are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
Unesco MOST CCPP with fundings from NORA (The Nordic Atlantic cooperation)
and from The Norwegian Research Council invited in the fall of 1997 to
the conference in Isafjordur, Iceland. The invitation was sent to representatives
from the MOST CCPP communities, representatives from regional administrations
and researchers in the MOST CCPP network from the Nordic countries, North-West
Russia and Canada. The conference was opened by Nils Aarsæther, Jørgen
Ole Bærenholdt, MOST coordinators, Kristinn Jon Jonasson, Isafjordur
mayor. Carlos Milani, Unesco MOST concluded the first day by a speech on
Governance and Globalization.
During the second of the five conference days there were presentations from 13 communities/ regional authorities in the MOST CCP Project. The representatives gave short presentations on their community today, and what they consider to be the major future challenges:
The third day of the conference was dedicated to the theme "Perspectives on coping processes in communities" and presentations were made by the following:
The MOST CCPP steering committee had a board meeting Friday the 20. of March 20.00- 22.30 where Carlos Milani, UNESCO MOST, Paris, also took part, and gave information from Unesco, Paris.
The conference participants went to visit two businesses in Isafjordur, Pols Rafeindavorur
(Pols electronics, wich produce computerised scales and equipment for fish processing) and Básafell shrimp factory. The group also went to the community Flateyri which is part of Isafjardarbær (Isafjördur Municipality). In Flatyri we visited Basafell saltfish. Dorothee Lubecki, Tourism Consultant at The Economic and Regional Development Agency of the Westfjords made a presentation on Isafjordurs work on ecotourism. Representatives and researchers from Labrador, Arjeplog and Isafjordur established a group to follow up this contact.
The conference had all together 59 participants from 11 countries. In addition, people from The Association of the Local Authorities in the West Fjords, The Economic and Regional Development Agency of the Westfjords and journalists both from Isafjordur and national media attended parts of the conference. The conference was covered in local and national television and radio several times, and S.Tuulentie made a nice article from the conference in the local paper in Lapland. We appreciated that representatives from NORA, The Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Science, and The Norwegian UNESCO liason committee participated in the conference.
Snorri Grimsson gave an very interesting lecture about
"The abandoned Hornstrandir region". A local choir "Songfjelagid ur Nedsta"
("The Tarhouse singers") gave vocal introductions to the local and historical
life in the region.
Aim of the conferenceThe aim of the conference was to make an arena for discussion and cooperation between people from the local communities and the researchers in the MOST CCP Project. Part of this was conducted by informing each other about what we see as main problems, challenges and coping strategies for the future life in the North. There were some commonalities which emerged around the main themes to which we have frequently returned. (thanks to Richard Apostle that produced the following thematic summary)
Since the conference was in Isafjordur, the examples tended, not surprisingly, to focus on fish. From Vagur we had the most striking example of "modern" failure. What was once the "most well equipped plant in Europe" is now an industrial "white elephant" which has been replaced by six small plants (which in total account for a smaller overall job pool). Their maps and pictures raise the question of sustainable development in a very sharp way. Vagur, and other, similar communities cannot support inflexible, large-scale structures, particularly if they are controlled from outside ( The Klaksvik experience raises some interesting contrasts on the importance of local networks).
In Båtsfjord they address the same problem from the other side. The mayor insistence on having a population base of 2500 for Batsfjord is less connected to clubs and associations than to the importance of networks for numbers and diversity in constructing economic networks
The representative from Lower North Shore, Canada raises the interesting possibility that the inshore fisherfolk in the Strait area anticipated the general northern cod failure in 1992.
from Digby Neck we herard that a basic problem associated with the decline of the groundfishery in the area has been a general inability to capture "rents", or collect meaningful tax revenues, for the resources which will stay in the local are. The "Gordian Knot" for Nova Scotia is the untouchability of the offshore quotas. The offshore can't fish them efficiently, but wants to control, and reap profits from, the midshore and inshore effort needed to capture the resources.
