1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit
The Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Region will organize the "1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit" in Moscow, April 28, 2017. The main purpose is to promote closer dialogue between the indigenous peoples, the regional governments and the federal governments of Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
The Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (WGIP) is preparing for its biggest event in 2017. In April, the WGIP will together with BIPO (Barents Indigenous Peoples' Office) and the Barents Secretariat travel to Moscow to organize the "1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit".
As the title implies, this will be the first indigenous people's summit in the history of the Barents Cooperation. The Summit aims to create a new meeting platform for discussion of important issues related to indigenous peoples, such as social and economic development. It will also ensure that the indigenous peoples' voice is heard on a regional, federal and international level.
The territory of the Barents Region is traditionally home to three indigenous peoples: Veps (Republic of Karelia), Nenets (Nenets Autonomous District) and Sami (Kola Peninsula, Norway, Finland and Sweden). These peoples are all represented in the WGIP. The WGIP serves as an advisor to senior management bodies of the BEAC Committee of Senior Officials, consisting of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the Barents Regional Council, which consists of representatives of the thirteen regional entities in these countries.
The WGIP operates under the Action Plan for Indigenous Peoples in the BEAR, which is approved by the delegations of indigenous peoples at the Barents Indigenous Peoples' Congress. The Congress is the delegations’ meeting platform, where they discuss topical issues and indicate the direction of the activity of the working group and its priorities. The Second Kirkenes Declaration, adopted by the member states in 2013, confirmed the policy of a further strengthening of the involvement of indigenous peoples in the cooperation. The Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit will therefore serve as a milestone for reaching this policy goal.
Indigenous peoples as a top priority in Russia's BEAC Chairmanship
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov initiated the idea to organize the 1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit. In his speech during the BEAC meeting in Oulu in 2015, when Russia took over the chairmanship of the BEAC, he confirmed Russia's willingness to support such an event.
"An important task is to support the indigenous peoples and to ensure favorable conditions for their living and economic activities, including traditional activities. In this context, we welcome the idea of holding during the Russian chairmanship the first Summit of Indigenous Peoples of the Barents Region and express our willingness to discuss it with the Working Group on Indigenous Issues and other colleagues”.
Based on Mr. Lavrov's initiative, the WGIP has taken on the task of organizing the event, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The main facilitators of the Summit are the WGIP, the BIPO and the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also actively involved in the organization and preparation of the Summit, and considers it one of the key events during Russia's Chairmanship in the BEAC.
The 1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit
What were the main achievements in the past twenty years of indigenous cooperation in the Barens Region? How can traditional and new approaches improve future development of the indigenous communities? These are just two of the issues to be discussed at the 1st Barents Indigenous Peoples’ Summit (see program below).
The Summit will be a one-day event and a meeting place for indigenous leaders, heads of state, regional politicians, media and other important stakeholders who seek successful business models based on traditional knowledge - business models that create both economical and social value in the Barents Region. The aim of the event is to build trust between indigenous peoples, regional and national authorities in the Barents Region, and to make room for discussions about common challenges.
A key component of the event will be a panel discussion titled "Towards a Sustainable Future". The panel will include indigenous leaders, regional politicians and heads of state, which will discuss the practical actions needed in order to secure sustainable socio-economical development for the indigenous peoples living in the Barents Region.
The Summit will take place in Moscow on April 28, 2017, in conjunction with the annual indigenous exhibition and trade fair ”Sokrovishe Severa” (”Treasures of the North”), organized by the umbrella organization of indigenous peoples in Russia, RAIPON.
Inspiration through cultural diversity
Participants of the Summit will be further introduced to the cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples through a special evening concert on April 28. The concert will highlight both traditional and newer indigenous music, disciplines and culture in front of an international audience. It will also highlight the professional cooperation across borders, as the concert in itself is a collaborative project between Riddu Riđđu Festivala (Norway) and Aborigen Expo (Russia).
During the concert, which will be open to the public, three indigenous peoples will present themselves through exciting young artists. The performances will seek to inspire other musicians to continue their work with music and art, but also cause the associated new and stronger relationships between Sápmi and Russian Indigenous Peoples, which opens up new cooperation projects in the future. Three Sami musicians from the group Golbma Jiena will also hold a Joik workshop at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow, on April 27, for indigenous youth.
Facebook page: fb.me/barindigsummit
For questions about the Summit, please contact:
Christina Henriksen, WGIP Chair (email@example.com)
Tatiana Egorova, BIPO (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Elizaveta Vassilieva, Norwegian Barents Secretariat (email@example.com)
Preliminary programme for the 1st Barents Indigenous Peoples' Summit