Category Archives: FDCIP 2013 Report

FDCIP 2013 FDCIP Chair

The Rights of Indigenous Peoples – an Ongoing Struggle

Torjer Olsen

Torjer Olsen
Torjer Olsen. Photo: Arnstein Johnskareng

Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples Chair

Dear all – pro-rector, President of the Sámi Parliament, invited speakers, participants from here and there, colleagues and students,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Forum Conference 2013: Land and Sea Rights – Protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples to Land and Sea. For two days we will be gathered, discussing issues related to Indigenous peoples and development cooperation.

My name is Torjer Olsen. I am chair of the advisory board of the Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples. On an everyday basis I work at the Centre for Sámi Studies as a teacher and scholar, and it is a pleasure to see many of the students from the Master’s degree programme in Indigenous Studies – where I teach – present here today.

Norway has a new government. In this government, there is no Minister for Development Cooperation. I am uncertain as to what this means. There is a tendency that politicians talk more about industry, financial issues, and Norway’s interests abroad than they talk about fighting poverty. This might cause indigenous peoples’ way to the agenda to become longer.

The main focus of development cooperation is not to earn money; it is about international solidarity and fighting poverty.

I find it really positive that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will present their new guidelines on Norway’s international effort for the rights of Indigenous peoples. I look forward to an open debate on these guidelines during the conference.

The Forum Conference 2013 will be a physical meeting place for people working with development cooperation from the fields of research, management and development work; here we will present and reflect upon the foundations of the forum within Sápmi and the northern regions, and facilitate reflection concerning the current role and future work of the Forum. Geographically, the Forum Conference 2013 will highlight examples from East Africa and North Norway. The Forum Conference 2013 wishes to provide knowledge, share experiences, and raise questions.

Have a great and hopefully thought-provoking conference!

FDCIP 2013 Welcoming Remarks

Welcoming Remarks Sámi Parliament

Aili Keskitalo
President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway

Dear conference participants,

I would like to begin by thanking the conference-holders for inviting me here to UiT, The Arctic University of Norway. It is always a pleasure to be here.

On behalf of the Sámi Parliament of Norway, I would like to welcome the conference participants and guests to Sápmi and to the Indigenous peoples’ city of Tromsø.

The Sámi are one people in four countries who live and interact across national borders. The Sámi community and the Sámi people’s participation in the international Indigenous peoples movement has long traditions.

Interdependence and solidarity with other Indigenous peoples has contributed to the Sámi being a driving force in international organs, especially in the UN system, to develop and follow-up on conventions, declarations, and other instruments that strengthen Indigenous peoples’ human rights. The Sámi Parliament cooperates with other Indigenous peoples to promote and protect Indigenous peoples rights and interests internationally. The Sámi Parliament is active in the preparation for the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. This will be an important follow-up in relation to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The yearly Forum Conference in Tromsø is an important arena to address timely issues concerning Indigenous peoples’ rights to language, culture, and society. It is still the case that Indigenous people in substantial parts of the world belong to the most marginalized groups, both economically and politically. The world’s Indigenous people is estimated to total 370 million, and comprise thus 5% of the world’s total population, but nevertheless comprise 15% of the world’s population living in poverty. This situation requires particular state policies and regulations which recognize and strengthen the Indigenous peoples’ rights and which sustain their rights to control their own development. The UN has recognized that the world’s indigenous peoples are peoples in societies with a particular need for protection to ensure their human rights, as well as their existence and survival.

This year’s conference theme on protection of Indigenous peoples’ land and sea rights is timely all over the world. Indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources are often a sensitive topic, which can, among other things, entail large-scale economic interests and can seem like a threat to national states’ territorial integrity. It is, nonetheless, an essential part of Indigenous peoples’ human rights. Indigenous peoples’ culture is inextricably tied to the use of natural resources and territories. Indigenous people are socially, culturally, economically, spiritually, and politically connected to land, territory and resources. The relationship to land-based resources also has a collective dimension and is closely connected to child-rearing, Indigenous identity, survival and viability.

In Norway, the Finnmark Act of 2005 established concretely that the Sámi, collectively and individually, through prolonged use of land and waters have acquired land-based rights in Finnmark. The act established the Finnmark Commission in 2008, which reports on the rights of use and ownership of land that the Finnmark Estate took over when the Finnmark Act came into effect. I see that the report from the Finnmark commission will be discussed here in tomorrow’s program.

When it comes to the Sámi territorial use and areas of settlement outside of Finnmark, from Troms Province down to and including Hedemark Province, consultations commenced between the Sámi Parliament and the Norwegian government about the Sámi Rights Commission’s recommendations from 2007. Hopefully we will have a solution within four years, within this Norwegian Parliament and Sámi Parliament period.

In 2012, changes in fishing rights legislation for Sámi and others’ rights to fish in the waters outside of Finnmark were adopted. The changes in legislation included decisions on the right to fish in smaller vessels in traditional Sámi areas, emphasizing Sámi fishing and its significance for local communities, identification of fishing grounds by the Finnmark Commission when required, and Fjord-fishing Committee with 50% representation be appointed by the Sámi Parliament with the function to work towards strengthening coastal and fjord fishing. In addition, there were fixed regulations on the prohibition of vessels over 15 meters in the fjords so that smaller vessels are not pressured out of their own traditional fishing grounds.

