Research project to study Saami people’s adaptation to climate change

The Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH) at the University of Oulu has launched a research project: SAAMI – Adaptation of Saami people to the climate change. The project aims to identify ways for Saami people to adapt to climate change and find out what measures are required. Information produced in the course of the project will benefit decision-makers, the scientific community and Saami people themselves.

Based on review of research literature and anthropological fieldwork, the project will create an overview on the impact of climate change on the Saami homeland’s environment and culture, the health and well-being of Saami people and the entire Saami community in Finland.

“Climate change will have a comprehensive impact on Saami people’s life, because Saami culture and language, as well as Saami people's health and way of life are closely linked with nature that is undergoing rapid change. Therefore, the Saami are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change”, says Project leader, Professor Jouni Jaakkola from the University of Oulu. “We act as a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Global change, Environment and Public Health. The World Health Organisation also needs information on the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples' health and well-being”, Jaakkola emphasises.

In addition, the project will examine how national and international programmes and strategies on climate change take into consideration Saami people and the needs of Saami culture. The project researchers work in close collaboration with the Saami community and the stakeholders.

“We will explore what kinds of implications climate change will have for different parts of Saami homeland and the vitality of Saami culture. Through anthropological fieldwork, we will provide information on Saami community’s knowledge and experiences on climate change and its implications”, Postdoctoral Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi says. 

Funded by the Finnish government’s analysis, assessment and research activities, the project's total budget is EUR 150,000. The project results and proposals for measures will be published at the end of 2019.

Further information:

Project leader, Professor Jouni Jaakkola, Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
tel: +358 40 6720927

Postdoctoral Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi
tel: +358 40 4844032

Project website:

Last updated: 11.4.2019