State of existing natural resources: A detailed description of the current state of existing ecosystem services in terms of its natural resources – water, soil, biodiversity – at the local level and their relationships at spatial and temporal scales.
Characterisation of stresses: An overall characterisation of the typical environmental stresses including scarcity of water, land degradation, overgrazing, irrational cultivation and reliance on agriculture, social stresses and social services deficiency, and urbanisation dynamics and its effect on local inhabitants’ traditions and culture.
Description of indigenous, adaptive and innovative approaches: The adaptation of the local communities to the conditions in the key area and its hinterland and whether such adaptations are sustainable in the long-term was assessed in the field through interviews and observations. Various management approaches and technologies – indigenous, adaptive and innovative – were considered, including water resource management practices, management of rangelands and grazing patterns, soil degradation identification, land suitability for agriculture, etc.
An Environmental Information System (EIS) based on a participatory geo-information system (GIS) is suggested to administer the required master database of the project. It is structured to manage all forms of information, of spatial (base maps, satellite imagery and the like), and non-spatial character (texts, tables, graphs, statistics and the like) from existing literature, previous projects, field observation, data analyses and their interpretations. This will facilitate the data archiving, analysis and query as well as combination of the scientific, administrative and social data obtained for the local inhabitants in one common repository. Implementing this GIS-database will enable comparative evaluation of study sites and dissemination of information amongst the partner institutions. The detailed comprehensive methodology of the project is described in the report of the UN University (UNU) in 2003.
One of the largest projects covering traditional knowledge issues has been launched by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). This initiative has been supported by UNESCO, UNDP, GEF, governmental and non-governmental organisations for global recognition, preservation and sustainable development of the Globally-Important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS Project).
Such systems comprise mainly crop or mobile animal-based agriculture which optimise resource use and mitigate the risk of overgrazing. These ingenious systems are well adapted to highly variable ecosystems, in particular, with significant climatic and seasonal variations. Such systems are intertwined with carefully adapted social institutions for access to common resources and ecosystems management. Deep knowledge of the dynamics of the ecosystems in the territory with highly specialised ecological niches is the basis for these lands’ traditional management.
Such outstanding and highly specific traditional management systems, or cultures have co-evolved over centuries with the landscape and its components. They are noteworthy for their contribution to biodiversity conservation, sustainable land and water and landscape management and the provision of food, livelihood security and quality of life. Many provide globally important goods and services well beyond their geographical limits.
Under the current circumstances from the perspective of the developing communities and their agricultural systems it is not so important to dwell upon the limits of applicability of local knowledge systems versus scientific knowledge. What is more interesting and relevant is how to develop approaches that successfully integrate the comparative strengths of both types of systems. These attempts need to be participatory and inclusive by definition and would have implications for the role of the expert, moving from a provider of information to a nexus between scientific knowledge system and local communities.
One more step in this direction is to be made under the European Landscape Convention. It is aiming at the protection of the rural landscapes, as well as local land use practices and management systems. In the Guide on Rural Heritage, prepared under the Convention, the local practices, traditions, knowledge and technologies are considered as most important heritage items. The entire document is earmarked by an idea of the heritage protection, in particular preservation of the living heritage as a most important component of the sustainable development.
Arctic Council: http://www.arctic-council.org
Commission of the European Communities: http://europa.eu.int/comm
Monitoring of oil development in traditional indigenous lands of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug Winfried K. Dallmann, Norwegian Polar Institute, and Vladislav V. Peskov, Association “Yasavey”
This project proposal was proposed for funding to the council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR), Indigenous Peoples’ Programme, in early 2004. The Council could not allocate any funding due to the current lack of available means, but expressed interest and recommended strongly to pursue other funding possibilities. A subsequent application to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was declined. WWF Norway has signalled interest of cooperation and minor economic support. An application to the Nordic Council of Ministers is underway, while it is also intended to include the project into the agenda of the International Polar Year.
Background and motivation
The Association of Nenets People “Yasavey” has documented numerous violations of Russian environmental law by oil companies in various areas of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO). Reindeer pastures have been ― and are continually ― destroyed and polluted To collect and make easily available data on this development, an Internet-based electronic GIS database showing these activities is envisaged.
Aims and objectives
1. To produce a GIS map database to the scale of 1:1 mill. of the NAO providing information on
- indigenous settlements and traditional land use areas;
Contact person: Vladislav Peskov (President of “Yasavey”, leader of RAIPON’s Information Center); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
3. Possible participant: Nenets Information and Analytical Centre (NIAC), department of NAO administration. Participation is not yet clarified, although steps have been taken to involve NIAC in the project. NIAC’s participation would facilitate cooperation with the ongoing project “Nenets Environmental Database”. The project would gain from NIAC’s participation, but could be carried out without them.
Duration: ca. 1 year from the start of funding.
Within phase 1 a GIS geodatabase will be established. Easily accessible thematic data will be collected and entered. Easily accessible means that the data are contained in available documents, or available from analysing one set of satellite images. The resulting preliminary database will be made available on the Internet as an interactive map database. A series of paper plots covering the data of the GIS database will be also be made and issued together with a written project report.
Duration: ca. 1 additional year.
Within phase 2, staff of Yasavey will undertake travel to relevant communities within the NAO in order to get up-to-date, local information on the communities and oil-related activities. Data will be added into the database. One or two sets of satellite images, taken one year later (spring and/or autumn), will be analysed in order to monitor changes in selected areas with expected new activities. A series of paper plots covering the updated dataset of the GIS database will be made and issued together with a second project report.
After the second phase, monitoring and data supply into the database will continue at a rate dependent on available funding. No further funding would probably still allow to add continuously available data into the database. Annual satellite monitoring will only continue with further funds.
Besides standard geographical data, the database will contain information as listed below. The database allows to switch on or off various thematic layers showing the items in the table below by point and line symbols, colours or shading. The preliminary setup (see table below) will be evaluated during the project. In addition, relevant photos will be linked to respective localities.
The language of the Internet GIS database is English. The possibility of a bilingual (English and Russian) database will be considered. The project reports will be written in English and Russian (translated by the participants’ staff).
We do not consider it necessary to list a detailed budget here. The overall budget is calculated to be ca. US$50,000 for phase 1 and US$40,000 for phase 2.