Iijoki River Visioning Process

Iijoki is a great river flowing through Northern Ostrobothnia. The river is harnessed by hydroelectric power production and it’s characterized by similar problems and needs as other river valleys of its kind. One of the common factors is a requirement to recover the vitality of migratory fish stocks. It has been recognized that the river would have great potential and it could support the development of the whole area if the water area would be developed jointly with all the key stakeholders. However, taking major steps in developing the use of the river has been difficult in the past and jointly shared vision of Iijoki river’s future has not been found.

From these starting points in March 2016, a new operating model was launched to build a shared vision of 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 the different values into consideration and ensuring the work continuity in the future.

Akordi has been a part of the project by planning a participatory process and facilitating the Iijoki river vision advisory board meetings. Advisory board was gathered from a wide range of stakeholder groups representing various kinds of interests. From the beginning the efforts has been made to build trust between actors to enable genuine negotiations also in difficult situations.

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 good base to continue cooperation in the area.

Visioning process was a part of a larger Ijjoki otva project managed by the Council of Oulu Region.