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The Protection of the Culturally and Spiritually Important Landscapes of Arctic Indigenous Peoples under the Convention on Biological Diversity and First Experiences from the Application of the Akwé:Kon Guidelines in Finland

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Culturally and spiritually important landscapes in the Arctic region express the interconnectedness of Indigenous Peoples with the natural and spiritual environment, and their preservation has been, and continues to be, essential to Indigenous People’s identity and traditional livelihoods. During the last decade, the importance of cultural landscapes for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity has received increasing legal attention. One of the international legal instruments developed are the Akwé:Kon Voluntary Guidelines, under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). This paper elaborates on the worldwide first implementation process of the Akwé:Kon Guidelines in Finland, and draws on first experiences made during the testing case of these guidelines in the management process of the Hammastunturi Wilderness Area, in order to investigate to what extent culturally and spiritually important landscapes of Arctic Indigenous Peoples are recognized internationally, especially under the CBD and related international agreements and jurisprudence, and in the national context of Finland, in particular at the local level of the Hammastunturi Wilderness Area.


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