Compensation for Impact of Industrial Projects in Russia to Indigenous Peoples of the North
This chapter that was funded by a grant from Russian Foundation for Basic Research № 17-02-00619 examines procedures for social impact assessment in industrial projects in the Russian Federation (later referred to as Russia), focusing on assessment of impact on ‘small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North’ in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (later referred to as Yakutia), a region in the north-east of Russia. In April 2010, a regional law on Anthropological Expert Review (AER) was adopted in the region of Yakutia, which is implemented during industrial projects that are initiated on the territories of indigenous peoples of the North. This law was developed under pressure from regional non-governmental organisations, following public debates about potential impacts during the construction of Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean oil pipeline in 2006–2008. This is the first and only regional law on social impact assessment for indigenous peoples in Russia, the potential for which had been discussed in Russia for over 20 years but has never been fully implemented. This regional law on is a triumph of the civil society in Yakutia, which in 2018 has been followed by federal government discussions for opportunities of developing a similar federal level law. The chapter evaluates the effectiveness of existing methodology for compensation to indigenous peoples of the North in Yakutia, by examining the regulation, industry reports and regional development strategies. It examines the cases of completed social impact assessments and damage compensations, conducted during major industrial projects in Yakutia. The study discusses the features and shortcomings of AER methodology and compares it with existing practices on compensations in other Russian regions. It recommends revising the use of income-based calculation of compensations which treats groups of indigenous peoples of the North that lead traditional activities of reindeer herding as commercial enterprises. The research suggests extending the existing methodology by incorporating an ecosystem services approach and taking into account long-term sustainability impacts of industrial projects on communities of indigenous peoples. Special attention is given to the assessment of effectiveness of the Anthropological Expert Review as an institution for protecting the rights of indigenous peoples in Russia.
KeywordsYakutia Indigenous rights Anthropological expert review Traditional natural resource use Corporate social responsibility
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