ora - Joerni-mik ateqarpunga. Aaqqissuisunut qujassuteqarusuppunga.
name is Joern and I want to thank the organisers from The Foundation for
Indigenous Research in Society and Technology (F.I.R.S.T.) for inviting me to
contribute to this very important seminar and I also want to thank the people of
Aotearoa for making it possible for me to come here no one mentioned no one
forgotten. It is indeed an honour for me to talk to and meet all of you highly
knowledgeable persons. To meet the distinguished representatives of Maori is
impressive and makes me very humble.
issues that are on the agenda are huge and deeply rooted and I hope to see a
constructive discussion revealing new insights.
is the second time that I have visited your beautiful country so to be honest it
is only a somewhat brief impression and insight to your natural and spiritual
treasures and societal structure that I have gained hitherto. But I also want to
say that I look very much forward to a future together with you since we now are
getting a little more acquainted. In the same token I also want to stress that I
will resist from evaluating the societal situation of New Zealand in specifics.
background is that I am born in Maniitsoq in Kalaallit Nunaat or Inuit Nunaat
known internationally as Greenland.
have ancestral roots in both, an indigenous hunter, fisher culture and a Nordic
peasant and trader culture. In Greenland we live in a somewhat harsh and hostile
environment where nature and tradition have taught us to be both respectful and
cautious of whatever might confront us.
Inuit background comes through my mother. Her father was brought up as a hunter
but he also became a carpenter by trade. My maternal grandmother was a midwife.
On my mothers side I also have some Swedish ancestry dating back eight
generations to 1786.
grandparents on my fathers’ side where Danes from a peasant tradition and my
grandfather also became a tradesman.
my still relatively short life I have worked as an educator, researcher,
director, administrator and consultant at various institutions in Greenland
since I finished my university degree in Eskimology - the Science of Inuit
Language, History and Culture at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1989.
do not know too much about the internal governmental and societal affairs of New
Zealand. That lack of familiarity will keep me from making direct reference to
the New Zealand societal scene. On the other hand I want to emphasize that I
have noticed and I have been informed that there are many parallels and even
similarities between Inuit and Maori. In Greenland we too live in close relation
with Nature and the people who came to colonize us, live in close association
with us, just as the people who colonized you. So we share the fate of being an
indigenous population living together with a non-indigenous population.
will now turn to the headline or subject that has been giving me to talk about
is: ME KITE, ME RONGO, ME MOHIO KI NGA WHAKAHAERE, ME TE MAHI I TE MAHI.
translates I am told into transparency, accountability and doing the job. Please
correct me if I am wrong.
am still in the process of what some might refer to as putting the finger into
the soil so I will try to keep from offering direct solutions or ready-made
implementation plans. These are in your own hands.
repeat I do not yet know much about the substance of Aotearoa governance and
societal issues but I understand that New Zealand has grown to be a
multi-cultural society confronted with the blessings and problems that comes
with such a reality. Nor do I know much about Maori culture, but what I know I
have come to love.
also realize that I do see some parallels and differences in the relation
between the non-indigenous peoples of New Zealand and the Maori people and the
relation between Inuit and the non-indigenous peoples of Greenland.
presentation for tomorrow has the open headline: case study - examples from the
circumpolar region. Here I will focus more on the macro level which is about
Greenland in the international context international seen in the perspective of
indigenous governance and accountability.
will try to restrict my presentation to examine the two concepts in question in
more general terms.
first of these two concepts, transparency are of importance in civil society
need to be understood, and readily used.
can transparency and accountability be defined? One way is to look at how these
terms relate to each other and how they function separately and in conjunction.
