Governance of Land and Natural Resources in Sápmi – Sámi participation and self-governance; international law etc.

“Won't the grass grow just as well in the meadow whether you speak Norwegian or Sámi? Isn’t it enough that the Sámi has to buy the land that has been their own since ancient times?” Isak Saba asked this thought-provoking question in 1906; as a reaction to the legal requirement to master the Norwegian language in order to buy land from the state. For an equally long period, the right to land and natural resources in Sápmi has been the subject of discussions, e.g., on rights and governance. It is also the topics for this conference.

The overall goal of the GoSápmi project is to analyze and investigate models for the governance of land and waters in the traditional Sámi areas in Norway - with the aim of suggesting proposals for improvements where there is room and basis for it.

Indigenous peoples’ participation in the governance of land and natural resources is central for safeguarding and developing their culture and way of life. The international community has therefore negotiated treaties that ensure the participation and self-governance of indigenous peoples. These are treaties Norway has ratified, and subsequently worked for several decades to implement towards the Sámi. The Reindeer Husbandry Act, the Finnmark Act, the draft Hålogaland Act and the draft of a new Mountain Act are examples of this. The GoSápmi-project will examine how successful these implementations have been, where the main focus is on how the legal framework works, and if there is room for improvement. The project is described here.

The first main conference for the research project will be held in Lakselv, Finnmark, from 1 to 3 November 2022. The conference will particularly focus on international law and the requirements it places on Sámi participation in the governance of land and waters. In this connection, the former UN special rapporteur and professor at the University of Colorado and at UiT, S. James Anaya, has assessed the governance system for Finnmark. Togheter with professor Mattias Åhrén, he will present his findings in the conference's main lecture: The Finnmark Estate's management of natural resources; its compliance with international law on indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and self-governance - tentative observations.

The provisional program is attached (see column on the right).

The conference will also enlighten variations in national governance arrangements as well as other countries' governance systems of land and water in indigenous areas, including local and rights holder-involved resource governance.

 The GoSápmi research project will be developed through three work packages. Input from external actors; through participation in the conference, or in other ways, is very welcome.

 This is a preliminary announcement and changes may occur. There will follow further information on registration and participation fees to cover ongoing expenses for external participants. The air connection between Tromsø and Lakselv is good (three daily departures). Conference language will be Norwegian/English/Sámi.

Starts: 01. November 2022 at 11.00
Ends: 03. November 2022 at 12.00
Where: Lakselv
Location / Campus: Other
Target group: Students, Guests, Employees
Contact: Øyvind Ravna
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Attachments / Pictures:
Program im English for the conferense on Governance of Land and Natural Resources in Sápmi