© Elisabeth Kruger / WWF

WWF Arctic Council Scorecard

Kingdom of Denmark (Greenland & Faroe Islands)

The Kingdom of Denmark, composed of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, presents an interesting case within the Arctic.

Since Greenland and the Faroe Islands are semi-autonomous entities, each legislates and governs aspects of nature conservation and other areas. In some areas, both Greenland and the Faroe Islands performed well, such as in identifying areas of heightened ecological significance, carrying out impact assessments of petroleum and maritime activities, and taking action on some aspects of oil spill prevention. However, individually, Greenland and the Faroe Islands performed quite differently. Greenland, in many cases, had more readily available information and tended to perform well on multiple aspects of the Scorecard. The Faroe Islands, on the other hand, had less readily available information and seemed to have made slower progress on Scorecard elements. Experts noted that both countries struggled with capacity issues, which affected the implementation and effectiveness of their Arctic conservation actions.

N.B. The Kingdom of Denmark is composed of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Greenland and the Faroe Islands have established home rule, which in effect makes them semi-autonomous entities with their own governance frameworks. Arrangements with the Danish government transfer political responsibility and competence from Danish political authorities to those in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. These respective authorities enact legislation and administer specific tasks taken over from the Danish government and are economically responsible for achieving them. The Danish state provides an annual grant to the Greenlandic and Faroese authorities. Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands have taken on nature conservation responsibilities. As such, for the purposes of the Scorecards, research on the Kingdom of Denmark considered the performance of Greenland and the Faroe Islands individually, but scoring was based on their joint performance.




See full criteria.


  • The Kingdom of Denmark has identified marine areas of heightened ecological significance that are sensitive to oil spills (Crit. 2.1.1). Greenland has identified areas of heightened cultural significance (Crit. 2.1.3).
  • The Faroe Islands have made efforts to restrict sulfur emissions within their waters and implemented regulations in line with International Maritime Organization standards for sulfur emission control areas around their waters (Crit. 6.2.3).
  • Greenland has developed regional-scale assessments of cryospheric change and associated risks, and conducts ongoing observation and monitoring of cryospheric change (Crit. 4.2.2, 4.3.1).
  • A Faroe Islands initiative supports households to switch to renewable energy, while the public electricity provider aims to reduce oil consumption to zero by 2030 (Crit. 4.1.3).
  • Biodiversity monitoring efforts and protection measures within Greenland are ongoing, though some experts reported that additional efforts to update and expand are necessary (Crit. 1.3.1, 2.3.1).
  • Greenland has taken measures to prevent and manage marine invasive species and protect areas of heightened cultural significance from Arctic marine shipping (Crit. 6.1.1-2).


  • The Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic strategy fails to provide clear biodiversity-related objectives and to incorporate resilience and adaptation of biodiversity to climate change (Crit. 1.1.1-2).
  • The Kingdom of Denmark has a dedicated fund to promote the involvement of Greenland’s Indigenous peoples in conservation management; however, some groups have expressed concerns about the effectiveness of this input (Crit. 2.3.3, 1.3.2).
  • Although the Faroe Islands have regulations that require environmental impact assessments to be completed before new exploration and/or exploitation activities are approved, they lack requirements for strategic environmental assessments and risk assessments (Crit. 3. 1.2-4).
  • Greenland has not developed a national oil and gas methane emission reduction strategy, nor do its oil and gas regulations require a license or permit to flare gas (Crit. 4.1.3-4).
  • Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands should further promote sustainable fishing practices to avoid significant adverse impacts to the seabed and to reduce bycatch. They should undertake an ecosystem-based management initiative with a neighbouring country (Crit. 1.2.1, 3.3.1).
  • The Faroe Islands lack a marine monitoring traffic system (Crit. 6.3.1), which is troublesome given their lack of oil-spill contingency plans and monitoring (Crit. 5.1.1, 5.2.1) and their intent to capitalize on increased Arctic shipping due to reduced sea ice.

Detailed ratings

C Biodiversity

  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity and its Resilience
  • 2/6
  • Sustainable Management of Living Resources and Habitats
  • 2/4
  • Monitoring Biodiversity
  • 2/4
  • Overall Rating
  • 6/14

All ratings for Biodiversity

D Conservation areas

  • Identification of Conservation Areas
  • 3/6
  • Protecting Areas of Ecological Importance
  • 0/4
  • Mechanisms to Safeguard Connectivity
  • 3/6
  • Overall Rating
  • 6/16

All ratings for Conservation areas

C Ecosystem-based Management

  • Environmental Impact Assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessments and Risk Assessments
  • 6/8
  • Assessment of Combined Effects of Multiple Stressors
  • 1/2
  • Arctic State Cooperation in Advancing Implementation of EBM
  • 0/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 7/12

All ratings for Ecosystem-based Management

C Black Carbon and Methane

  • Short-lived Climate Forcers: Black Carbon and Methane Emissions
  • 4/10
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • 3/6
  • Climate Change Observation
  • 2/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 9/18

All ratings for Black Carbon and Methane

B Oil Spills

  • National Action for Preparedness and Response
  • 1/2
  • Oil Spill Monitoring
  • 3/4
  • Oil Spill Prevention
  • 5/8
  • Overall Rating
  • 9/14

All ratings for Oil Spills

D Shipping

  • Protection from various shipping risks
  • 2/6
  • Actions to reduce air emissions from shipping
  • 3/8
  • Arctic Marine Traffic System
  • 1/2
  • Overall Rating
  • 6/16

All ratings for Shipping