UNPO and MRG Bring Discussion Of Minorities and Natural Resources to the United Nations
The Minorities and Natural Resources conference, jointly hosted by UNPO and Minority Rights Group International, will shine a spotlight on the suffering minorities experience as a result of large-scale natural resource exploitation.
On 14 December, 2010 in the Palais des Nations (Geneva, Switzerland), the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization will host a conference in conjunction with the 3rd Session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues. The conference, co-hosted by Minority Rights Group International, will focus on the topic of minorities and natural resources, shining a spotlight on the suffering experienced by minorities as a result of large-scale natural resource exploitation in their regions, and offering paths towards meaningful minority participation in processes governing natural resource development projects which would affect their lives and livelihoods.
Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Population growth, expanded agricultural settlement, increasing trade, investment and economic activity all place pressure on limited resources. Many minority populations occupy territories far from the centers of political and economic power, which are often the first places to be exploited for their resources given their lack of political power to oppose such actions. As resources become increasingly scarce, governments have rushed with increasing urgency to discover and exploit resources found in such peripheral lands under their control. Decisions to exploit these resources are often taken without meaningful consultation of the local population.
While these communities bear the economic costs of this development, they rarely share in the profits from such ventures. Minority communities often strongly oppose natural resource development projects on the grounds of the economic devastation that can result. However, these groups face a myriad of obstacles to their meaningfully participation in the management of natural resources found in their home communities. Through minority case studies and expert contributions, this conference will attempt to raise some of the major issues facing minorities affected by natural resource development projects, as well as to identify some possible ways forward.
Draft Programme [subject to change]
Programme Manager, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
Executive Director of Minority Rights Group International
Balochistan's Conflict Resources
Senator Sana Ullah Baloch*
Balochistan National Party
The Uyghurs of East Turkestan: An Impoverished People in the Midst of Natural Wealth
World Uyghur Congress
Undying Conflicts Over Natural Resources Among Pastoralist Communities in Kenya
Founder of Samburu Women for Education & Environment Development Organization (SWEEDO)
The Potential and Challenges of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Lessons for Others
Director of Society For Threatened Peoples-Switzerland
Discussion & Questions
* at the invitation of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
** at the invitation of Minority Rights Group International