As the EU moves toward a consensus on the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), we stand together as Indigenous Leaders to call for the guarantee of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is an essential step to ensure a just and sustainable energy transition that respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples on and under whose lands these raw materials predominantly exist. Indeed, at least half of energy transition minerals are in or near Indigenous Peoples’ territories.
Our people have lived a life alongside nature for time immemorial. We are among the most vocal advocates for climate action and a sustainable, equitable energy transition because of this profound connection. That is why, in this transition to clean energy, we cannot simply co-exist with mining production at the whims of mining companies, but instead must be guaranteed to exercise the right to Free, Prior and Informed consent for any projects proposed on our lands. If the EU aims to source critical raw materials within and beyond Europe, then it must ensure the well-being, safety, and rights of Indigenous Peoples in the region and globally are safeguarded.
The Sámi People are among those around the world who will be most impacted by increased mining development. As governments and companies consider how to approach mineral deposits on Sámi lands, the Sámi People must be in the conversation from the beginning and have the opportunity to decide what happens in and around their communities.
Indigenous Peoples' rights must be respected through FPIC and Indigenous Peoples must be meaningfully included in decision-making. The Critical Raw Materials Act is an opportunity to avoid repeating the mistakes of the fossil fuel and mining industry's past and get this transition right.
Sámiid Riikkasearvi/Swedish Sámi Association
Securing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Green Economy (SIRGE) Coalition
November 9, 2023