IPAF member Protect Sápmi Foundation publishes manual for participatory cumulative impact assessment
The manual aims to provide other Indigenous Peoples worldwide with a tool to identify and evaluate the potential impacts of multiple actions or projects in their own community contexts. This work was supported under ASI’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF) activities.
30 April 2023
The Protect Sápmi Foundation (“Protect”), which includes the Norwegian Sami people, has published a manual on cumulative impact assessment based on a method developed over several years in Norway’s Sami reindeer herding districts. The manual aims to provide other Indigenous Peoples worldwide with a tool to identify and evaluate the potential impacts of multiple actions or projects in their own community contexts. This work was supported under ASI’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF) activities.
This manual for an Indigenous-led participatory and cumulative impact assessment on Indigenous cultural landscapes and traditional ecosystem services takes into account the combined effects of multiple past, present, and future actions or projects in a given area. It recognises that individually minor actions or projects can have a significant impact when considered in combination with other actions or projects. Cumulative impact assessments aim to identify and evaluate the potential impacts of such combinations and to develop strategies to manage or mitigate those impacts. However, there is still no internationally accepted definition or standard for how to perform a cumulative impact assessment, and Indigenous Peoples often lack a direct role in carrying out these assessments despite their unique traditional knowledge about the areas affected.
“Protect” aims to maintain and develop Sami cultural landscapes and promote Sami business interests while safeguarding Sami rightsholders’ interests, land, resource rights, and development opportunities. The foundation provides assistance to authorities and new business actors in their activities in Sami areas and participates in negotiations on behalf of Sami interests.
In 2022, “Protect” encountered a company certified against the ASI Standards in the context of a participatory cumulative impact assessment. The foundation had been using a working method of cumulative impact assessment based on a manual developed over several years in Norway’s Sami reindeer herding districts. ASI and its Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF) saw the potential benefits of spreading knowledge about the foundation’s cumulative impact assessment work to a wider audience, and proposed that “Protect” update its manual to reflect the current state of knowledge.
With support from ASI, “Protect” has recently reformulated and published the cumulative impact assessment Guidance Document also in English so that it can be used worldwide by other Indigenous Peoples in their own contexts. This new document is the result of the Protect Sápmi foundation’s work and implementation experience.
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