University of Oulu

Markkula, I., M. T. Turunen, and S. Kantola. 2019. Traditional and local knowledge in land use planning: insights into the use of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines in Eanodat, Finnish Sápmi. Ecology and Society 24(1):20.

Traditional and local knowledge in land use planning : insights into the use of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines in Eanodat, Finnish Sápmi

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Author: Markkula, Inkeri1; Turunen, Minna T.1; Kantola, Sini2,3
Organizations: 1Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
2University of Oulu, Geography Research Unit
3Natural Resources Institute Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Resilience Alliance, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-03-26


The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8(j) in particular, requires its parties to “respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of Indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles.” In Finland, these requirements are, to some extent, fulfilled through application of the Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines, a protocol developed by the CBD for cultural, environmental, and social impact assessment to be applied in regions inhabited or used by Indigenous peoples. However, although the Akwé: Kon Guidelines have been in use for several years, studies addressing their practical application are scarce. We set out to examine the use of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines, inclusion of traditional and local knowledge (TLK), as well as the related improvements and challenges in land use planning in the Municipality of Eanodat in Finnish Sápmi. We conducted key-informant interviews with local Sámi experts and local land use planning officials and examined recent land use and management plans for wilderness and conservation areas. Regarding the incorporation of TLK into land use planning, officials identified practical challenges, such as a mismatch between the oral narrative nature of TLK and the planning systems currently in use, and pointed to a need to make TLK more spatially explicit. The concerns of the Sámi were deeply tied to the survival of their culture and traditional livelihoods, reindeer herding in particular. The Sámi informants were unanimous about the need to amend the Reindeer Husbandry Act (848/1990), to better recognize the traditional Sámi ways of herding and knowledge embedded in it. Having strengthened the opportunities of the Sámi to participate in management planning, application of the Akwé: Kon Guidelines is a much welcome development. However, because of the voluntary nature of the Guidelines, their power may be limited in the current situation, where Sámi herders’ rights are not settled in national legislation governing reindeer husbandry.

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Series: Ecology and society
ISSN: 1708-3087
ISSN-E: 1708-3087
ISSN-L: 1708-3087
Volume: 24
Issue: 1
Article number: 20
DOI: 10.5751/ES-10735-240120
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This study was conducted as part of the project Building Shared Knowledge Capital to Support Natural Resource Governance (BuSK), funded by the EU Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.
Copyright information: Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.