Finland promotes food safety and health among northern indigenous peoples in Russia

Finland, currently chairing the Arctic Council, has allocated FIM 700 000 to a programme aiming at improving food safety and health among indigenous peoples in the northern regions of Russia. The promotion of the project correspons with the Finnish priorities during its Arctic presidency.

The project, initiated by the Arctic Council, seeks to improve food safety and health care among the indigenous peoples in the northern regions of Russia. It was compiled in cooperation with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of the Arctic Council and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON).

The USD 2.7-million project will be funded mainly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with additional funding from the member countries of the Arctic Council and various financial institutions. The project is currently being launched and will span over the next three years. The FIM 700 000 allocation is Finland's first contribution to the project.

The project consists of four research areas in the northern regions of Russia. One of these areas is located in the Kola peninsula and another in the delta of the Petshora River where Sami and Nenets, respectively, live. Both areas are also targeted by the EU's Northern Dimension programme. The project includes a survey of peristent toxic substances and their accumulation in food chains. The project will assist indigenous peoples to avoid hazardous food.

The Arctic Council with special status for indigenous peoples is a high-level cooperation forum focusing primarily on environmental challenges facing the arctic region and on issues dealing with sustainable development.

More information: Ambassador Heikki Puurunen, Unit for the Northern Dimension, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel: +358-9-13415279, and Chief Inspector Outi Mähönen, Unit for International Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, tel: +358-16-3294444.