26 May 2016

Arctic Futures Initiative collaboration with Arctic indigenous peoples

An important element of AFI’s inclusive approach is communication and collaboration with Arctic residents and indigenous communities. In the beginning of this year, AFI team had two opportunities to communicate with indigenous peoples and get their feedback on the Initiative.

Dreamstime © Galina Barskaya

Dreamstime © Galina Barskaya

Roundtable meeting with indigenous peoples in Tromso, Norway during the Arctic Frontiers 2016 conference in January 2016 

Special Advisor to the IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Ambassador Hannu Halinen, co-chair of the Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI) and AFI Coordinator, IIASA Guest Research Scholar Dr. Anni Reissell and IIASA Postdoctoral Research Scholar Dr. Mia Landauer organized a roundtable with indigenous peoples. Participants were from the Gwich'In Council International and Gwichin Triabl Council Inuvik (Canada), Aleut International Association (USA), Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) of the Arctic Council (Denmark), Saami Council (Norway), and included also an Arctic Youth Ambassador from Aleut region (Alaska).

The purpose of the roundtable was to find convenient but efficient ways to collaborate. Early contacting of the indigenous peoples for input to AFI was very much appreciated, especially because it is being done already in the planning phase of AFI. According to indigenous peoples, AFI seems to have started planning a feasible strategy to connect science, policy and society.  

The outcome of the meeting was that AFI should add capacity for the indigenous peoples and should also consider how to use the existing capacity efficiently. Here, partnerships and knowledge bridging is needed. Important is to clarify how AFI can help indigenous peoples to understand better the changes but also how to get the traditional knowledge on board. There is a need to strengthen relationship between indigenous communities and researchers. It is important to learn the language of different communities and share respect.  

Invited talk for Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) at the Arctic Science Summit Week and Arctic Observing Summit, Fairbanks, Alaska in March 2016 

Ambassador Hannu Halinen ad Dr. Anni Reissell from AFI gave an invited presentation at the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) Board meeting organized in connection to the Arctic Science Summit Week and the Arctic Observing Summit held in Fairbanks, Alaska in March 2016. The IPS supports the six international indigenous organizations affiliated with the Arctic Council. The IPS does not represent indigenous peoples or their organizations, but assists the organizations in presenting their causes, and helps in disseminating information among them.

The IPS Board includes Aleut International Association (AIA), Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Gwich'in Council International (GCI), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), and Saami Council (SC).

In summary, the meeting participants concluded that AFI is an important initiative. The Board members welcome more detailed information from AFI, and the AIA and SC are looking forward to actively working with AFI in its the development phase.

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Last edited: 12 December 2018

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