ArCticles - Arctic Centre Papers

Interacting with Stakeholders: Society and Human Security

Kamrul Hossain & Anna Petrétei

What does the term security mean when it refers to promoting human welfare in Lapland region? The question may offer wide-ranging answers, depending on who you ask.

Therefore, selecting this who is also crucial to learning how the who connects to the various inter-connected issues related to human welfare in the region. Within the framework of the research project HuSArctic, we recently identified some stakeholders including the representatives of the who to learn about the situation in everyday businesses, the challenges threatening various aspects of human security and to learn how the who reacts to the threats.

Thus, we invited participants from diverse groups, including representatives of the mining sector, mineral resource experts, representative of the Sámi people, reindeer herders, public administration and development professionals, tourism sector stakeholders, as well as journalists, academics and researchers.

During the discussion, the representatives of each sector identified the most important concerns and challenges they face, trying to better understand the most crucial problems, and to find ways of solving those. We gained valuable insights and found interesting outcomes that may benefit both practice and science. At the same time, we also uncovered potential conflicts.

The discussion touched upon problems such as difficulties of mining companies when engaging in dialogue with local communities, mining industry being identified as the biggest threat while other industry sectors have equally negative impacts, the lack of information on the bedrock, poor legislation and unequal distribution of profits. Other challenges are the politicization of quota distribution in reindeer herding communities and the insufficient consideration of small-scale reindeer herders’ interests. Continuously growing tourism sector affects not only local communities and industries, but also Sámi social and community identity by using Sámi cultural heritage for touristic purposes.

There are many opportunities for co-operation among these sectors. As safety and security are important concerns for most sectors, stakeholders could develop safety trainings jointly. It would be most beneficial to learn best practices from other sectors: for example, the use of ethical codes when communicating with indigenous and local communities (developed by mining companies) would decrease or even prevent conflicts between Sámi and tourism sector. By improving the quality of impact assessment procedures, conflicts may be mitigated. Impact assessments should be conducted also by tourism industry, pondering the effects of touristic investments on the environment. Not only environmental effects should be considered, but also impacts on the Sámi people and their culture should be taken into account. Better and more thorough assessment of possible impacts of tourist investments may not only ease existing conflicts but also prevent future disputes.

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Dr. Kamrul Hossain is the Director of the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre/University of Lapland, Adjunct Professor of International Law.

Anna Petrétei is a researcher and PhD candidate at the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland.


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