Akwé: Kon model safeguards Sámi people’s participation
To assess the preconditions for practising the Sámi culture Metsähallitus and the Sámi Parliament use a jointly developed operating model based on the voluntary Akwé: Kon Guidelines laid out in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Under the Act on Metsähallitus, the natural resources that Metsähallitus stewards in the Sami Homeland shall be managed, used and protected in such a way that the preconditions for practising the Sámi culture can be safeguarded.
Since 2011, Metsähallitus and the Sámi Parliament have use a jointly developed operating model based on the voluntary Akwé: Kon Guidelines laid out in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity
The Akwé: Kon model is typically used in planning the management and use of conservation and wilderness areas and in natural resource planning. By a joint decision of Metsähallitus and the Sámi Parliament, and the Skolt Village Meeting in the Skolt area, this operating model may also be used in individual projects on special sites which have a significant impact on the preconditions for practising the Sámi culture.
The members and chairperson of the Akwé: Kon working group for each plan are appointed by the Sámi Parliament after consulting the Sámi living in the relevant area. In the Skolt area, some of the group members are appointed by the Skolt Village Meeting. Sámi users of the area whose interests the plan is likely to affect are selected to the working group. At different stages, the group contributes to the planning work its reasoned assessment of whether or not the measures will have impacts on practising the Sámi culture and its proposals for reducing or eliminating these impacts. If Metsähallitus cannot accept a proposal for legislative reasons or due to other uses of the area, it justifies its decision in the plan.
A natural resource plan as well as a plan for managing and using an area is always prepared together with a broad-based collaboration group, in which all other stakeholders of the area can bring their views and preferences to bear on the plan.
Metsähallitus in Lapland
The greatest share of Metsähallitus’ lands is located in Northern and Eastern Finland. As a large landowner and employer, Metsähallitus has a particularly responsible role in these areas.
Forestry, reindeer husbandry and nature tourism are all important industries that largely share the same areas in Northern Finland. Metsähallitus operates on the principle that forestry, tourism and reindeer herding can coexist, once a joint agreement has been reached on reconciling these industries.
In the Sámi Homeland in Northern Lapland, all Metsähallitus activities must be reconciled with the Sámi culture, ensuring that practising it will not be adversely affected.