The Securing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Green Economy (SIRGE) Coalition welcomes the European Parliament's common position on the proposed European Union due diligence rules. The position of the European Parliament supports the full respect for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the new Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).
Why Does the CSDDD Matter for Indigenous Peoples?
The EU is one of the largest markets in the world with over 700 million consumers and much of what happens in the European Union dictates how raw materials are sourced, processed, and traded globally. As we transition toward a low-carbon economy, the CSDDD is an important step towards corporate accountability, responsible business conduct, and access to justice for Indigenous Peoples.
There is a dramatic increase in demand for minerals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt, and copper for renewable energy technologies as a result of the Green and Digital Transitions. As a result, mining is expanding at an accelerated pace. Since Indigenous-managed lands cover more than a quarter of the Earth's surface and Indigenous Peoples manage 80% of the planet's biodiversity, increased mining directly threatens their rights, their territories, and the world’s biodiversity. Land is the basis for livelihood, identity, and survival for Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, given their important role and the great risks to Indigenous Peoples in this green transition, Indigenous Peoples must be fully and meaningfully consulted and involved throughout the value chain, and Indigenous priorities must be integrated into decision-making with the full respect of Indigenous-led protocols of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
The following figures provide a glimpse of Indigenous Peoples' risks:
Of 5,097 mining projects globally that involve some 30 minerals used in renewable energy technologies, 54% are located on or near Indigenous Peoples' lands and territories (via Nature Sustainability).
In the United States, 97% of nickel, 89% of copper, 79% of lithium, and 68% of cobalt reserves – primary minerals needed for the energy transition – are located within 35 miles of Native American reservations (via MSCI).
Over a period of 12 years, there were 510 human rights allegations made against all 115 companies involved in transition mineral extraction; this figure represents only reported instances; 49 of the allegations involved Indigenous Peoples (via Business & Human Rights Resource Centre). In 2022, almost 40% of the attacks related to transition minerals were against Indigenous Peoples or their communities.
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Biodiversity Protection Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Indigenous Peoples are stewarding and protecting at least 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity, their involvement in the transition is not only crucial on its own but also for the health of the planet.
As expressed in the European Parliament proposal amendment 10, recital 9:
“the General European Environment action programme to 2030, the framework for Union action in the field of the environment and climate, aims to protect, restore and improve the state of the environment by, inter alia, halting and reversing biodiversity loss.
As Indigenous rights and biodiversity conservation are inextricably linked, we emphasize the importance of respecting both simultaneously.
Indigenous Peoples’ Call to European Leaders
The SIRGE Coalition calls on European Member States to follow the European Parliament leadership and adopt a CSDDD that guarantees respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples as stated in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Taking this approach in the coming trilogue in the European Union will ensure a sustainable, just, and no-one-left-behind transition for Europe and beyond.
The SIRGE coalition has advocated and urged for the explicit inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights as enumerated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organisation’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Convention, 1989 (No. 169), including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent into the European CSDDD. In this frame, SIRGE applauds the European Parliament’s proposed new amendments (detailed below) and asks them to hold these proposals in the trilogues. SIRGE also calls all European Leaders to build further and strengthen these references in the final CSDDD version.
Amendment 60, recital 44 c:
Companies should take appropriate measures to carry out meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders allowing for genuine interaction and dialogue in their due diligence process. Engagement should cover information and consultation of affected stakeholders and should be comprehensive, structural, effective, timely and culturally and gender responsive. […] The information and consultation of affected stakeholders should […] fully respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point na:
‘vulnerable stakeholders’ means affected stakeholders that find themselves in marginalised situations and situations of vulnerability, due to specific contexts or intersecting factors, including among others, […] indigenous peoples,
Article 8 d:
Carrying out meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders
Member States shall ensure that companies take appropriate measures to carry out meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders that allows for genuine interaction and dialogue in their due diligence process. To this end, the engagement shall cover information and consultation of affected stakeholders and shall be comprehensive, structural, effective, timely and culturally and gender sensitive.
7. […]. Companies shall pay particular attention to the needs of vulnerable stakeholders, and […]fully respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Annex I – Part I – subheading 1
Rights and prohibitions included in international human rights agreements
Point 19a: The rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination in accordance with Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination, and their right to give, modify, withhold or withdraw their free, prior, and informed consent to interventions, decisions and activities that may affect their lands, territories, resources and rights, in accordance with Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Articles 2 and 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
Point 20: The indigenous peoples’ right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired in accordance with Articles 1 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Articles 1, 2 and 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Annex I – Part I – subheading 2
The International Labour Organisation’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Convention, 1989 (No. 169)
SIRGE Members’ Statements:
Galina Angarova (Buryat), Executive Director, Cultural Survival, said, ”We welcome this important step towards securing Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights. The CSDDD has the potential to transform the EU legal system and move the human rights and environmental due diligence processes from voluntary audits and certification schemes to one of true legal accountability for non-compliance with international and national laws. The CSDDD must safeguard marginalized communities’ rights, especially Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and guarantee mechanisms for Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”
Pavel Sulyandziga (Udege), President, Batani Foundation, said “This is a significant step in ensuring that the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, protected, and fulfilled. The European Union has the potential to set a model for the rest of the world on how to conduct business in a just and non-harming way. As a Coalition we look forward to the final draft of the directive and its full implementation on the ground. ”
Kate R. Finn (Osage), Executive Director, First Peoples Worldwide said, "Incorporating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard for the EU's proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive gives corporations operating in the global sector a baseline approach to assessing Indigenous Rights Risk, and it provides just and equitable means for rights holders to participate where community impacts are significant. In particular, the directive's explicit language about Free, Prior and Informed Consent enables companies to understand ground-level impacts Indigenous Peoples face."
Christoph Wiedmer, Co-Director, the Society for Threatened Peoples, Switzerland, said “This directive enshrines international conventions and declarations such as the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention ILO 169 into law, which is necessary to ensure that enterprises are accountable if they violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights.”
Jennifer Krill, Executive Director, Earthworks said "It's imperative that the EU directive sets a high, legal standard for a company's responsibility to conduct their environmental and human rights due diligence, so communities are protected and have legal recourse, especially as companies in the renewable energy and transportation supply chain will need to source more minerals to meet the demands for an energy transition by producing technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles. We encourage other nations, particularly the United States, to follow suit with similar legal protections for marginalized communities, including Indigenous Peoples, who will be impacted by the increased onshoring of transition minerals."
About the SIRGE Coalition
The Securing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Green Economy (SIRGE) Coalition is a coalition of Indigenous Peoples and leaders, who, along with our allies, champion a just transition to a low-carbon economy. The SIRGE Coalition launched on August 9, 2022, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Members of the Coalition include Cultural Survival, First Peoples Worldwide, Batani Foundation, Earthworks, and the Society for Threatened Peoples.
The SIRGE Coalition’s primary goal is to elevate Indigenous leadership through the creation of a broad coalition and the promotion of constructive dialogue. In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the coalition will uphold all rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, and especially their rights to determine their own priorities as to their lands, territories, and resources. Indigenous leadership is essential as Indigenous Peoples conserve about 80% of the planet's remaining biodiversity.
The SIRGE Coalition is staffed by an Executive Committee made up of representatives from each organization and is governed by an Indigenous Steering Committee made up of two representatives of Indigenous Peoples from each of the seven socio-cultural regions across the globe along with a global chairperson and the chairperson of the Executive Committee, chosen from Indigenous members.
The SIRGE Coalition is calling for full implementation of the UNDRIP, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, in all endeavors related to the extraction, mining, production, consumption, sale, and recycling of transition and rare earth minerals around the world.