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Indigenous Rights, Natural Resources and the State - The Intricacies of Sustainable Development in Middle America

 

 

ISH-Arbeitspapier 01-2018

Wolfgang Gabbert

 

Abstract

While many governments of Third World* states have recognized indigenous people's au-tonomy rights and accepted sustainability as a development goal in international agree-ments, national constitutions and laws, actual policies often contradict both aims. Biolog-ical resources are considered primarily as usable goods to be deployed to their maximum. Consequently, the control of indigenous lands is often disputed by states and private in-terests and policies still foster economic models based on the exploitation of natural re-sources for exportation. With its particular rich biodiversity, extended forest areas and the presence of various indigenous groups, Middle America is a particular interesting example of the abovementioned general trends. Mega-projects of roads, ports, mining, tourist cen-tres, and export agriculture are causing serious environmental damage and threaten in-digenous land rights.

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