Unesco Green Citizens

Snowchange Näätämö River Sámi Co-Management Project

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Project begin: 09/09/2010

Tero Mustonen has created Snowchange, a unique co-operator, working closely with local fishermen in Finland, to ensure the safety of their practices and create innovative fishing methods without abandoning their ancestral practices and damaging rivers, lakes and the northern ice pack.
Guided by the various traditions of the North, and being community-based, with a strong Russian Indigenous focus, Snowchange is a unique organization. Funding of Snowchange comes from a vast range of funders, from NSF, various foundations and funds, to Ministries of Finland and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Snowchange is a strictly not-for-profit, independent Co-op without any political affiliations.

The project also takes into consideration the ecological restoration of rivers and lakes damaged by overfishing or other human activities. By educating the fisher peoples about the impact of climate change, they can collaborate with them in creating innovative ways of fishing without forsaking their ancestral practices and damaging northern rivers, lakes an ice floe.


Leading organisation: Snowchange Cooperative
Covered Countries: Finland
Theme: Biodiversity, Hydrology, Indigenous and Local Knowledge
Sub-themes: Climate change, Environment, Forests and desertification, Forests and desertification, Groundwater management, Knowledge sharing, Natural resource management, Rural areas, Sustainable lifestyles, Water resource management
Selection: 2020
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Project needs
Digital communication
Equipment supply
Financial partners
Monitoring and evaluation
Sponsorship/ Philanthropy

Initial Problem

The negative impact that climate change has on the areas greatly endangered the livelihood of local communities as well as the biodiversity living around Näätämö river.

The positive impacts that the project has made:

Snowchange succeded in the ecological restoration of river Vainosjoki as well as the restoration of forest lots in the northern regions of Europe.

By educating the fisher peoples about the impact of climate change, they collaborate hand in hand to create innovative ways of fishing without forsaking ancestral practices, ensuring the preservation of local knowledge and of the natural environment.

The impacted areas and population:

The inhabitants and the environment of the Skolt Sámi home area in Lapland can now enjoy more sustainable practices. The ecological restoration of the Vainosjoki river is completed after 5 years of work and the surrounding areas are back to health.

Monitoring efforts are underway to ensure that the work done until today is not carelessly undone in the future.

The obstacles and challenges

As a project with the aim to restore areas and ensure the sustainable lifestyle of its inhabitants, a collaboration with state entities is necessary, however, dialogues with them can often be slow and grinding

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