Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi appointed as the Chair of the Sámi Climate Council

The Finnish Government has appointed the Sámi Climate Council for a four-year term. The council is a new independent expert body, tasked with bringing the knowledge base and perspectives of the Sámi people into the climate policy processes. The position of the council's chair has been filled by Postdoctoral Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi from the University of Oulu.

The purpose of this internationally quite unique national body is to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. The Council has 12 members who represent different fields of science and holders of traditional Sámi knowledge.

The task of the Sámi Climate Council is to give statements on climate policy plans and create knowledge base in support of the preparation of climate policy from the perspective of promoting the Sámi culture.

"The prerequisite for a just climate policy is understanding the effects on Sámi culture. We need systematic monitoring data on the cultural, linguistic, economic, and health effects of climate change and climate policy on the Sámi people, so that climate measures do not lead to the assimilation of the Sámi way of life into the mainstream culture. Establishing such a monitoring system would support the fairness of climate policy," says Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi.

The Sámi culture is particularly vulnerable to climate change as the traditional Sámi culture is closely linked to the Arctic nature. The climate is warming much faster in the Arctic regions than elsewhere in the world.

According to the recent memorandum from the Climate Panel, climate actions are needed to safeguard the living conditions and culture of the Sámi people, and it is important to prepare climate policy while considering the rights of the Sámi people.

Key issues for the Sámi people in the preparation of just climate policy include the distribution of benefits and harms, as well as the impacts on Sámi livelihoods and health. Attention must also be given to whether Sámi participation is ensured in decision-making and whether the information provided by the Sámi Climate Council has been considered in the preparation.

Last updated: 28.8.2023