The question of "consciously" choosing "less efficient" economic projects
was also raised. This might be too self -deprecating. Alternatively, Carlos
Milani talked, on the first day, of "social efficiency" and "economic accountability".
These terms tend to be more accurate, positive descriptors for choosing
projects which may lack narrow, shortrun economic efficiency. The whole
question of "efficiency" seems to come weighted with neoclassical economic
connotations which usually concede the debate before it has begun.
John Hull pointed out that ecotourism is indeed coming to the Poles,
but the tourists are coming to fragile environments. Further, it is debatable
how much of this business can be captured by local business. He also showed
that this business offer lower wage service jobs, predominantly for women.
C) High Tech Work
This kind of employment is to some considerable degree tied into the
education of local youth, and their retention by the local communities.
In conversation, the floor manager at one of the local businesses we visited,
admitted that he was moving to Reykjavik because his wife wanted to go
home; his predecessor had left within the past three years for the same
kind of reason.
D) Oil and Gas
Although we had mentions of forestry, hydro electric power and mining,
there was little discussion of this important topic. The representative
from Commettee of Industrial Development in Murmansk Region with map had
all sorts of lines on it indicating gas flows South and West. How much
of the gas stays in the area to promote local initiatives? How much rent
goes to the region of origin? (Nova Scotia has just concluded a bad deal
for the Sable gas field which will see considerable gas flowing into the
American northeast with little local employment or industrial spinoffs).
Luzin of Kola Science center forcefully pointed out: The hard edge of
globalization, if it exists, is the global reach of transportation and
telecommunications. Dickinson from Canada asked how we can create counter-communications,
and he spoke of some local Digby experiments in computer access and networks.
Binkley raised the question of exchanging "local knowledge" within these
systems of communications. And there were pointed out that there are limits
to localism, and that we may need to look at other "localisms" across the
Carlos Milani started the discussion by indicating that much of this discussion is premised on the breakup of the welfare state, even in Scandanavia. Gestur Gudmundsson argued that the strong polarization we are seeing in stratification terms extends into "primitive accumulation" in the areas of knowledge, skills, and innovation and Binkley suggested that there is a threat to the social fabric from new and merged industries.
On gender dimensions, we heard from Arjeplog in Sweeden and Salla in
Finland that men are having trouble adapting the older ones from a commitment
to a "macho" ethic, the younger ones from a sense of aimlessnes ("backroom
boys") when many young women are leaving for education and better economic
opportunities. On the other side of this coin, Anne Dalheim proposed that
the Saami religion and culture can be a very positive integrative force,
and this was followed up in academic terms about the social construction
of "Lapishness". There were also discussions on the meaning and role of
local identity in coping processes. A more positive self-consciousness
and knowledge of the advantages of the region were asked for.
From Arjeplog this one was answered most directly by saying that they support people and communities who "want to do something". They're not interested in groups who want three- or four-month holidays. You "must create a special way", but this can be "very difficult".
The neo-liberal state is not a friend of peripheral regions. From Isafjordur it was said, as a understatement, "Government policy is not friendly to remote regions". In Canada they have the same experience stated as: The Canadian federal and provincial governments are "downloading bigtime", and that Labrador was hurt by the dependency which came with Confederation. And it was also argued, in a slightly different way, that Greenlandic "municipal jobs are not related to economic activity".
Dependency is the downside legacy of the corporatist state. Sveinbjordsdottir spoke of parts of Newfoundland being "too used to being dependent". Heilmann commented on the shortcomings of "homerule" government in Greenland, and from Faroes they argued that modernist development stategies in the Faroes are partially a function of colonial connections.
You need to defend what you have. Hoovgard from Faroe Island suggested
that Klaksvik was able to partially resist the neoFordist consensus
of the 1990s by building on perhaps unique collective action traditions
from the "third sector". And Milani spoke of new forms of governance which
emphasized process over system, negotiation over dominance, and the joining
of public and private, as well as the formal and the informal.
