New Forest ‘Land Grab’ Act Passes in Finnish Parliament

30 March 2016. By Tero Mustonen and Hal Rhoades.

Despite fierce opposition from a large part of the Finnish public, all Sámi reindeer herding cooperatives, the Snowchange Cooperative and a large international coalition of groups, this afternoon Finland’s much criticised new Forestry Act passed in the Finnish Parliament.

(Finnish boreal forest: Photo: Snowchange Cooperative)

(Finnish boreal forest. Photo: Snowchange Cooperative)

The Act transfers power over Sub-Arctic and North Boreal areas of Finland region further into the hands of state authorities. It opens up 2.2 million hectares of water systems and 360,000 hectares of land, mostly in the Sámi Home Area, to economic uses such as railway construction, and the potential expansion of mining, forestry and other industries.

In today’s vote 108 of Finland’s 200 MPs voted for the Act, 64 against, and 3 abstained from the vote. The new Act will take effect when signed by President Sauli
Niinistö. This is expected to happen on 15th April, 2016.

Speaking after the vote, Tero Mustonen, a scientist from the Snowchange Cooperative said that the Finnish Parliament’s decision to pass the new Act represents “a dark hour for Finland, for the Arctic and for climate change.”

“The forests this newly passed law will now condemn to clear cuts act as crucial carbon sinks for the world, in addition to being crucial for the Sámi. In this period of rapid climate change in the Arctic it is imperative that these northern ecosystems are preserved intact – they are central to the Indigenous peoples’ survival and a source of their knowledge in this new reality. The Forestry Act in its current form will cause severe negative impacts to Sámi society as we know it,” says Mustonen.

In the wake of the Finnish Parliament’s decision, the Snowchange Cooperative and  Sámi groups thanked the international supporters who have acted in solidarity with them and promised to fight on.

“We will be contemplating next steps with the Sámi Council and other Sámi
actors over the coming days to find ways to stop this land grab, one of the largest in European history, against Indigenous peoples and nature”, said Mustonen.

 

 

Related Posts

Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Snowchange: Don’t Lose Hope for the Planet

Snowchange: Don’t Lose Hope for the Planet

Barack Obama bans oil and gas drilling in most of Arctic and Atlantic oceans
Major Arctic resilience report includes YLNM member Snowchange’s Näätämö project
The Sami’s Näätämö River Revival: Hope in the midst of Finland’s extractive tsunami
Restore, Reclaim, Rebirth: Early Victories and Indigenous Resurgence in the Eurasian Arctic
Life in the Cyclic World: Traditional Knowledge Compendium from Eurasia
New Forest ‘Land Grab’ Act Passes in Finnish Parliament
Take Action to prevent the destruction of Sami Forest Lands in Finland
Finland: State Forestry Company About to Seize Control of Sámi Indigenous Key Old Growth Forests
Ditch Coal

Ditch Coal

COP21: Call for international recognition of rights of nature and communities
Shell leaves the Arctic!

Shell leaves the Arctic!

Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
Sámi People and allies force Irish mining company out of their territory
Mining An Imminent Threat to Local and Indigenous Communities of European North
Honouring the River: How Hard-Rock Mining Impacts Tribal Communities
Understanding the Legal Framework for Mining in Canada
Against Arctic Drilling – Save the Arctic

Against Arctic Drilling – Save the Arctic

  • Written on: 26 September 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *