Iijoki, a great river flowing through Northern Ostrobothnia in Central Finland is harnessed by hydroelectric power production. Like other river valleys of its kind, the Iijoki basin is characterized by certain problems and needs – one of them being the requirement to restore the vitality of migratory fish stocks. The Iijoki River holds great potential and its value has been recognized but the absence of a shared vision for the future of Iijoki has been slowing down the development work.
From these starting points in March 2016, a new operating model was launched to build a shared vision for the future of the water system and to ensure the commitment of various parties involved. The aim of the process was to create a widely accepted vision of the river basin but, more importantly, to strengthen parties’ commitment to the development of the river while taking different values into consideration and ensuring that the work will continue in the future.
Akordi has been a part of the project by planning the stakeholder engagement in the project and by facilitating the Iijoki River vision advisory board meetings. The advisory board included a wide range of stakeholder groups representing various kinds of interests. From the beginning Akordi – in collaboration with the participants – has been working hard to build trust between actors to enable genuine negotiations also in difficult situations.
The Iijoki River vision is now ready, but the advisory board will continue to work on prioritizing and planning measures and new projects to increase the value of the river. The visioning process has created a solid base for cooperation to continue in the area also in the future.
The visioning process was a part of a larger ‘Ijjoki otva’ project managed by the Council of Oulu Region.