Indigenous peoples’ right to natural resources: reflections from the Arctic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Arctic energy development has considerable effects on the area’s future, but also globally the growing need for new resources is forcing us to explore new territories. At the same time, the Arctic is largely inhabited by indigenous peoples and has special environmental vulnerabilities that can contribute to impacts on Arctic indigenous peoples. Norms of consultation with indigenous peoples thus have a particular importance in Arctic contexts. Arctic countries like Norway and Denmark have ratified the only legally binding international convention dedicated to indigenous peoples, the International Labour Convention No. 169 (hereafter ILO 169) concerning the rights of indigenous peoples. Finland is considering the ratification, while its neighbouring country Sweden seems to have dropped the idea, for now at least. The main challenge is related to land rights, especially the ownership and possession of traditionally occupied lands (Article 14). However, a more contemporary issue seems to be the exploration and exploitation of natural and mineral resources for the growing needs of global markets. This is often made in areas where ownership questions are unresolved or areas that are used for the purposes of traditional livelihoods. ILO 169 states that exploitation of natural resources should not take place in indigenous territories without the peoples’ prior, free and informed consent. They have the right to a fair share of the benefits from such activities in their lands, and the right to just and fair compensation. According to ILO 169, these rights should be settled through appropriate negotiations and proper agreements with the indigenous peoples concerned. This article will explore the participatory mechanisms and gives an example from Finland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable management of natural resources
Subtitle of host publication legal instruments and approaches
EditorsHelle Tegner Anker, Birgitte Egelund Olsen
Place of PublicationCambridge
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print) 978-1-78068-759-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Environmental Law Forum series

Field of science

  • Law

Citation for this output