Integrating traditional working methods as a base for dialogue

Published: 04 October 2020
Last edited: 06 May 2021

The Laponia Process has used several traditional governance working methods. For instance, Rádedibme or councils have a central function in the management. These are open meetings held on important issues with the local population and diverse stakeholders, where local viewpoints and knowledge are expressed and taken into consideration for management. Searvelatnja means “learning arena” and is based on dialogue and learning. On a conceptual level this means that Laponia should be an arena where everyone can participate, a meeting place for several generations, cultures, languages and perspectives. By working together we learn from each other and share each other’s knowledge. How Laponia is to be managed is an ongoing process, where an unpretentious approach is adopted, in order to create a local management that integrates the interests of all parties concerned. Oassebielráde or Council of the Parties is the annual meeting for all the entities that manage the World Heritage property. This meeting does not appoint a committee: the parties themselves decide who will represent them in Laponiatjuottjudus. However, consensus is required when electing the chairperson. Consensus is sought as a process of joint decision-making where everyone must be in agreement before any decision is made. 


Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

  • Continuity of traditional both Sámi and non-Sámi systems of organization.
  • Inclusion of Sámi communities and openness to use Sámi traditional knowledge.
  • Openness and respect toward each other and the cultural background the representatives have.

Lessons learned

  • If not every stakeholder is invited from the beginning, there will not be any solution. It is not possible to present ready-made solutions to one stakeholder and think they will accept it. Every question and challenges that arise must be managed together. 
  • Have a common goal: for the stakeholders in the Laponia Process, the common goal was to find a solution how to manage the World Heritage. The goal must be clear, so every stakeholder knows what the goal is.
  • Listening and learning from each other. It is about to take and give all the time. Even if people do not act the way one is used to, one has to accept it and hopefully learn something from it. 
  • It is important that the representatives from each stakeholder is giving the right message to the stakeholders' group he or she represents, otherwise people may be disappointed in the long run.
  • There is no meaning in rushing through a process like the Laponia process.

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