100 million roubles (over $ 1.3 million) will be allocated in addition to funding a five-year programme designed to protect the original habitat and to support traditional activities of the Indigenous Minorities of the North in Russia, according to the program’s donor, Norilsk Nickel Company. The implementation of the programme has been driven by the agreement signed in 2020 with three organisations representing over 90 percent of the Indigenous population of the Russian North and most of the Indigenous population of the Taimyr Peninsula.
The programme includes 42 projects designed to support traditional activities of Indigenous Peoples of Taimyr, including housing projects, medical projects, as well as educational, cultural and sports projects. As part of the program a total of 2 billion roubles will be allocated for these purposes.
This was announced by Nikolay Utkin, Senior Vice President and Director of Nornickel’s Polar Division, during a meeting of the Coordination Council of Taimyr Indigenous Minorities.
The event took place on the eve of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
“The programme has been ongoing, and it has already demonstrated initial results. First shipments of construction materials for settlements have arrived. Exploration of pastures for the development of reindeer herding has begun in the Avam tundra. With the support of the Company, for the first time young residents of Taimyr completed a year of training at the Norilsk State Industrial Institute. Young people in need of Taimyr settlements received the keys to flats and household appliances from the Company. An additional 100 million roubles will be allocated to similar projects as early as this year. I am sure that next year we will continue complementing this programme in order to provide direct assistance to communities, hunters and fishermen,” Utkin said.
Earlier it was reported that representatives of the indigenous peoples of the extreme north of Taimyr signed a cooperation agreement with the world’s largest producer of palladium and nickel – Norilsk Nickel. The new program, which expires in 2024, includes a wide range of different initiatives aimed at protecting natural habitats and supporting traditional activities of indigenous peoples, as well as financing housing, medical, infrastructure, tourism, educational and cultural projects.
Valery Vengo, a deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Krasnoyarsk Territory, who took part in the coordination council, stressed that the support programme for the Indigenous Minorities of the North is a remarkable example of a public-private partnership.
Valery Vengo commented: “There are 35 regions in Russia populated by Indigenous peoples. Of these, only three regions have signed similar agreements. Taimyr is one of these territories. Nornickel has been cooperating with the Indigenous Minorities of the North for more than 30 years. The experience of such partnership is an excellent example which should be replicated on Russian and international platforms, wherever it is appropriate. Krasnoyarsk Territory welcomes all positive steps that the company has been making. Our northern diaspora will help in every possible way to promote the ideas of the agreement’s and its implementation.”
The Russian company NorNickel is a global leader in the production of the mineral nickel. Taimyr Peninsula has been the homeland for indigenous peoples of the Arctic for generations, and are the principal sites for the company’s activities. Small indigenous peoples of Taimyr have preserved the traditional way of life, culture and economy of the northern peoples, including reindeer husbandry, hunting, fishing and gathering. Healthy and productive ecosystems, both on land and water, are the basis of indigenous peoples’ culture and identity, supported by the Company.
Regional organizations are also positive about the support of the Company.
Grigory Dyukarev, Chairman of the Association of Indigenous Minorities of Taimyr, Krasnoyarsk Territory commented: “What is surprising is how promptly Nornickel responds to the needs of Indigenous people. Two months ago, our compatriots made their requests, and today we have found out that they have been fulfilled, while an additional 100 million roubles has been allocated for these purposes. We can see that the Company is responding to our requests. The programme envisaged by the agreement has been generating genuine interest among representatives of Indigenous people from other regions. The existing partnership has become possible due to Nornickel’s understanding of the role of Indigenous peoples in the territories of its operations and the importance of interaction with them.”