1 Participation in Decision Making by Indigenous Peoples of the North in Russia Tamara Semenova, Senior Research Fellow, Russian Institute on Cultural and Natural Heritage, Moscow, Russia I. International Context I.1.Arctic Council Stakeholders and Political Setting Up I.2.Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the AC I.3.Mechanism of PPs Participation, their Agenda and Priorities I.4.Evolution of Co operation under the Arctic Council I.5.Evolution of Co operation beyond the AC II. National Context II.1.National Legislation II.2.Lobbying in the Government II.3.Federal Target Program on Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Peoples of the North until 2011 II.4.Regional Cooperation II.5.Introducing Sustainable Development Conclusion At the dawn of perestroika period Arctic region became a focus of international cooperation following the initiatives set out in the Murmansk speech by Gorbachev in One of the important establishments of this cooperation is an intergovernmental forum of the Arctic Council. It had evolved from the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy into a rather unique international organization, which can serve as a positive model where both governments and the indigenous peoples are willing to deal with the region's common challenges. The project oriented work under the umbrella of the Arctic Council makes it possible for indigenous peoples organizations to fully participate in the policy making process, though their status as permanent participants is not equal to the voting powers of the member states of the Arctic Council. But the functional transformation of their role in the decision making became possible due to building up a new common identity it is the increased self awareness of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic that has brought the circumpolar, least populated and developed areas, to the attention of the global community. At the national level the collective identity formation is connected to two various processes the one is a search for new opportunities and the other one is limited to regional and local participation in the self government and allocation of the resources. From the functional point of view this latter role in comparison with the international identity is oriented at adaptation. I. International Context In November 2004 Reykjavik, Iceland has hosted the 4 th session of the Arctic Council (AC), an intergovernmental forum established in It incorporates eight circumpolar countries Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA. The AC Ministerial meetings take part once in two years, while meetings of Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) are organized twice a year. The mission of the AC is promoting sustainable development and
2 environmental protection in the Arctic region. AC activity is coordinated through the Secretariat established by the country hosting Arctic Council on a rotational basis during the period of 2 years. In the AC is chaired by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. AC evolved from the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, a first cooperative program of the post Cold war period in the circumpolar area, which emerged as a follow up of the initiatives proposed by Michael Gorbachev in his Murmansk speech in late In this Strategy first organizations of indigenous peoples Saami Council and Inuit Circumpolar Conference have been included as participants, but their status has not been determined yet. Under the AC status of indigenous peoples organizations (IPOs) has been clearly defined: in addition to eight member states there are seven seats of the permanent participants for Arctic IPOs. AC adopts consensus based decisions, what gives an opportunity for IPOs to participate on an equal basis in the decision making process. Environmental organizations, international programs and non Arctic countries may apply for the status of permanent or ad hoc observer in the AC. In the international arena AC has been recently recognized as a unique forum of partnership between the governments, indigenous organizations and international NGOs. During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg Arctic Council organized a side event aimed at the coordination of global and regional activities on sustainable development in the Arctic region. The AC Ministerial Declaration, adopted in Reykjavik, continues an important work dedicated to elaboration of the strategy of sustainable development and a regional Action Plan in this area. The structure of the AC has also a peculiar design as compared with other interstate organizations instead of committees or commissions it comprises thematic working groups and projects. Five working groups have been formed since Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) and Arctic Council Action Plan (ACAP). In 2000 a new working group on Sustainable Development (SDWG) has been set up on the AC decision. All six working groups have permanent though very small secretariats, own resources and manage on going projects that are submitted for approval at the SAO sessions by AC participants. Member states allocate resources for these projects on a voluntary basis. Projects in this procedure are not only publicly screened and discussed, but in order to get support, their initiators seek support from as many partners as possible. Such organization of work establishes strong network before the project is launched, and ensures its consistent follow up after implementation. Sometimes proposed projects are so important for all AC stakeholders or interdisciplinary and multifaceted by their nature that they surpass the capacity of a specific working group and become the titular Arctic Council projects. In two such largescale projects have been implemented Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR). 2 I.1.Arctic Council Stakeholders and Political Setting Up Arctic Council as the direct follow up of perestroika and glasnost inevitably has been put into the position to test different approaches and settings for its activity. By its nature, AC as an arena for cooperation between the former enemies and newly emerging political actors should have created interesting and innovative forms and procedures. In addition, the AC was not a monopoly in the substantial field of activity it has been surrounded by many environmental and cooperation organizations that already existed at the global, regional and national levels. Some of them were able to successfully compete with the AC either by higher level of specialization or by more influential international agencies or by available resources. In order to survive and eventually succeed, AC had to find an original image or new branding for political activity. Phenomenon of the AC, or more elaborately, its model deserves a special attention and analysis, because some of its characteristics might become the prerequisites for the future governance patterns, including those emerging at the global scale.
