Giitu ja buorre iđit, buohkaide!
Thank you Gøril, and good morning, everybody.
It's a pleasure to be here, and on behalf of the Sámi Parliament, I like to thank the organizers for the invitation to participate at this side-event, and giving me the opportunity to say some opening words.
The backdrop for discussions about the green energy transition, or the green shift, is climate change. According to the Paris-agreement, the world must take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. This means that we must move from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and especially in the Arctic, have been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades. It is a fact that in the Arctic, climate change goes much faster than projected for other world regions. Artic ecosystems are experiencing rapid transformational changes with impacts on productivity, seasonality, distribution, and interactions of species thus results in major impacts on socio-ecological systems. Climate change results in complex impacts and challenges for the Arctic society.
A warmer Arctic has brought new attention and opportunities to the region. And of course, green energy means new possibilities for development, including at the regional and local level. There are new opportunities to Arctic residents, such as employment in the new industries that are establishing. However, Arctic change also brings risks of negatively impacting people and the environment. It is a fact that climate change increasingly threatens many facets of Arctic livelihoods, culture, identity, health, and security, particularly for Indigenous Peoples. We must not forget that when we are talking about green energy transition.
Sámi livelihoods, or industries, have traditionally been closely related to nature. These industries are based on control of and easy access to natural resources, and low investments for harvesting or exploitation. A relatively high degree of self-employment and other income-generating work in Sámi areas, such as reindeer husbandry, fishing, art, and culture, has a prominent position, and they are important as cornerstones for sámi language and sámi culture.
The concept of a green shift can be a solution if we do it in the right way. It is applied both broadly to a transformation of society as a whole and more specifically to changes in specific and individual areas. In the first case, the shift involves pursuing growth and development within the limit’s nature can tolerate. The second concerns a transition to products and services which have smaller negative consequences for the climate and the environment than they do today. Terms such as green technology, green business development and green jobs are increasingly being used and are expected to be elements in a green shift.
But having said that. I also see that indigenous peoples must deal with the dramatic climate consequences at the same time as indigenous peoples are exposed to unfair costs of climate action. We have examples of that from the Fosen-case in the south sámi area in Norway, where the licenses for wind power development on Fosen was ruled invalid in the Supreme court of Norway because the construction violates Sami reindeer herders' right to enjoy their own culture. It is necessary that the right and just measures are taken to prevent this from happening. If it fails, indigenous peoples will be further marginalized or displaced.
For me, it is essential to work to ensure that the development of the Sámi community takes place in accordance with the Sámi people's own needs, values and ranking of priorities. If Sámi culture is to develop further, we need business and industry that benefits the Sámi community. It is my hope that the green energy transition in the Arctic can accomplish this.
I think we must develop our own innovation models for small scale green industry and cooperative models for large-scale industry. Both alternatives pose huge challenges in respect of the political system, however the Sámi Parliament are ready to be a key player in this transition. These are the thoughts that I initially wanted to share with you this morning.
Thank you for your attention! Ollu giitu!