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Norway to build wind farm despite UN calls to suspend project over concerns of impact on indigenous herders’ livelihoods

Construction for Norway’s largest onshore wind project, Fosen Wind, began in 2016. One of the affected areas, "Storheia" is of great importance for the local Southern Sami reindeer-herding community. In December 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked Norway to suspend the project so it could examine a complaint that the project would disturb traditional reindeer herding activities of the Sami people.

Norway's Petroleum and Energy Ministry however said it would proceed with the wind park, which is being developed by the Fosen Vind consortium - owned by Statkraft (the Norwegian State Energy Company) and Nordic Wind Power, a consortium of European investors including Credit Suisse and BKW Energy. The Southern Sami people and the Society for Threatened Peoples are calling on Statkraft and Credit Suisse and BKW Energy to stop the project, withdraw the investment and to commit to the principle of “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” (FPIC) in all future investments.

Credit Suisse, BKW Energy and Statkraft commented on the concerns raised in Swiss media reports. More information is available in German here.

 

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Article
31 December 2018

Norway: the construction of a wind power plant on the Sami winter pastures in Storheia

Author: Society for Threatened Peoples

In 2016 construction began of Norway’s largest onshore wind project, Fosen Wind... Completion is scheduled for 2020. The largest of the six wind power plants is to operate in [...] the area called “Storheia”... Storheia is the main winter pasture area of a southern Sami reindeer-herding community... The wind turbines will make it impossible for them to use some 44% of their winter pastures...

In the opinion of the Society for Threatened Peoples, this project would clearly violate international agreements and human rights conventions... Accordingly, the Southern Sami community have filed legal complaints both at a national as well as at an international level. The legal proceedings are pending...

With the campaign entitled “Turbines Need Sami Consent!”, the Southern Sami people and the Society for Threatened Peoples are looking for Statkraft and Nordic Wind Power DA (and CS and BKW, as well), to stop the project and withdraw the investment. In addition, for all future investments, all stakeholders should commit to UN’s “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” (FPIC), thus ensuring that the rights of indigenous people are taken into account and that their participation and decision-making powers are guaranteed. This also applies to renewable energy projects...

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Article
24 December 2018

Norway to build wind farm despite UN calls to suspend project over concerns of impact on indigenous herders’ livelihoods

Author: Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, Reuters

"Norway to build wind farm despite concerns of reindeer herders", 21 December 2018

Norway said [...] it would build a wind park in an area used for reindeer grazing despite U.N. calls to suspend the project to study the impact on the indigenous herders’ livelihoods.

The Petroleum and Energy Ministry said it would proceed with the [...] wind park, which is part of Europe’s largest onshore wind power project being developed by the Fosen Vind consortium...

“After careful consideration, the ministry has concluded that there is no basis for stopping the (building) of the Storheia wind turbines,” the ministry said...

In a Dec. 10 letter, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked Norway to suspend the project so it could examine a complaint that the project would disturb reindeer herding, a traditional activity of the Sami people.

Reindeer herders have said the sight and sound of the turbines in the park, to be built in an area on Norway’s northwest coast used as pastures during winter months, could frighten the animals.

The ministry said Norway tried to address U.N. requests but would disregard it on this occasion after the wind farm had passed all domestic legal checks... [refers to TroenderEnergi, Statkraft and Nordic Wind Power]

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