The Sámi Parliament Participates in the International Week for Biological Diversity

The Sámi Parliament in Finland participates in the International Biodiversity Theme Week 18-22 May by publishing a video every day of the week related to biodiversity and Sámi culture. Themes of the week have been applied to Sámi culture, and the aim is to raise issues that are important to Sámi culture in relation to biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD). The purpose of the day is to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity and its significance.

This year, Biodiversity Day will extend to a full week. Each day of the week has its own biodiversity theme, linked to the main themes of international biodiversity work. During the week, comprehensive nature communication will take place all around the world.

The themes of the Sámi Parliament for each day of the week are:

Mon 18th: Traditional knowledge and its meaning for biodiversity.

Tue 19th: Biodiversity, protected areas and traditional livelihoods.

Wed 20th: Biodiversity, traditional food, fishing, and food security.

Thu 21st: Biodiversity and culture: handcrafts.

Fri 22th: Actions to prevent biodiversity loss from a Sámi perspective.

You can use tags in social media #BiodiversityDay #Biodiversity #BiologicalDiversity

Background

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environments and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Finland ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994. The objectives of the convention are the conservation of the biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.

Article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity obliges Parties to protect indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge relevant to biological diversity. The article requires Parties to respect, protect and maintain, in accordance with their national legislation, the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous people and local communities relevant for the conservation of biological diversity, and to promote their wider application with the approval of knowledge holders and to encourage equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological diversity.  In Finland, the obligations outlined in the article apply to the Sámi people.

The year 2020 is so-called super year of the biodiversity. During the year, a new global biodiversity framework (post-2020 global biodiversity framework) will be negotiated and a UN Summit on biodiversity will be organised. In addition, a meeting of the parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) was to be held in China, but the conference has been postponed to the next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information

President Tuomas Aslak Juuso, +358 40 687 3394, tuomas.juuso(at)samediggi.fi

Secretary for International Affairs Inka Saara Arttijeff, +358 50 574 7629, inka-saara.arttijeff(at)samediggi.fi

The First New Illustrations of the Ethical Guidelines of Sámi Tourism Have Been Released

Young Sámi comic artist, Sunna Kitti, illustrates Principles for Responsible and Ethically Sustainable Sámi Tourism -guidelines. All the new illustrations are now ready and waiting to be published. New material is primarily meant to be used as study material for students in the field of tourism studies and for various sectors and actors in tourism industry and as well as for the tourists arriving to the Sámi Homeland in Finland

By combining illustrations with the text of the ethical guidelines, the Sámi Parliament in Finland wants to raise larger public awareness of the challenges of Sámi tourism. ‘We hope that the visual information clarifies the message of the guidelines and, thus, eases their internalisation and implementation.’ says the project co-ordinator Kirsi Suomi.

First illustrations are now released. The Future We Want -illustration is based on the vision in the ethical guidelines. Following the vision, the traditional livelihoods of the Sámi are viable and profitable. Modern livelihoods such as responsible and ethically sustainable tourism based on Sámi culture support the profitability of traditional livelihoods and promote employment locally.

According to the vision, there will be a Sámi tourism information centre distributing accurate information on the Sámi and Sámi culture to visitors and various interest groups in tourism industry. Furthermore, the centre has information about the responsibly and ethically sustainably operating Sámi tourism entrepreneurs. In the good vision, the everyday lives and festivities of the Sámi community as well as the land use in Sámi Homeland have also been successfully co-ordinated with the needs of tourism while primarily securing and respecting the rights of the Sámi and their culture.

The Future We Want. Illustration: Sunna Kitti

The opposite of the good vision is The Future We Do Not Want. In this illustration, the vision in the ethical guidelines has not taken place. The uncontrolled and constantly increasing numbers of visitors arriving to the Sámi Homeland have caused increasing amounts of challenges that have not been manageable or solved. The traditional livelihoods of the Sámi have been forced to retreat due to tourism. The safeguarding of the cultural practices and traditions of the Sámi not involved in tourism have failed. Instead, the everyday lives and festivities of local communities have ended up as tourist attractions against the wishes of the local people.

The Future We Do Not Want. Illustration: Sunna Kitti.

‘I hope my illustrations have impact on the way in which tourism industry and tourists react to and treat the Sámi and Sámi culture. Tourism based on incorrect and outdated conception of the Sámi reduces the already-limited space where Sámi can freely practice their own culture without being disturbed. I am worried that the villages [in the north] will become inhabitable for the locals’, says the comic artist Sunna Kitti when explaining why she decided to participate in the project by illustrating the ethical guidelines for Sámi tourism.

On September 24th in 2018, the Plenum of the Sámi Parliament in Finland accepted Principles for Responsible and Ethically Sustainable Sámi Tourism. The main aim of these ethical guidelines is to terminate tourism exploiting Sámi culture as well as erase false information and misrepresentations regarding the Sámi and Sámi culture spreading through tourism. The second aim is to safeguard the cultural practices and traditions of the Sámi not connected to tourism industry. The project has been financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

More information:

Co-ordinator Kirsi Suomi, Culturally Responsible Sámi Tourism, 010 839 3118, kirsi.suomi(at)samediggi.fi