3 The analysis of the AC model poses two interrelated tasks: introspection on the internal structure of the body and interpretation of its external framework. Internally, the following are identified as the stakeholders of the AC: Arctic member states, permanent participants (PPs), working groups and secretariats of the AC and the observers. However, it should be emphasized here that it is the PPs, alias the indigenous peoples organizations (IPOs) in the Arctic who are of primary interest for our AC model consideration. It shall be reflected in the further readings of this analysis. And at first glance, if it were not indigenous peoples representation, it would be difficult to find substantial difference between the AC and other interstate cooperative organs. This difference is crucial because it is functional, and thus creating new political actors and agencies expanded from their original identities. Externally, AC is the body that co exists with various other institutions, sometimes with similar missions and tasks in the framework of international cooperation. Closer consideration of the AC functions reveals that Council is embedded within this framework and is to coordinate its activities with neighboring or intersecting initiatives and programs. Barents Euro Arctic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers are two examples of earlier established agencies with similar objectives and overlapping regional scope. In Northern Europe it is the Action Plan for the Northern Dimension that has been recently endorsed by the European Council. Simultaneously, Canada announced its own Northern Dimension Foreign Policy and the United States endorsed its Northern Europe Initiative. So, essentially there are three layers of interaction with the AC inter governmental agencies, international programs (frequently of global scope, such as UNEP and UNDP) and national plans and initiatives. This complex framework creates challenges for the regional bodies in the Arctic region, and for the Arctic Council in particular. It has no fixed funding, so operationally it depends on the closer cooperation among these bodies to identify and promote common issues and policies and, at the same time, avoid overlapping activities. In this regard Arctic Council has to rely on its new projects, whether they be original, commonly recognized and able to compete for resources. The above mentioned projects on Arctic Climate Impact and Human Development Report were samples of such joint and high level initiatives. From the functional point of view, the fact that the Arctic states agreed to delegate to the AC a specific responsibility to bring arctic circumpolar concerns to the international forums is also positive. Finland, as the chair of the AC during the period of , has substantially committed to strengthening the role of this forum as a mouthpiece for the region, and led the organization of the AC side event at the Johannesburg Summit for sustainable development. With all arctic states as members and the arctic indigenous peoples participating in the work on an equal footing, the structure of the Arctic Council enables it to represent this region with considerable legitimacy. Another important dimension of the AC is worth to mention here. It is the unique nature of the circumpolar region, incorporating both the most pristine ecosystems and impressive natural sites and extensive valuable resources of energy and raw materials. It is the cradle of ancient civilizations of indigenous peoples and their traditional sustainable economies, serving as model for secure human development in the most severe natural conditions. It is the extremes of vulnerability and resilience, poor life standards and spiritual richness, environmental contamination and biological diversity. These underlying arguments to the exclusive international setting of the AC serve very well in its external negotiations for the resources and spheres of influence. Intergovernmental arctic co operation has been launched 14 years ago with the Rovaniemi initiative on environmental protection, transformed into the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. Since then the regional initiative has strengthened and widened seven EU member states are connected to the work of the AC either as members or observers. Recently the European Commission has also acquired a status of permanent observer. The Commission, due to its mandate and competence, is already influencing relevant matters pertaining to global environmental policies. The safeguarding of region s interests cannot be ensured without close 3
4 cooperation with Commission as influential global and European player. Iceland as a Chair of the AC in the period of has invested time and resources into building up a closer relationship with the European Commission. This confirms AC image as an able and consistent political actor at the international arena. I.2.Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the AC As has been noted, IPOs occupy now six of seven available seats of the Permanent Participants to the AC. The status of the PP is granted after an application to this status is screened and discussed and decision made by the AC on the consensus. But informally the decision on the acceptance of a new PP very much depends on the opinion of the IPOs. Initially, the two indigenous organizations Saami Council and Inuit Circumpolar Conference were acting as observers in the AEPS, but very soon they were joined by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and Aleut International Association, as all these organizations have their ethnic groups at the territory of Russia Saami, Inuit and Aleut peoples. And it was quite natural to make this connection via joining their fraternal native communities and inclusion of the Russian IPO. But next seats were waiting for a longer period (almost 10 years) to select the IPOs, which could politically represent other indigenous nations of the Arctic region. This issue of representation has been de facto a political norm of the AC. Only RAIPON is national level organization, the others are international IPOs and unite their members from several or two countries Saami Council represent peoples from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia, Inuit Circumpolar Conference from Canada, Denmark (Greenland), USA and Russia, Aleut International Association from USA and Russia, Gwichin Council International from USA and Canada, Arctic Athabaskan Council from Canada and USA, RAIPON from Russia. The membership in these IPOs extends to all people of indigenous descent of these nationalities or ethnic groups. RAIPON