Situated roughly half way between Scotland and Iceland in the Northeast Atlantic, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands, with a total land area of some 1400 sq. kilometres, a sea area of 274,000 sq. kilometres and a population of approximately 49,000. The language of the Faroe Islands, Faroese, is a west Nordic language, which derives from the language of the Norsemen who settled the islands 1200 years ago.
As a self-governing territory under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands legislate and govern a wide range of areas in accordance with the Home Rule Act of 1948. These include the conservation and management of living marine resources within the 200-mile fisheries zone, sub-surface resources, trade, fiscal, industrial and environmental policies, transport, communications, culture, education and research.
The Faroe Islands have chosen not to be a part of Denmark’s membership of the European Union. The Faroes negotiate their own trade and fisheries agreements with the EU and other countries, in consultation and cooperation with the Danish foreign ministry, and participate either independently or together with Greenland (Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland) in a range of regional fisheries management bodies.
With an economy overwhelmingly dependent on the fishing and aquaculture industries, the Faroes are keenly aware of the need to strengthen Faroese capacity to deal with the challenges of a globalised world. Enhancing economic independence is a key factor in ensuring sustainable development and stimulating economic diversity.
The very basis for economic and social well-being and cultural integrity in all countries and communities of the world, not least in the Faroe Islands, is a healthy and productive natural environment.