REXSAC led discussions at the Annual Impact Assessment Conference (IAIA19) in Brisbane
There is an urgency to improve methods for assessment of cumulative impacts of future resource extraction activities, especially in the Arctic where the pressure from climate change is increasing rapidly. REXSAC researchers together with 8 Sámi collaborators participated in the International Association for Impact Assessment 2019 conference in Brisbane from 29 April – 2 May. We presented a paper in the session; ‘The cumulative dimensions of resource regions’ and we organized the session; ‘Integrating indigenous rights and knowledges into impact assessment’. This session explores different ways of doing impact assessment, where impacted indigenous communities, and their rights and knowledges, took center stage.
11 out of a total of 21 presentations in the session ‘Integrating indigenous knowledges into impact assessment’ presented the current and future challenges of sustainable reindeer herding in Sápmi. By presenting the reindeer husbandry perspective on the effects of multiple pressures from climate change and resource exploitation we emphasized the urgency to assess the full impact of activities on the landscape level. Awareness of how cumulative impacts from different types of land use has increased in recent years, yet such impacts are poorly assessed, and these insights overlooked. This is due to the complexity of the problem, lack of scientific data, and a neglect to include Sámi knowledge. Sweden for example relies on voluntary efforts of the project proponent or “initiator”, as there is no legally binding landscape-based regional planning that could provide guidance for decision makers. Different community-based impact assessment (CBIA) processes were presented as alternative routes and the role of media and corporate campaigns, the law, and political protest were explored.
Rebecca Lawrence & Ninis Rosqvist
Photo above: Rebecca Lawrence, Anna-Maria Fjellström
The REXSAC delegation in Brisbane.