This I hope will shed some light on how these concepts or notions work together,
in other words:
the mechanism of transparency and accountability impose implicit costs on
politicians and bureaucrats for violating rules and thus can make their
commitment to the rules credible”
“doing the job” has a lot to do with strengthening local authorities. So
governance in other words relates to how decentralisation happens and succeeds
and secondly how administrative praxis can be enhanced.
can look at both of these concepts either from bottom up or top down. The
central question being: How are decisions made? The higher the transparency
level the better the population can hold politicians accountable.
you look at the concepts from the top down the main tool is legislation through
which central authorities hold local authorities responsible. In other words how
the central government governs local government e.g. through accounting,
auditing and financial regulation of expenditures and grants etc.
central questions are then is how can local government be kept accountable? and
what is the role of central government in this?
you look at the concepts of transparency and accountability from bottom up you
take the perspective of the individual human being. In other words what can the
local citizen get insight into? e.g. accounting and auditing practices which are
transparent. I will return to both of these processes later.
the central processes are the public governed linkages: which can be grouped
into two main categories:
regulative linkages could be legislation on how local government or
self-government are regulated. In Greenland there is a commission or council
that oversees how local governments are governing. This entity is called the
“Kommunit nakkutilliisut” or in Danish “kommunernes tilsynsråd”. This
overviewing council has the power to suspend local decisions. In other words it
has some veto control over local government decisions. An extreme example exists
in Nepal where central authorities are able to dissolve a local authority. They
can decide so by a simple majority.
linkages are also often controlling – as an example, how are funds transferred
from central to local government or authorities. Other facilitating linkages
could be how technical or advisory support is provided.
is an example of the State facing civil society. In other words the central
power confronting the individual human being. This has to do with all levels of
authority and institutions between the Government and the individual citizen.
The central question is “what means do citizens have and how do they exercise
important linkages to consider are the linkages between the State and the
private (generally the commercial sector) which I will look into next.
previously mentioned transparency can be generated and promoted by strengthening
local government or self-government. This is done by allocating resources and
moving competence and decision-making closer to the individual human being or
the citizen. This is the principle of subsidiarity spoken about in the Catholic
of Transparency and Accountability:
The extent and importance of local government: the level of participation of
women and Indigenous Peoples in local government?
The perception of the level of influence on decision making at the local level?
The extent of resources allocated to local governments, rather than kept by
central government, these include staff, money, advisory assistance, training
The extent that facilitating linkages exist which also includes decentralised
resources, local councils and their influence on local development and the
actual legislation facilitating this
democratisation process has shown that corruption and other misconduct have
become more visible, e.g. it is possible to read about such behaviour in the
is one way democratisation involves the individual citizen. This might result in
or be caused by changing cultural and economical values, changing norms and
of cultural values is a generally touchy matter: This might involve shifting
central decision-making to decentralised decision-making. It may involve the
removal of discriminating mechanisms, the breakdown of hierarchies or the
changes in loyalty networks, shifts the informal networks and structures that
control the economy to more formal networks and structures that are safeguarded
by high levels of transparency and accountability.
you decentralise it is hard to keep up and safeguard accountability:
World Bank has taken one approach: that central government relations with local
government on a day to day basis are handled by bureaucrats on ministerial
directives. This is the top down approach. Meanwhile of course politicians also
have to be accountable to voters through elections that come up ever so often.
This goes for the local governments too which also face a top-down relationship
with voters as well as a bottom up relationship in respect of central
can be secured through the concept of good governance, the possibility of local
insight into decision-making and involving and activating individual citizens
through their participation in local councils and meetings, including
school-boards etc. In other words
by creating an active civil society.
is another theme to be dealt with later on and in-depth. The theory points in
two directions the political school and the instrumentalistic school.
"The political approach says that the frame should be changed via
decentralisation - that it is central to all political questions i.e. who should
be in power?
"The Instrumentalistic approach" also called the
"administrative approach" says that privatisation is also a form of
decentralisation but it is centred via the market - that politics has or should
have a minor role.
evidence proves that there is a great potential for development through the
strengthening of civil society. Decentralisation can lead to democratisation.
order for such process to be facilitated resources needs to be allocated to
local levels. Thus it can be justified that there is a great potential for
development through strengthening of local government. I would also like to
suggest that this thinking should include the creation of self-government be it
Homerule Governance as in Greenland or other ways of Indigenous Governance, such
as recognition of indigenous authority over indigenous lives.
- Thank you