Statement by the Norwegian Delegation to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Item 3, Special theme; territories, land and natural resource
Thank you, Madam Chair
Land rights, access to land, and resources, are central for the cultural
as well as material development of indigenous peoples throughout the
world. In order to survive as distinct peoples, indigenous peoples and
their communities should be able to own, use, conserve or manage their
lands and resources.
The concept of free, prior and informed consent is of fundamental
importance in relation to measures and activities affecting indigenous
peoples· lands or resources. Governments must establish or maintain
procedures through which they should consult indigenous peoples, with a
view to ascertaining whether and to what degree their interests would be
prejudiced, before undertaking or permitting any programmes for the
exploration or exploitation of resources pertaining to their lands.
Adequate time and financial resources must be allocated for the impact
assessment so that it can be performed in good faith.
In a planning process it is also of great importance that the affected
indigenous peoples are consulted in an open process where all parties have
access to sufficient information. Formal procedures for consultations
between Norwegian state authorities and the Sámi Parliament where agreed
upon in 2005.
Indigenous peoples· right to self-determination regarding lands and
resources and to exercise control over their own development, will
sometimes have to be exercised through co-management arrangements with the
States concerned. Procedures should be established, through which
indigenous people can effectively exercise their part of such
co-management, including environmental management.
Under international law, indigenous peoples also hold rights to natural
resources located in the lands they traditionally occupy. These rights are
recognized, e.g., by the ILO Convention No. 169. In relation to the
natural resources within these areas, which they have not traditionally
used, such as subsurface resources, the rights of indigenous peoples
include, inter alia: 1) the right to be effectively consulted through
their representative institutions, 2) the right to share the benefits, and
3) the right to mitigation for harm caused to their lands or environments.
States have a positive obligation to realize these rights.
The Norwegian delegation notes with interest the report of the
international expert group meeting on the international regime on access
and benefit-sharing and indigenous peoples· human rights of the Convention
on Biological Diversity. Regarding the development of an international
regime on access and benefit sharing, participants emphasized that such a
regime, whether it be a legally or non-legally binding instrument, should
conform to human rights, including the collective rights of indigenous
peoples. Furthermore, Norway would like to highlight the groups· emphasis
on the concept of free, prior and informed consent.
Norway adopted, in 2005, a law regulating the management of lands and
natural resources in the northern-most county of Finnmark, where most of
the indigenous Sámis live. The Finnmark Act was elaborated in consultation
with the Sámi Parliament and contains the following main elements:
First, the explicit recognition that Sámi (and other local land users)
have acquired rights to land through long standing use,
Second, the state has passed title to all remaining land rights in the
county to a new owner, the Finnmark Estate. Half of the members of
executive board of estate are appointed by the Sámi Parliament and
remaining members by the Finnmark County Council.
And third, the establishment of an expert commission and a special court
(both temporary) to deal with claims of title or rights of use within the
The Finnmark Act is also an example of legal recognition of the indigenous
people·s right to benefit-sharing with regard to mineral resources, within
the lands of the Finnmark estate.
Finally, Madam Chair;
the Norwegian Government will underline the importance of partnership and
dialogue between States and indigenous peoples.. In this connection we
look forward to the adoption of the UN declaration of indigenous peoples
which we believe will help to promote the protection of the rights of
indigenous peoples worldwide.
Statement by Aili Keskitalo, President of the Sami Parliamentarian Council
and President of the Sami Parliament in Norway