represents 40 indigenous nations of the North, Siberia and Far East, i.e. all Arctic nations that have been legalized by the Russian state as indigenous peoples. Other PPs represent only one nation. In addition, in the AC among observers there are other indigenous organizations (for example, Association of World Reindeer Herders), but they are not expected to receive the status of PP at present. The nature of this internal setting can be seen as political one too it is mutually agreed and understood (in this case we could assume it to be another existing norm in the AC) that representation of the Arctic indigenous peoples is being settled by themselves. That s why this quite complicated overlapping pattern of indigenous representation (national, international and dual representation via IPOs) has never been questioned and unlikely will be discussed at the AC. These norms are not endogenous or genuine in the AC internal setting, they have been formed and already fixed at the other international organizations, such as Working Group on the draft UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the UN ECOSOC and the other fora. In the AC they are to be understood as de facto existing norms. What may be recognized as a new original norm is a will of sovereign states to extend their decision making power to the public organizations representing Arctic communities and share resources and information to ensure their input to the decision making process. IPOs occurred to be well prepared to accept this right and responsibility due to their internal structures. All PPs have vertical and horizontal functional power structures they elect their presidents, chiefs or leaders either by direct voting, or via delegating the voting powers to the representatives. At the local level indigenous communities enjoy the same independent election system further extended to the regional or provincial level. Usually there are also advisory bodies for example, the councils of elders that may issue decisions when requested or necessary. Supreme indigenous organs often rotate according to the territorial disposition, and this flexibility makes the dual representation both possible and achievable. It is even more impressive that level of indigenous representation is not low: Aleut International Association represents over 5,000 members in 2 countries, Arctic Athabaskan Council represent 32,000 indigenous persons in 2 countries, Gwichin Council 9,000 members in 2 countries, Inuit Circumpolar Conference 4
5 150,000 persons in 4 countries, Saami Council 30,000 members in 4 countries and the RAIPON 200,000 members of 40 nations in a single country. As early as since AC establishment the indigenous peoples were consulted as carriers of traditional knowledge, and this also proved to be efficient for developing agenda of the Arctic Council. Functional interdependence of the sovereign states and IPOs can be considered through two specific examples of the AC procedural arrangements: work of Indigenous Peoples Secretariat and external communication on the AC projects. 5 I.3.Mechanism of PPs Participation, their Agenda and Priorities The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) was established in 1994 under the auspices of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. IPS mission and design were specifically targeted at supporting and facilitating IPOs participation in the international work on environmental protection and management. Its mandate included: facilitate meetings and dialogue among the indigenous peoples; assist them to make best contributions to the AEPS process; ensure timely distribution of AEPS documentation to the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic; facilitating the on going work on preservation and transfer of indigenous knowledge. With the establishment of the Arctic Council (AC) in 1996, it was decided that the IPS would continue under the framework of the AC. Furthermore, the rules of procedures for the AC opened up for additional IPOs with Permanent Participant status in the AC, and the number of PPs has increased. With recent addition of the Arctic Athabaskan Council and the Gwichin Council International as Permanent Participants (PPs) to the Arctic Council, the voice of arctic indigenous peoples has been strengthened and their community and interests expanded. There exist different opinions about the IPS legal status in the AC. In the Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council 8 states that The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat established under AEPS is to continue under the framework of the Arctic Council. Some of the members have interpreted being under the framework as equal to being a subsidiary body of the AC on par with the working groups in the AC and obliged to follow the rule of procedures of the Arctic Council e.g. the principle of consensus in decision making. Whereas others have argued that the IPS could not be an AC subsidiary body because the IPS was established to support the PPs and not to pursue the objectives of the Arctic Council. But it is important to note here that external IPS decisions are based on a consensus principle. As part of the renewal of IPS mandate, the PP identified a number of key priorities to guide the Secretariat s work. These are climate change, contaminants, sustainable development and its relation to land rights and access to natural resources, and the need to build human and financial capacity for PP. IPS continues to receive most of its core funding from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, and this is acknowledged by PP in the form of the permanent representation of Denmark at the IPS Board. Additional support comes from the Greenland Homerule, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the governments of Norway, the United States, Canada, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. The role of IPS in the IPOs activity under the AC is hard to overestimate. PP have excellent opportunities to exercise their rights and to promote their agenda at the international level. First, they meet regularly, second, they make decisions about current issues in the AC, and third, they could practically take part in the projects of the AC, i.e. via making inputs, acquiring access to project resources and participating in the AC political and intellectual work. All these activities are organized and managed by the IPS, as a working body of the PP. While the AC Secretariats are tied up to the Chairmanship rotation, the IPS enjoys permanent staff and headquarters in Copenhagen, what ensure the consistency in the work and management of the IPS.
