The Sámi Parliamentary Council (SPC) convened on 25 January 2021 for a plenary session in which the chairmanship of the Council was transferred from the Sámi Parliament in Finland to the Sámi Parliament in Norway for the next 16 months. The plenary session was organised as a video conference.
The plenary session accepted the annual report of the Finnish chairmanship and discussed the use of wind power in Sámi areas and adopted a statement on this. According to the statement, the SPC demands that the Sámi people must give their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for wind power projects in the Sámi area. You can read the statement here. The new action plan for Norway’s term as Chair was also adapted. The action plan is available here.
The Sámi Parliament in Finland assumed the chairmanship of the Sámi Parliamentary Council on 19 September 2019, and the Chair of the Sámi Parliament in Finland has been the Chair of SPC since. The Youth Council of the Sámi Parliamentary Council has also been chaired by the Youth Council of Sámi Parliament in Finland.
Covid-19 pandemic affected the chairmanship
The main goals of the chairmanship of the Sámi Parliament in Finland included, inter alia, establishing the operations of Sámi Giellagáldu, the Nordic Resource Centre for Sámi Languages, promotion of the Nordic Sámi Convention and advancement of the process on enhancing the participation of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 and the exceptional circumstances that followed had a major impact on the chairmanship as well as SPC’s activities. Due to the exceptional circumstances, all of the Board Meetings of Sámi Parliamentary Council were organized as video conferences with the exception of the first meeting of the Board that took place in Inari in January 2020. As a result of the pandemic, international meetings, conferences, seminars and other events were cancelled, at least in their conventional form since March 2020, so the number of SPC’s international activities remained below their normal level.
The conference of Sámi parliamentarians, originally scheduled for August 2020, was also cancelled due to the outbreak of the pandemic. The Board of the SPC decided that the conference will be organized in August 2021. The conference will be organized in Inari.
The SPC is a parliamentary body for the cooperation of the Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden, and Finland with representatives from Russian Sámi organisations. Representatives from these three Nordic countries and Russia convene for a plenary session at least once a year. The Sámi Parliamentary Council seeks to promote the inter-parliamentary cooperation of the Sámi parliaments in the Nordic countries and it discusses cross-border matters that affect the Sámi as a people. The SPC also often represents the Sámi people living in the Nordic countries in international contexts.
The representatives of the Sámi Parliamentary Council are appointed in the plenum of the Sámi Parliament, for one parliamentary term at a time. This parliamentary term, the representatives are:
Tuomas Aslak Juuso (deputy Leo Aikio)
Anni Koivisto (deputy Juha-Petteri Alakorva)
Pirita Näkkäläjärvi (deputy Magreta Sara)
Anne Nuorgam (deputy Asko Länsman)
Karen-Anni Hetta (deputy Irja Seurujärvi-Kari)
Tauno Ljetoff (deputy Veikko Feodoroff)
Niko Valkeapää (deputy Ulla-Maarit Magga)
In the Board of The Sámi Parliamentary Council, the Sámi Parliament’s (in Finland) representatives are Tuomas Aslak Juuso (deputy Leo Aikio) and Anni Koivisto (deputy Leo Aikio). Following the collaborative agreement of the SPC, the political heads of the Sámi parliaments must participate in the activities of the Board of the SPC.
President Tuomas Aslak Juuso, +358 (0)40 687 3394, tuomas.juuso(at)samediggi.fi
Secretary for International Affairs, Inka Saara Arttijeff, +358 (0)50 574 7629, inka-saara.arttijeff(at)samediggi.fi
Photo: Ville-Riiko Fofonoff