Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), Lysaker, Norway

Contact: Douglas Brubaker <>

International Northern Sea Route Programme (INSROP)
Date: October 1998

FNI carries the INSROP Secretariat and co-ordinates Subprogramme IV “Political, Legal and Strategic Factors” (see below).

INSROP is a joint Russian-Norwegian-Japanese, five-year research programme designed to fill knowledge gaps about the Northern Sea Route (NSR) – the collective term for a series of shipping lanes running along the coast of the Russian Arctic from Novaya Zemlya to the Bering Strait. The route is not yet commercially utilised by non-Russian vessels, but would save 40% distance from Europe to the northern Pacific Ocean compared with southerly routes and would enable an easier access to the Russian Arctic.

The research policy of INSROP is to investigate the scope of environmental, human, cultural and political parameters before sharply increasing its use. The users must have a common understanding to keep problems at a minimum and optimise the advantages of the NSR. Acknowledging the Russian authority to decide for or against the expansion of the NSR, INSROP’s task is to build up a scientifically based knowledge foundation to enable authorities and private interests to make rational decisions.

The research is organised in four subprogrammes:
I Natural Conditions and Ice Navigation
II Environmental Factors
III Trade and Commercial Shipping Aspects
V Political. Legal and Strategic Factors
Indigenous peoples’ aspects are mainly addressed in Subprogramme IV, within the project “Social and Cultural Impact on Indigenous Peoples” (supervised by Gail Osherenko, Dartmouth College, USA). Indigenous issues are also considered in Subprogramme II which is co-ordinated by the Norwegian Polar Institute (see below). INSROP publications covering indigenous issues are listed in the Chapter “Notes” in the end of this Bulletin.

Project proposal: International Rights of the Nenets and Komi Indigenous Peoples of the Pechora Sea Coastal Zone
Date: October 1998

This is a project proposal submitted to the Norwegian Research Council. The project is meant to interface with the IASC-supported research programme LOIRA (Land-Ocean Interactions in the Russian Arctic) and is intended to be carried out in co-operation with Ivar Bjørklund (Tromsø) and Russian specialists (Elena Andreeva, Moscow; V. Kryukov, Novosibirsk; etc.) as well as numerous consultants with experiences from indigenous issues related to petroleum development in North America.

The main goal of the project is to clarify the legal status of the indigenous peoples of the Pechora Sea coastal area, the Nenets and the Izhma-Komi, in relation to international legal norms for indigenous peoples. This is important to ensure a harmonic development in an area undergoing economic growth involving different Russian and international oil and gas companies, including the Norwegian companies Norsk Hydro and Statoil. Identification of measures to strengthen indigenous rights in the oil and gas areas of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug will be forwarded, and policy alternatives for the Okrug administration and the oil and gas companies will be proposed. Experiences from indigenous issues in connection with oil and gas development in the North American Arctic will be used, as well as experiences from indigenous rights issues of the Scandinavian Saami.


Update 29-11-2001