6 The rules of procedure for the IPS are decided by the Board, which includes 9 representatives one from each PP (6), representative of the former AC Chair country (now Iceland), representative of the current AC Chair country (now Russia) and Denmark (as a main sponsor of the IPS). The Chair of the Board is a representative of the IPOs nominated on rotational basis for a period of two years, usually simultaneously with the Chair of the Arctic Council. This board serves as another unique opportunity to lobby the interests of IPOs on their priorities and agenda in the AC. Consensus decision making organizes this lobbying in the intelligent and most effective way, so that IPOs are able to further their interests to the countries at the high level governmental meetings. At the same time, due to these favorable conditions the IPS outreach actions become too diversified and this has contributed to uncertainty and diverging expectations among the PP and other stakeholders with regard to the role and functions of the IPS. PP see IPS as a vehicle, which represents the collective views and interests of Arctic indigenous peoples, in those areas where PP have agreed to work together, and have the same interests. But PP concerns about increased capacity of the IPS are also justified. Some PP, particularly those with more capacity, may decide on certain issues not to be part of collective action, but to engage in their own action, nationally and internationally. Or, they may decide to supplement the action that IPS is taking. This should not preclude the remaining PP from also taking action on the same issue, using IPS to help provide capacity if they so wish. Collective actions and their organizing become the arena of discussions and another emerging norm under the AC. It is important to emphasize, that some of the rules for these collective voice of the PP in relation to their common secretariat are already settled: IPS does not speak publicly except with the permission of PP. When it does speak publicly, it delivers messages agreed on by PP. The authenticity of representation (indigenous peoples cannot be represented by non indigenous persons) is one of the rules that has been ensured through the IPS functioning. IPS does not have a decision making capacity on behalf of PP. It cannot give permission or assent to any outside body on behalf of PP. These rules follow the more general pattern of interaction between the Arctic states in their international organization. It can be seen as an evidence of increased capacity of IPOs through the experience of IPS to become fully engaged into political activity within the AC. 6 I.4.Evolution of Co operation under the Arctic Council The PP which comprise Arctic Council face vastly differing sets of circumstances while some struggle for recognition of rights to lands, resources and self governance, others have secured those rights. In northern Canada, indigenous peoples make up 45% of the population, in Russia, just 2%. Levels of resourcing and capacity also differ enormously between the PP. While the Saami run many projects and have long standing links to other international organizations, the Aleuts has difficulty ensuring regular contacts between their members, and have only a oneperson office for support. But in spite of all differences they have common interest based identity indigenousness. In the AC projects this identity is recognized via the accepted term of indigenous knowledge. Indigenous or traditional knowledge stands high in the agenda of the AC. It has been the priority for incorporating opinions of indigenous peoples since the AEPS, and under the AC this issue became an important, if not major, research and communication task. But the IPOs rather express their common identity through an important process of transforming their agenda in the AC. They use for it available resources including those allocated by the Arctic countries for their participation in the AC. During the workshop on "Mechanisms for Co operation and Communication between Permanent Participants" in August 2000, several suggestions were made for strengthening the relationship and better co ordination among the PPs. They included: information sharing; regular preliminary consultations before all the AC and AC Working Group meetings; meetings for the PPs and the IPS staff held every year, to be hosted by different PPs in different countries. Some of these objectives are met nowadays: the IPS has established the IPS home page, issues regular update
7 on the PP activities, coordinates the side meetings and participation in the working groups at the AC; process and disseminate information on the AC projects and activities, organizes joint publications, side events etc. The IPS work plans have stipulated for maintaining strong links and networks with the agencies, NGOs, institutions, the diplomatic corps, political decision makers and the media that can assist in promoting the interest of the Arctic and the Arctic indigenous peoples. Furthermore, it was suggested that regular meetings between PP and the Executive Secretaries of the AC Working groups should be held for better co operation and coordination. In addition, it was emphasized that the PP should nominate their experts for each AC Working Group. This work has yielded results. The last years has seen increasing recognition by the world community that the Arctic is an indicator region for global environmental change. Indigenous peoples organizations have worked to foster this understanding in a number of global processes, including negotiations for the Stockholm Persistent Organic Pollutants Convention, the first international environmental treaty to specifically mention the Arctic and Arctic Indigenous Peoples. Convention is aimed at singling out persistent toxic substances that due to bioaccumulation are stored in the fat tissues and blood of higher animals and pose significant threat to the indigenous peoples. Traditional diet of the Arctic peoples includes mammals and thus considerably affects the humans. It is anticipated that Arctic data and the