and three other events, which will take place in the days leading up to the ministerial meeting.
The official event, which I will attend as Nordic Minister for Co-operation, is about ecolabelling and the advantages of several countries working with a common ecolabel.
In the Nordic countries we have been familiar with the Nordic Ecolabel, the Swan, over many years. When we do our everyday shopping we know that by using Nordic ecolabelled products we are guaranteed products that live up to the common Nordic environmental criteria for the product in question.
At this Nordic seminar the Nordic ministers will have a dialogue with our ministerial colleagues from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. Our - the Nordic delegates - point is that green growth, which is one of the main themes of the conference, can be advanced if an ecolabel is developed regionally so that one can be sure of a high professional and scientific standard.
A common ecolabel means that the countries can trade freely with one another, and consumers can be sure that they are buying an environmental product, no matter what country it comes from. We consider sustainable demand as one of the ways forward for green growth, both for private and public procurement.
The Nordic seminar on 18 June will be about "New Nordic Food" and the significance of rural development.
It is now widely recognised that sustainable rural development is one of the keys to promoting food production and the employment necessary to secure a decent living for large parts of the world's growing population.
One of the strong fundamental concepts of "New Nordic Food" is the use of local foods both for consumption and for processing. This means, amongst other things, that one can reduce transport between producer and consumer, which saves energy and thus CO2.
The seminar should be seen as a meeting place where the Nordic participants can exchange experience and ideas with representatives from other countries who are facing problems at the sharp end of production and distribution. This is relevant whether it is agriculture in the South American highlands or in the flood delta in Bangladesh.
By taking part in the seminar we will have the opportunity to share experiences from the Arctic area with colleagues from completely different parts of the world and thus also spread knowledge and understanding of our way of life.
Gender equality policies and work to promote equality is one of the core areas of Nordic co-operation, and ever since the first UN conference on equality in 1975, the Nordic countries have been a role model for many in this field.
At the seminar in Rio there will be an emphasis on showing that equality between men and women is crucial for sustainable development. From our part of the Nordic Region we can contribute with brand new experiences showing that it is not without problems for all men to find their way through education and thus acquire one of the most important preconditions for gender equality in practice, i.e. a good job.
Green growth and fighting poverty are basically the main themes at the Rio conference. Therefore, the Nordic Council of Ministers is co-hosting this seminar with the European Environment Agency with the question: What is nature worth?
Representing Greenland will be the Minister for Finance, Maliina Abelsen, who is also responsible for our domestic strategy for sustainable development.
How do our air, sea and land with all its animals and plants contribute to our economy? It is easiest with our cultivated fields or the traditional fishing waters but what about all that we cannot immediately see.
In the Nordic Region we work with both registration and preservation of gene resources, as well as also trying to get the maximum return from our natural base - both the cultivated and the uncultivated part of the country.
We attach importance to preventing the extermination of animal and plant species which is currently happening all over the world. With our seminar we will aim to show that there are values hidden in nature which cannot benefit future generations if they have been wiped off the map before we get that far.
The Nordic Region in Rio and Greenland in the Nordic Region are important for the Greenland Government in order to reach our goal of participating in international political co-operation. With the interest that exists today for Greenland and our resources, it is of crucial importance that we make our mark in the international debate when we have the opportunity to do so.
The UN conference in Rio in June is one such opportunity. We will not let it pass us by.