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Active project


States have a duty to consult Indigenous communities before planning any developments on traditional lands, but there can be huge differences between states on how well developed their consultation practices are. Consultation procedures are still embedded in the practices of the colonial state and may therefore entangle Indigenous peoples even deeper in state oppression. There is also evidence to suggest that emerging modes of consultation can exacerbate rather than resolve conflict.

With this project, we investigate the agency of state officials to develop and carry out consultations to enhance their potential in a way that is meaningful for the Indigenous communities and feasible for state agencies regardless of the political and institutional environments in which they are embedded.

We focus on the Swedish part of Sápmi (the Sámi homeland) with lessons drawn from other Indigenous territories, for instance First Nations’ experiences in Canada. These two contexts offer different possibilities for state officials to attend to Indigenous concerns. First, we examine how state officials navigate the everyday practice of consultation and understand its requirements. We then identify what institutional and political structures enable them to meaningfully engage with Indigenous rights to offer constructive feedback to both Indigenous and state actors on how to improve consultation procedures. Our findings could also be useful to resource industries such as mining, forestry, renewable energy and hydropower.



SEI Team

Rasmus Kløcker Larsen
Rasmus Kløcker Larsen

Team Leader: Rights and Equity

SEI Headquarters

Katarina Inga
Katarina Inga

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

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