For generations, indigenous Sami people in Northern Finland have been demanding for attention on their rights as indigenous peoples, based on the International Labour Organisation's convention for indigenous and tribal peoples (ILO 169). The Sami peoples' rights are regulated in the Sami Parliament Act 974/1995 and the Sami people have a status of an indigenous people in the Finnish Constitution, Section 17 SS, 731/1999. The ratification of the ILO 169 Convention continues to be one of the objectives of the Finnish Government (prime minister Sanna Marin).
To promote the ratification of the ILO 169 Convention the Government of Finland launched a comparative study on how the Sami peoples' rights in Finland. The goal of the study was to gather background information to form basis to the ratification of the ILO 169 Convention. The study showed Sami people's rights should be reinforced to comply with the Constitution and international law.
The Unesco 2005 Convention recognizes the importance of traditional knowledge as a source of intangible and material wealth, and in particular the knowledge systems of indigenous peoples, and its positive contribution to sustainable development, as well as the need for its adequate protection and promotion. The Convention also recognizes that the diversity of cultural expressions, including traditional cultural expressions, is an important factor that allows individuals and peoples to express and to share with others their ideas and values.
Finland is working actively to improve the involvement of indigenous peoples' representatives in the work of the Organizations of the United Nations. Finland contributed 15 000 euro to the WIPO voluntary fund for the participation of indigenous peoples in the WIPO IGC Committee. The Finnish Parliament approved the Act implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity from 2010 ("Act on Genetic Resources", 393/2016) and the EU Genetic Resources Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 511/2014). The Act requires that the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources is based respecting of prior any informed consent (PIC) rules established in the country of origin of the resources or knowledge. It also includes a system through which the Sami people of Finland would have the chance to be involved in the process of providing access to and use as well as get benefit-sharing when Sami traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources are used in research in Finland. The Finnish Copyright Act (1961/404) affords some protection of performances of expressions of folklore including from the Sami peoples. Any additional IP- related protection within the IP field will be considered based on the results of the negotiations on the international level, in particular at IGC committee at the World intellectual property organization WIPO.
The new government will continue working towards the ratification of the ILO. The Government of Finland has also established a commission for the truth and reconciliation process in Sami affairs. The aim is to investigate and learn from events in history initiated and this will be done in cooperation with the Sami Parliament and the Skolt Village Assembly.
The co-operation between Nordic countries and Canada have increased in particular on regional level during the period of 2016-2019 via workshops dedicated to educating arctic indigenous people in intellectual property, and culture and IP experts in indigenous culture and traditional lifestyle. There are also possibilities to use the framework of the Unesco ICH to present their indigenous culture, keeping the linked cultural and gender specific sensitivities in mind. In Finland, two studies have been also conducted to improve the understanding of various relevant questions for further study in the field of copyright in order to address the issue of protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
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National Museum, National Board of Antiquities
The main recommendations from the projects are that existing frameworks may provide for protection for indigenous peoples' rights. Possible policy areas to explore include IP, cultural heritage, human rights and environmental frameworks for protection. It is always important to as a first step, find the gaps in existing frameworks before developing new solutions. This approach requires an inclusive approach, that ensures active participation of representatives of indigenous peoples. This may entail financial support and capacity building while respecting specific internal structures of the indigenous peoples for protecting cultural heritage that may differ from approaches approved for the national level.