Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowship, Polar Initiative


I am very happy to start a new chapter in my professional career as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center with the Polar Initiative focusing on important practical questions, policy challenges, and opportunities for advancement in the Arctic.

I am going to research Arctic sustainable development and indigenous peoples’ rights with focus on relationships between extractive industries and indigenous communities in Polar region. Rapidly evolving indigenous-industry relationships and different stakeholders’ expectations raise many interesting issues including human rights, legal precedents, best practices, negotiation processes regulation, corporate social responsibility and ethics.

Majority of the Arctic population are indigenous communities who occupy these territories full of natural resources. Different ways of living and using natural resources often cause a conflict between extractive business and indigenous peoples. In many Polar countries, indigenous communities must put up a fight against governments and certain national corporations to keep their lands and their lifestyles. I am going to examine international law in this field and how its standards should apply to the interactions between governments, businesses, and indigenous peoples. Special emphasizes will be given to the importance of the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples concerning any proposed commercial development on their territories as well as other crucial international institutions and practices and their application.

Collaborative relationships between indigenous peoples and industrial corporations, two actors that value resource-rich land, is of vital importance today. A strong partnership between industrial and indigenous actors can help to ensure not only the stability of extractive projects, but also the protection of indigenous groups from existential threats associated with territorial loss. Cooperation between indigenous population and government entities is of vital importance in mitigating threat to indigenous people’s rights as well as in protecting the environment. Combining the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, I am going to advance the ideas that indigenous peoples should benefit from their natural resources, instead of becoming a hostage of it and suffer oppression and degradation from its exploitation.

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