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

Wolfgang Gabbert

While many governments of Third World* states have recognized indigenous people's autonomy rights and accepted sustainability as a development goal in international agreements, national constitutions and laws, actual policies often contradict both aims. Biological 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 interests and policies still foster economic models based on the exploitation of natural resources 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 centres, and export agriculture are causing serious environmental damage and threaten indigenous land rights.

ISH-Arbeitspapier 2018-01 - Wolfgang Gabbert