voices of indigenous peoples which played an important role in the success of the Stockholm treaty will have a similar positive influence on the global mercury assessment now underway. Indigenous perspectives have been key to the work on an AC mega project the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). Climate change, its often dramatic effects on Arctic peoples and ecosystems, and the increasing recognition that Arctic indigenous peoples must be intimately involved in the development of policy responses, is a global issue with varied regional implications. Indigenous peoples are dealing with the consequences of erratic and unpredictable environmental change and are in the forefront of discussions about ways to adapt to with these changes. Three PP sit on the ACIA Steering Committee and all organizations are working to ensure the integration of Indigenous Knowledge and observations into the assessment. All six PP and IPS were actively involved in the development of policy recommendations on mitigation of climate change. The voices of Arctic indigenous peoples were also heard at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg in August IPS co ordinated the development of a brochure for the WSSD, which illustrated the cooperation between Permanent Participants and Arctic Council states on climate change assessment. The AC has been used as a model for arrangements that could be developed following the Summit to give indigenous peoples around the world a voice in determining policies that affect their lands, resources, and cultures. Another AC mega project output just recently out of print Arctic Human Development Report has been initially structured with the participation of the indigenous peoples, and PP supported this project with their experts, narratives and writings on sustainable development and its human dimension. The AC has demonstrated that the intellectual resources exist to tackle tough issues, such as climate change, contaminants, etc. This was made possible due to emerging public participation and governance norms and partnership relations between the IPOs and state institutions in the work under the AC. 7 I.5.Evolution of Co operation beyond the AC Cooperation with the participation of the IPOs might have an exciting future. Active interaction between the indigenous peoples, initiated by the Permanent Participants, facilitated by the IPS and supported by the Governments of Arctic countries, set a basic route map for other international agencies for solution of the most urgent problems in the environmental field, human rights sphere and sustainable development. Implementation of the project on institutional
8 building of indigenous peoples of the Russian North, executed by the ICC, RAIPON, Canadian Department of Indian and North Affairs and the governmental agencies in Russia, cooperation between Saami Council, RAIPON and UNEP/GRID Arendal within the Nordic Capacity Building Program on sustainable development, funding from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency for the activity of the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat all these initiatives change understanding about the existing opportunities, cross fertilize ideas and help all parties in reconstruction of their decision making roles. At the same time, project work with the indigenous communities and ethnic groups revealed their principal concerns beyond the study of the social and economic processes leading to degradation of the traditional way of life, poor environmental and social conditions of the aboriginal population, decline in use of native languages and dying out of aboriginal cultural life. The urgent need exists in tacking the issue of the future development models. The research question what is sustainable development usually leads back to narrow interpretations designed to protect existing political and industrial arrangements. This hampers a creative approach to problem solving. The question of what it should be stimulates a positive discussion. Such debate launches a new stage in the policy of the partnership development a transition to the real actions. The Arctic Council could play the most important role here due to existing infrastructure as an active stakeholder in this process, involving other states, international organizations, companies and other economic and political actors. The European Commission is already involved in arctic research. The EU has financed studies on the impact of global warming in the Barents Sea region covering environmental, economic, social and cultural consequences. These studies have been incorporated into recently implemented Arctic Council Climate Impact Assessment. The role of the European Community in arctic research is being reinforced in the framework programs for Research and Technical Development. The working groups of the Arctic Council actively cooperate with the national Universities and circumpolar scientific community in planning the programme for International Polar Year in The cooperation between the IPOs under the Arctic Council is progressing in the other global fora. Saami representative (Ole Henrik Magga) has been elected the first Chair of the Permanent Forum under the UN Economic and Social Council, and now the RAIPON representative (Pavel Sulyandziga) has also joined the Permanent Forum as the representative of the East European and Russia region. Based on the experience of Johannesburg meeting, where information on climate change in the Arctic region and impact of warming on indigenous peoples health and traditional life has been disseminated, Arctic IPOs are organizing joint side events at the important international meetings. In October 2002 such event has been organized at the Global Environmental Facility Assembly in Beijing, China. It has been targeted at the promotion of the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, as a result of this work, in addition to Arctic states many southern countries have signed this international agreement. Another side event took part at the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2004 