From Russia it was pointed out that the Barents regions is a coherent
geographic region, while we from Finland heard about the more permeable
boundaries in this region. Brock's notion of a "community of interest"
suggested that as one moves west across the North Atlantic, the links become
more virtual, but perhaps more vital. Otterstad stressed the need to acknowledge
the diversity of values and political alternatives. One needs to be continually
vigilant about "shifting winds".
On processes of participation and further cooperation in the MOST CCPP
On saturday - the fourth day - Amdam presented approaches to processes of participation.
List of themes sentral in the group discussion on saturday:
- viability: size and distance
- differatiation: emphasis on women and multi-culturalism
- how to maintain identity in a globalized world?
- active instead of passive
- how to benefit from information technology
- contributions on collecting of information
- identifying problems
On the last - fifth - day, Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt was summing up the conference in the following points:
1. What is the problem?
The conference focused on problems of depopulation, the restructuring of local economies as well as decentralization. The cases presented by both practitioners and researchers show the importance of local control of four types of "capital", if localities should be successful in coping with the problems mentioned:
2. Globalization how?
In the reality of the localities represented, globalization is primary a trend due to developments in four fields:
- information/data transmission (which is something different from knowledge
- "cultural industry", amusement etc.
- management of natural resources (like ITQ’s)
3. Coping strategies
As written in the chapter 1 of the first CCPP book (Coping strategies in the North, Local Practices in the context of global restructuring) ,coping strategies can be understood as guiding principles for construction of community and entrepreneurship characterized by
- collective action on a face-to-face base
- active and meaningful practice forming identity
4. CCPP results expected
Researchers cannot and should not produce ready-prepared solutions or blueprints, but they can do a lot in presenting different possible scenarios adjusted to regional and local conditions - thereby transmitting ideas built on experience from other localities. Researchers should be able to articulate alternative development strategies. But of course, the goals have to be decided locally. Research results expected for the practitioners from the CCPP comparative case-studies are:
From the discussions several practical conclusions were suggested as guidelines for the future work:
The Secretariat will concentrate on:
1. Information- network building
Information through the general international news-letter (paper) - and organization of more specific e-mail-lists. At the moment a list for researchers exist. A further list for practioners will be added - and we will also support lists for subgroups. List entry will be open and announced at the MOST CCPP homepage. At the moment we will invite you to subscribe to the MOST CCPP Network mailing list. This mailing list will be broad and include practioners, researchers and other interested in MOST CCPP related subjects.
To make a contribution to the list
2. Publication of research
We are planning a MOST CCPP second book based on some of the contributions from the Isafjordur conference, and some additional contributions will be invited. This book will address more explicitly the concept of coping strategies and case-studies reflecting the framework and manual suggested in the first book. The deadline will be first of November 1998. We will work on getting an international publisher for this edition.
Until then- you will have the opportunity to get some of the paper drafts
by contacting the secretary.
3. Supporting research work
For 1998-1999 the main work will be to support the case-studies through:
4. Dialogue Conference in the year 2000
Organising a new dialogue conference with practioners in the year 2000
- in a team-work between selected reseachers and practioners. The conference
will include presentation of research results so far. The Murmansk Region
has been suggested as the location for this conference.
The evaluating scheme returned show that the participants were very
satisfied with the conference and the opportunity to listen to, and to
meet people from other parts of the Circumpolar North. For many who visited
Iceland for the first time as well as those who have been there before,
it was a great experience to come to Isafjordur and Flateyri. We may see
the weather conditions and the trouble it caused as part of the experience
with periphery communities! At the secretat we still try to cope with the
extra cost of this experience, we do hope that all participants had a nice
trip home, afterall. The evaluation scheme gave some suggestions for the
further work in the MOST CCPP, which we are thankful for.
The financial situation
The account from the Conference shows a small surplus.
Visit the Unesco MOST Clearing House on Internet http://www.unesco.org/most
Have a nice summer!
Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt - Coordinator
Find enclosed: The MOST CCPP book and brochure
To MOST Clearing House Homepage