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Government appointed Sámi Climate Council

Ministry of the Environment
Publication date 24.8.2023 14.09
Press release
Neljä saamen lippua liehuu lippusalossa.
Photo: Eeva Mäkinen/The Sámi Parliament

On 24 August 2023, the Government appointed the Sámi Climate Council for a four-year term. The Sámi Climate Council is a new independent expert body, tasked with bringing the knowledge base and perspectives of the Sámi people into the climate policy processes.

The Council has 12 members who represent different fields of science and holders of traditional Sámi knowledge. The Council will be chaired by Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oulu.

The purpose of this internationally quite unique national body is to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. Provisions on the Sámi Climate Council, now appointed for the first time, are laid down in the reformed Climate Act. 

“As a Sámi and a scientist, I am very happy and proud that the Sámi Climate Council has now been appointed. The Council will be a platform for genuine dialogue between the holders of traditional Sámi knowledge and the scientific community. The Council’s work will be important to find solutions to the challenges posed to the Sámi community by climate change and loss of biodiversity,” says the Council’s chair Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi.

Sámi Climate Council gives statements and creates new knowledge base

The task of the Sámi Climate Council is to give statements on climate policy plans and create knowledge base in support of the preparation of climate policy from the perspective of promoting the Sámi culture.

The researchers represent diverse expertise in different fields of science, including climatology and meteorology, study of indigenous peoples, ecology and environmental economics. The holders of traditional knowledge, in turn, have expertise in matters such as reindeer herding, handicraft, surveys and inventories related to climate change, fishing and collection of traditional knowledge. They also represent the Sámi homeland as a whole, both geographically and with respect to languages. According to the Climate Act, at least half of the Council members must be holders of traditional Sámi knowledge.

The Sámi culture is particularly vulnerable to climate change as the traditional Sámi culture is closely linked to the Arctic nature. The climate is warming much faster in the Arctic regions than elsewhere in the world.

Composition of the Sámi Climate Council 1 September 2023–31 August 2027:

Members representing fields of science

Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi (University of Oulu, chair) 
Hilppa Gregow (Finnish Meteorological Institute)
Rauna Kuokkanen (University of Lapland)
Päivi Meriläinen (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
Markku Ollikainen (Finnish Climate Change Panel) 
Henni Ylänne (University of Eastern Finland)

Holders of traditional Sámi knowledge

Esko Aikio (Utsjoki)
Petra Biret Magga-Vars (Sodankylä)
Antti-Oula Juuso (Enontekiö)
Raija Lehtola (Inari) 
Tuomas Semenoff (Inari)
Jussa Seurujärvi (Inari)


Karin Cederlöf
Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 010
(until 31 August 2023)
[email protected]

Heta-Elena Heiskanen
Senior Specialist
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 380
[email protected]

Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi
Chair of the Sámi Climate Council
Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research CERH, University of Oulu
tel. +358 40 537 1584
[email protected]