where ICC, AAC and RAIPON united their efforts to call upon states to recognize the Arctic as a region particularly vulnerable to climate change by amending the climate change convention, and to establish a circumpolar monitoring system to warn the world of the magnitude and speed of climate change. ICC is going to petition the Inter American Commission on Human Rights seeking a declaration on the violation of human rights of Inuit people, who suffer from serious environmental and social consequences due to Arctic ice melting and destruction of their traditional lifestyle. Arctic IPOs are seeking partnership with the Pacific Island states, vulnerable to the climate change too, to work with Arctic indigenous peoples in a strategic alliance to press for more assertive and far reaching emission reduction targets and timetables for the post Kyoto commitment period. Thus model of partnership between the indigenous peoples and states in the AC keeps working because of the practical establishments at this forum through working groups and project 8
9 oriented activity, small but effective secretariats, exchange of information, sharing knowledge and introduction of democratic norms. And Arctic IPOs actively foster replication and expansion of this model in other regions and globally. II. National Context: The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) has been established as an umbrella non governmental organization at the first Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North held in Kremlin, Moscow in This event has been attended by the state leaders of that time headed by Michael Gorbachev, the USSR President. RAIPON s principal goal is to protect the legitimate interests and rights of indigenous peoples of Russian North, Siberia and Far East, including the rights to land, natural resources, and rights to self government in line with the international standards and Russian legislation. The Association also aims at helping the peoples of the North to solve their social and economic problems and to develop their national culture and education. With over 200,000 individual members, organized into ethnic and regional chapters, representing all federal regions where indigenous minorities traditionally live (29 of 89), the RAIPON at present is the only organization empowered to represent 40 indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation. Vertical structure of the RAIPON is built up on the democratic principles, it incorporates two levels of power representation: the independent regional or ethnic associations represented by elected presidents (36) and the national umbrella association of the RAIPON represented by the president elected every 4 years at the Congress of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation. At present RAIPON president is Sergey Haruchi, and the next V Congress is to be held in Moscow on April 11 15, The Congress delegates, as well as presidents are elected by direct secret ballot with the participation of local, regional, national and international observers. Between the Congresses collective working body of the RAIPON is the Coordination Council where all regional presidents have equal voting power. Legal status of all RAIPON associations is a federal non governmental organization, reregistered in 1999 according to the Federal Law on Non Profit and Charitable Organizations in Russia. II.1.National Legislation Russian state officially recognized the rights of indigenous peoples on its territory by firstly adopting (1928) and later revising (1991, 2001) the List of Indigenous Peoples. Initially it included 26 nations, later 28 indigenous peoples of the North, and only recently it has been expanded to incorporate 45 indigenous nations from all regions of Russia. Historically this list has been the principal document serving as a legal basis for establishing status of indigenous peoples, later it has been re titled into list of small numbered indigenous peoples ( malochislennye narody ), because it included the ethnic groups that does not exceed 50,000 people, thus setting a first limit for recognising the rights of indigenous peoples. This notion of malochislennye narody still creates some problems in recognition of indigenous peoples and also reminds of the rather artificial legal category that has been introduced by the state. In the long term perspective if the Caucasian nationalities are included into this list, it could be more extensive, because along with the titular nations, there are over 100 ethnic groups and nationalities that live on the territory of Russian Federation. Important also, that the term indigenous refers to all peoples of the North (40 nations) that are recognized by anthropologists in Russia as peoples preserving their traditional lifestyle and economy. In this sense, indigenous peoples of the North in Russia are recognized according to the international law (Article 169 by International Labour Organization). All these 40 nations enjoy the individual membership under the organization of the RAIPON. Since its establishment and according to its mission, RAIPON takes active part in the legal work for ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples. In RAIPON has participated in the 9
10 development of the national legislation in relation to indigenous peoples of the North. Three principal laws have been elaborated and adopted On guarantees of the rights for indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation, On basic principles for establishment of communities of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East in the Russian Federation and On the traditional land use areas of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East in the Russian Federation. These laws have been recently revised under the process of legislation reform in Russia, by the Commission under the chairmanship of Mr. Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Head of the President s Administration established on the Presidential Decree in In fact, this very Commission had conducted the court, land, tax and election reforms, by developing new and already adopted Land, Tax, Civil Procedure, Criminal Codes, Laws on Elections, on Courts, on Delegation of Responsibilities and Division of Property between the regional and federal state power bodies. Based on these developments, the majority of the earlier adopted laws were abolished, revised or reformed, and the revision of the existing indigenous legislation has been executed. The RAIPON has been invited to the Commission session to be informed about the abolishment of these 3 indigenous laws according to their declarative character and principally impossible reinforcement and appliance. RAIPON immediately initiated the formal appeal to the President Putin to disagree with such statement and oppose this action. As a result, Administration under the Russian President has issued the order to include the RAIPON representatives into the Working Groups (established under the Kozak Commission) along with the scientists and specialists representing the institutions, federal agencies and relevant ministries for the participation in the legal work of the Commission. Though RAIPON representatives succeeded in finding the appropriate solutions on several issues at the Working Groups, however, in a number of principal questions, relating to traditional land use areas (TLA) property rights and land use, TLA establishment, compensation for the damage to traditional economy or subsistence, indigenous peoples rights to co management and decision making (TLA monitoring, ethnological impact assessment of the projects on TLA, indigenous representation in the power bodies etc.) compromise has not been achieved. Property and land use rights are important issues and it is important to clarify the RAIPON s position on these notions. Before the adoption of the new Land Code indigenous peoples possessed and used their traditional lands based on the principle of indisputable, no time limit, gratis use. This principle existed since the Russian Empire introduced the Legislation on Aboriginal Nations ( Ulozhenie ob inorodtsakh ) in early 19 century. Newly adopted Land Code in general has excluded this principle, referring exclusively to property and lease rights. In mid 90s, when new legislation development has been under way, the compromise was settled indigenous peoples did not insist on traditional land property, transferring this right to the state in exchange for inalienable right to use customary lands. Contemporary legal situation forces indigenous peoples of the North to launch land claim process. After the new Land Code came into force the RAIPON has been informed by the local chapters in Magadan region, in Primorsky Kray and other regions that clan communities had received bills from the regional authorities for annual lease of the land plots allocated for traditional subsistence activities hunting, fishing and reindeer herding. It is clearly evident that leasing traditional lands by indigenous peoples is neither economically viable nor financially possible, and this is another attempt to expropriate traditional lands, as it already happened in the Irkutsk region (Siberia) to the Evenk people, whose local communities had been legally deprived of their lands. New Land Code in principal has excluded free use of traditional lands by indigenous peoples, in contradiction to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Another area of legal intervention is the joint work of the RAIPON with the RF State Duma and Council of Federation. Since 1998 RAIPON leaders have held several working meetings with national deputies on the issue of establishing Parliament of Indigenous Peoples and assisted to the organization of the Round Table in the Council of Federation on ratifying ILO Convention 169 On nomadic and tribal peoples in the independent countries. Unfortunately, neither a 10
11 proposed amendment on communities to the new Civil Code had been ratified, nor the State Duma Committee had supported the RAIPON s initiatives on indigenous parliament. 11 II.2.Lobbying in the Government Since 1990 the indigenous affairs and Northern issues in Russia have been continuously managed by many governmental organizations, sometimes under the single State Committee on the North Affairs, sometimes under different ministries, for example, Ministry of Nationalities, Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and recently after the administrative reform, the Ministry of Regional Affairs. The administrative reforms included all kinds of enlargement, enhancement and authorization of the regional and federal power, leaving only limited functions to the local self government. This incessant transformation of state bodies to deal with the national and northern issues serves as the clear evidence of the great state interests and demands for the resources in the North and the unsettled division of the responsibilities between the governmental organs and power structures. Nevertheless, since its inception in 1990 RAIPON has been permanently lobbying for the interests of indigenous peoples at all levels of power. In this continuous work there are three major aspects development of national instruments according to international standards, introduction of regional initiatives, and enhancing the local self government. At the national level, during the meeting of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in December 2001, RAIPON has proposed to establish a statute of Ambassador on Arctic and Indigenous issues (similar to Canadian practice) and create a Department on Arctic and indigenous issues within the RF Government. These initiatives were not supported, but the Council on Arctic and Extreme North chaired by the Prime Minister, alias the Chairman of the RF Government has been formed. Its first meeting took place in Salekhard, capital of the Yamal Nenets Autonomous region on November 26, Relation to indigenous peoples has been one of the principal issues in its agenda. Council adopted several decisions, and two of them were most important for the current situation an introduction of indigenous