The Sámi parliament gave its approval for the changes, but at the same time, expressed clearly that the Sámi have established rights to fisheries and other renewable marine resources in coastal Sámi areas. This right builds on both the Sámi people’s presence and historical use of their traditional areas and on international law on Indigenous and minority peoples. The Sámi Parliament’s consent to changes in fisheries legislation does not address the government’s interpretation of the legal foundations of Sámi and others to fish in coastal Sámi areas.

In terms of resource rights, I will mention that the Minerals Act was passed  in 2009 without the Sámi Parliament’s free and informed consent in advance. The Minerals Act did not create  predictability for securing Sámi rights by including ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples that Norway has ratified. This has created a lot of commotion about several mining projects in the Sámi community and between the Sámi community and state government .

As you all understand, we have our challenges related to land, sea and resource rights on the Norwegian side of Sápmi. The same is true on the other side of the borders. There are ongoing general negotiations on a Nordic Sámi Convention, which together will strengthen the Sámi people’s rights; the objective is that the negotiations will be completed in 2016.

Finally, I would say that the Sámi Parliament in Norway will prioritize resources and efforts in the international work coordinated by Sámi Parliamentary Council. It is important to continue to focus on strengthening the human rights of Indigenous peoples through active participation in connection with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014 .

That was all I had planned to say today. I wish you all good luck in the commencement of the Forum conference.

Thank you for your attention.

FDCIP 2013 Opening


Opening address 2013 Conference for Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples

Wenche Jackobsen
Vice Rector for Education, UiT

Dear participants at the 2013 Forum Conference,

It is a great pleasure, and honour, for me to welcome you to Tromsø, and to the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway!

In the thirteen years that have passed since the Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples was established by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it has become an extremely important arena for Indigenous peoples, Indigenous peoples’ organisations, researchers, development workers and development managers engaged in North-South cooperation on development.

Through the key topics that have been addressed at the annual meetings, the Forum Conference has provided these diverse actors with a platform for discussing how national, bilateral and multilateral policies, actions and practices contribute to the capacity and capability of Indigenous peoples to exercise their right to development.

The main topic this year is Land and Sea Rights – Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Land and Sea. The Circumpolar North is a region rich in resources, be it oil and gas, minerals or food. In a situation where the Global demand for these resources is higher than ever before, and where climate change makes new areas available for exploration and development, the question of rights to land and sea is more relevant than perhaps ever before. Just how relevant, will be highlighted by some of the presentations that you will be given during the two conference days.

In order to understand mechanisms, and develop the tools needed to address these challenges, taking the comparative approach often provides invaluable insight. It is therefore an immense strength for this year’s conference that Abraham Korir Sing’Oei, advocate of the High Court of Kenya, international human rights law expert, and Member of Parliament in Kenya, and Kelly Askew, associate professor, and director at the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan, have agreed to participate, and share their knowledge and expertise with us.

I wish you all productive days in Tromsø!

And with that, I give the floor to Aili Keskitalo, President of the Sámi Parliament, Norway.

FDCIP 2013 Preface

Land and Sea Rights – Protecting the Rights of ­Indigenous Peoples to Land and Sea


The 14th annual Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples was held 30-31st October 2013, hosted by the Centre for Sámi Studies at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway. The theme was Indigenous peoples rights to land and sea.

Presenters for this conference came from Kenya, USA and Tanzania, Canada, Russia and Norway. The conference topics were “best” and “bad” practices in states’ recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights to land and sea.  We heard about best practices from Kenya and Norway and bad practices from Tanzania and Russia. In addition, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the new Guidelines for the Norwegian Foreign Service on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Gáldu and Rainforest Foundation Norway gave commentary on the new guidelines. The annual Forum Update included presentations on Indigenous/First Nations issues in Canada, and on the EU project Scales of Governance, the UN and Indigenous Peoples (SOGIP, ERC 249236:

The conference had the pleasure of being welcomed to Tromsø and Sápmi by the newly-elected President of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament, Aili Keskitalo; guests were treated to an opening piano performance and a short film was screened about Indigenous Maasai issues in Tanzania called Chairman and the Lions (Petter Biella,

The Centre for Sámi Studies is the coordinating institution for the Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples. It was established in the year 2000 to provide a meeting place for academics, representatives of Indigenous organizations, NGOs, students and others interested in Indigenous issues.
The Forum board consists of the following: Torjer Olsen, (Chair), Sidsel Saugestad, Rachel Issa Djesa, and Ingrid Hovda Lien from UiT; Janne Hansen, Gáldu; Siri Damman, Rainforest Foundation Norway; Tore Johnsen, Sámi Church Council; Jens Dahl, IWGIA – International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs; Terje Lilleeng, Centre for Sámi Studies, is the administrative coordinator and secretary.

This report includes both short manuscripts and summaries of the conference proceedings. Forum conference reports, as well as news and updates about Indigenous issues and upcoming events can be found on the FDCIP website.

Ellen Marie Jensen
Department of Culture and Literature
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Torjer Olsen
Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples Chair