The three-day Arctic Resilience Report (ARR) workshop 29-31 October, 2012, held in Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu in Sámi), in Northern Norway, focused on bringing the assessment of resilience closer to northern realities and also on providing an opportunity for in-depth discussion about the meeting of traditional, local and scientific knowledge in the context of resilience.

Local and global demands

Workshop participants had the opportunity to visit the Triumf family in their lávvo in Biedjovággi to enjoy traditional reindeer meat stew.

The conversation in the lávvo brought out some of the politics of the area and illustrated that local life in western Finnmark is not only local but also closely linked both to global market demands for natural resources such as gold and copper, and national decision making. Climate change will add yet another dimension of rapid change in the region. The workshop featured a mixture of presentations from science and traditional knowledge as well as participatory exercises that gave an opportunity for identification and co-production of knowledge. A comment in the concluding panel highlighted the need to also add decision makers into the co-production process. Or as one workshop participant described one of the objectives with the ARR project:

“We need one plus one plus one to equal five. We must bring together the local people's traditional knowledge, the multi-disciplinary scientists' view, and the decision-makers' views in participatory approaches that build resilience."

Multilingual workshop 

The role of language was also very present. Not only did the conversations include a mixture of Sámi, English and Norwegian, with simultaneous translations. Words and concepts from resilience thinking also met with the language of reindeer herding - participants talked both about social-ecological systems and about the Siida system which plays a central role in the traditional organization of reindeer husbandry. One Sámi woman described one of the challenges facing the Sámi culture as follows: 

"My mother was an illiterate reindeer herder. Since my generation, the Sámi have had an education... but now I worry that my daughter is illiterate, not in Sámi or Norwegian language but in Sámi knowledge."

Arctic Resilience Report

The workshop was jointly organized by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the ARR, which is led by Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The ARR is an Arctic Council project that aims to better understand the risks of large threshold changes in the Arctic and the capacities of adaptation and transformation. The Arctic is changing and developing rapidly in many ways. Assessing resilience is a step towards preparing to live with changes that will be different in both size and time compared to those experienced in the past. The project will deliver an interim report in May 2013 in connection with the closure of the Swedish chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

More about the Arctic Resilience Report:

The workshop was recorded by the Arctic Portal and presentations will soon be available online.

Photo: Sami lavvo life, by Stockholm Environment Institute.