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"Environmental problems affecting the traditional lifestyles of Indigenous Peoples in the Russian North"

29 October 1998 - In March this year, and for the first time ever, leaders from the 29 Indigenous Peoples groups, which comprise the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Far North (RAIPON), met in Moscow to discuss common environmental problems affecting traditional lifestyles in the northern regions of the Russian Federation.

This report provides an eye-opening insight into the plight of indigenous peoples in Northern Russia. Indigenous leaders call for the implementation of legislation, and international help, to protect the rights and interests of their people. A lack of action could be disastrous as many of these groups teeter on the brink of extinction. Leaders called for more information on the damage already inflicted on land and water through activities associated with nuclear power generation, and the exploitation of natural resources.

Conflicts also exist between the creation of national parks and the indigenous use of natural resources. Independent environmental impact assessments are required to protect subsistence areas from human activity. Standards developed in international fora, such as the UN working group on indigenous peoples need to be implemented at the national, regional and local level.

The leaders recognised the need to develop competence amongst the indigenous groups to better address these issues from a local level. Assistance was sought from Federal and International participants at the seminar in order to raise capacity amongst the people themselves to address issues of environmental assessment, environmental law and human rights. Improved communication is needed to facilitate co-operation among the peoples themselves and between the peoples and federal and international audiences.

The report explains the rationale behind the seminar, profiles those involved in organising and participating, presents the resolutions and recommendations adopted, and provides a spatial assessment of the environmental problems as presented by the participants. An attempt will be made to analyse the issues using standard State-of-the-Environment Reporting methodologies, and final recommendations on how to continue to support Russian Indigenous Peoples' groups will be provided.

This report has been produced by RAIPON in co-operation with GRID-Arendal and with major assistance from the Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat of the Arctic Council and the Norwegian Polar Institute.


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"Environmental problems affecting the traditional lifestyles of Indigenous Peoples in the Russian North"
is available in English and Russian

The report may be ordered from GRID-Arendal for NOK 200

Longum Park
P.O. Box 1602, Myrene
N-4801 Arendal

Telephone: +47 - 37 03 56 50
Telefax: +47 - 37 03 50 50

Thursday 29 Oct 1998
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