Towards a just energy transition: A study of the human rights implications of renewable energy development for the Sámi people

Theme 5. Other
Session Name 5.1 Current research on extractive industries and the sustainability in the Arctic
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 10:20 AM - 10:40 AM (UTC +3)
Location IT138
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Dorothée Cambou
Author(s) Dorothée Cambou (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Abstract text

What can energy transition learn from the impact of extractive industries on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples? While the international community is pledging for a renewable energy transition, there is also a need to consider the human rights implication of renewable energy projects on the rights of indigenous peoples. Despite its societal significance, the human and social implications of energy transition are not well documented and very little research has been conducted upon the possible framework to ensure a just energy transition. Historically, indigenous peoples around the world have suffered negative consequences from extractive industries. In this regard, much has been written about the impacts of extractive industries for the human rights of indigenous peoples. However, far less attention has been devoted to the impact of renewable energy projects on the livelihoods of indigenous communities and their right to participate in the current transition.


Against this backdrop, it is the objective of this presentation to discuss how the transition to ‘clean’ energy can revise the legacy of extractive resources development on indigenous traditional lands and territories. This analysis examines the history of energy transitions in the Arctic countries and its impact on indigenous communities, primarily the Nordic states, to identify lessons for the current energy transition. The analysis also scrutinizes current litigations cases concerning the impact of energy projects on the livelihoods of the Sami people with the objective to gauge whether the development of renewable energy project is suitable to provide an equitable and inclusive energy transition.

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