Living conditions of the indigenous peoples in Arctic Russia

May 2002
Kathrine Johnsen, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

RAIPON, Saami Council and UNEP/GRID-Arendal are jointly implementing a project on the health, environment and living conditions of the indigenous peoples of Arctic Russia. The long-term goal is to include the rest of the circumpolar area in the project. The project’s implementation started in early 2002 and, currently, UNEP and WHO are funding the activities. Results from the first phase of the project will be achieved by the beginning of August 2002.

The project is using questionnaires to collect information based on the indigenous peoples’ premisses. Questions to be answered are selected by RAIPON according to defined needs. A group of ten representatives from ten regions have been trained to lead interviews. Each of the interviewers will return to their regions where they will carry out several interviews. More general information on health, environment and living conditions will be collected from all indigenous settlements in Arctic Russia.

The objectives of the project are:

Results from the survey will be presented at the Arctic Parliamentarian Meeting in Tromsø 11th – 13th August 2002. This will include local and indigenous knowledge-based reports on health, environment and living conditions for indigenous peoples in Arctic Russia, photos and case studies (articles on the living conditions in particular settlements).

Later in 2002, the project will make more information available on the Internet, including an interactive map defining geographical hotspots. Further the project will produce posters and other educational material for distribution to local, regional and national authorities, public institutions, schools and communities giving information about the health, environment and living conditions for Russian Arctic indigenous peoples.