representatives into the Working Groups on legislation reform under the Kozak Commission and adopting the status of plenipotentiary representative body to the RAIPON as an organization of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East in the Russian Federation. Additionally, it is worth to mention here that the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed at this Council meeting to announce the Russia s nomination as the incoming Chair in the Arctic Council in RAIPON supported this decision both nationally and internationally, assuming that the responsibilities to chair the Arctic Council would be most helpful for improving the situation for the indigenous peoples of the North inside Russia. Year of 2002 has been also remarkable as a first joint meeting of the RAIPON Coordination Council and the Governmental Commission on conducting International Decade of Indigenous Peoples in the Russian Federation, where indigenous leaders of the North, Siberia and Far East took part along with the representatives of the ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation, governmental authorities of the northern regions, and the representatives of the Authorized Presidential Inspection in 7 federal okrugs (supra regional administrative territorial units). Also, for the first time the indigenous issues were subject to discussion in the Interagency Commission on Constitutional Rights in Russia. This is the evidence of the psychological transformation in mentality of the governmental officials in Russia. In the process of this transformation the idea that indigenous issues are not only and predominantly social problems (such as poverty, alcohol addiction, marginal lifestyle etc.), but the national security matters (traditional land use areas, natural resources, cultural identity, genetic and biological diversity) is also advancing. In most cases the lack of capacity to address and solve the problems of indigenous peoples in Russia are connected to the constant reformation of governmental
12 structures, responsible for the policy on indigenous issues, what results in the lack of competent and reliable assistance in this sector. Until there is no established special governmental body, responsible for the indigenous policy, based on a comprehensive ideology, it would not be possible to cope with the elimination of reasons, rather than consequences of the existing problems. Image of Russia as a democratic state, building civil society and protecting human rights is being significantly disfigured by both inconsistency and double standards in its national policy towards indigenous peoples. II.3.Federal Target Program on Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Peoples of the North until 2011 RAIPON recognizes in its work the importance of this national program as a principal tool of the support for indigenous peoples and regularly monitors its effectiveness through RAIPON regional affiliates. In the opinion of indigenous leaders, this program is ineffective in the regional problems solution, first as a policy tool, and second, as a political ensign of Russia in relation to its indigenous peoples. Regrettably this program is not an instrument for development, though potentially it could create relevant procedures. If Federal Target Program plays the role of principal state response to the indigenous concerns and a last hope for the indigenous peoples it should not fail in adequate pursuance of its political goals. In this regard, it is important to cite the excerpt from the RAIPON commentaries to the program submitted to the Russia s government: at present, goals and tasks stated in the Federal Target Program cannot be achieved or fulfilled under the existing mechanism of its implementation. Firstly, the funds allocated from the Federal budget are not adequate for the survival let alone development in the regions. Certainly, the absolute figures are not the only indicators, but allocation of 350 rubles (10 Euros) per year per indigenous person is a mere mockery, as in their traditional lands practically all raw natural resources, including gas, oil and timber, are developed and extracted. Secondly, in the program no funding is envisaged for the cultural, educational activities, traditional subsistence and health protection. Thirdly, in the implementation of the program no participation of indigenous peoples or their organizations is ensured. This is the evidence that primary goals of the program the transition from the paternalistic approach to the partnership with indigenous peoples and development of their traditional economies and subsistence will eventually fail. Finally, in the program itself there is no indication that additional resources from the business and/or other sectors are secured, as initially has been planned. Being a substantial portion of the Federal Target Program funding, extra budgeting is completely missing in its implementation phase. RAIPON criticized the program and proposed the following necessary corrections: increase the funding for the Federal Target Program to ensure the budgeting for the traditional economies, culture, education and health protection; change in principle the program ideology with the subsequent transformation of its structure: re orientation from the regional (district) to the local (community) approach, from the construction plans and funding existing objects to the projects with the specific tasks and action plans; develop and adopt the norms, including the legal instruments, for securing extra budgeting for the program, primarily from the business enterprises and mining companies, active in the traditional land use areas of indigenous peoples, with the simultaneous coordination of the inputs from the international programs and projects implemented by the governmental structures via World Bank, UNDP, UNEP etc. introduce free licenses for the traditional activities fishing, hunting, non timber harversting for the ethnic communities, indigenous economic enterprises and companies; hire for the program implementation indigenous persons and organizations; 12