ANNUAL PANEL ON RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (HRC res. 18/8 and 51/18) NB8 Finland (27.09.2023)

Human Rights Council, 54th session.

Annual half-day panel on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The impact of certain development projects on the rights of Indigenous Peoples,
in particular the impact on Indigenous women

Statement by the Nordic-Baltic countries, delivered by Ms. Anu Konttinen, Chargée d’affaires a.i. of Finland to the UN in Geneva


27 September 2023

Chairperson, Distinguished Panellists,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, [Estonia, Denmark together with Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland]. We applaud the focus of this panel on the rights of Indigenous women.

In the context of development, discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, particularly Indigenous women, hinders equal access to lands, resources and to participation in decision-making. This in turn leads to loss of their scientific and technical knowledge which is urgently needed as we are facing a climate and biodiversity crisis. Such discrimination only intensifies when there is intersection with characteristics such as disability or sexual orientation and gender identity.

For development projects to be truly sustainable, governments and other stakeholders need to fully commit to the UNDRIP and respect the right to self-determination. Policies which ensure a seat and a say at the table for Indigenous women in development processes are necessary.

Today we have discussed participation - ensuring Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and their right to be consulted to obtain their free, prior and informed consent when impacted by development projects.

Guided by these principles, we should look around us, too. Drawing on the recommendations of the landmark workshop held last November, the Human Rights Council has the opportunity to take concrete measures and lead the way in enabling Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and institutions to participate under their own status at this Council in discussions on issues affecting them.

Esteemed panellists, how can we ensure participation of Indigenous women in decision-making on development projects?