Reindeer herders’ views on participatory governance of infrastructure development in Russia and Finland
|Theme||1. Environmental protection|
|Session Name||1.11 Reindeer & caribou in the Arctic system: Interactions between environmental, social and biophysical processes|
|Author(s)||Mia Landauer (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Florian Stammler (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Roman Sidortsov (Michigan Technological University, USA), Aytalina Ivanova (North-Eastern Federal University, Russian Federation), Nadejda Komendantova (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria)|
Industrial infrastructure development brings along different types of risks and impacts which affect traditional livelihoods such as reindeer husbandry. Public participation presents an opportunity for industrial project developers and local communities to collaborate in environmental decision-making. In this paper, we study perceptions of reindeer herders and project developers regarding participatory governance and social acceptance of industrial infrastructure projects in Russia and Finland. In order to assess the implementation of the current laws and regulations, we conduct comparative corroborative and complimentary analyses of open and semi-structured interview data and legal sources. We utilize national and regional Finnish and Russian laws and regulations governing industrial project assessment, permitting, and siting, as well indigenous rights. The interview data were collected in Russia in the Yakutian region and in the Finnish reindeer management area during the years 2016 and 2017. With our empirical findings we demonstrate that herders’ perceptions of risks and impacts depend on the type of the infrastructure project, its location and operational time frame. In addition, we show that top-down governance can limit herders’ choices to cope with projects that affect reindeer herding areas. We conclude that new governance mechanisms are needed to make sure that herders are considered as equal partners in the planning processes from early on and their expertise is used throughout the project lifecycle to improve implementation of sustainable planning and adequate monitoring practices.
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