Indigenous peoples, international law and sustainability

B. J. Richardson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past half century a large body of international environmental law and human rights law has mushroomed which, until recently, said little regarding the position of indigenous peoples. Emerging discussions about the environmental significance of indigenous peoples can be located within the broader, evolving interest in the human rights dimensions of environmental policy. One of the manifestations of this interest has been a focus on the concept of 'environmental justice', that is, equity in access to and use of environmental resources as well as arguments concerning the intrinsic value of nature. Environmental justice for indigenous peoples may be interpreted as requiring, at a minimum: The recognition of ownership of land and other resources traditionally utilized; allowing for their effective participation in resource management decision-making; and securing an equitable share of the benefits arising from the use of environmental resources. In respect of international law, the challenge for indigenous peoples has been to modify existing international treaties and instruments dealing with the environment, or to devise new, more appropriate instruments that better secure the environmental objectives of their communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalReview of European Community and International Environmental Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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