Challenging coexistence in the north
- It is huge uncertainty connected to what`s happening up north. The indigenous peoples` opinions are not taken into account as often as we would have wanted. This is a great problem, says the President of the Norwegian Sami Parliament, Mr. Egil Olli.
Indigenous peoples must be consulted
He is one of the participants at the seminar arranged by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the Working group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Region. Scientists, representatives from the mining industry, local, regional and national government officials were also present at the seminar.
Many sensitive, difficult and important question and challenges facing member states, indigenous peoples and business entities in the Barents region were adressed at the seminar.
-We face a great risk of evolving conflicts between states, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders in this bonanza of oil, natural gas, minerals and plentiful waters in the Arctic. The indigenous peoples in the Arctic have to find the equilibrium in this boom and tackle these challenges, hopefully in co-operation with the national states, business entities, UN and other, regional and international bodies, says Lars Anders Baer, Chairman of the Working group of Indigenous peoples in the Barents Region.
The State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the indigenous peoples must be consulted.
-Mining in the Barents Region cannot be a success if the needs of the indigenous peoples like the Sami, the Nenets and the Veps are not taken into consideration, says Larsen.
Alexandra Guaqueta, member of the UN working group on human rights and businesses was in the panel together with Dr. James Anaya, The United Nations` special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
-This has been a really interesting and important seminar. I especially noticed and enjoyed the openness of the discussion. It was nice to see that the Sami People got the opportunity to talk about local conflicts with the enterprises present, says Pavel Sulyandziga, First Vice President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON).