The conference brings together scientists, sacred natural sites custodians, Indigenous Peoples' Organizations, policy makers, conservation and civil society leaders, to evaluate options for international and national law, policy and practice in order to better recognize, safeguard, conserve and manage Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) of Indigenous Peoples in Northern and Arctic regions.
SNS are being increasingly recognized as an important means for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and the transmission of culture and identity.
Yet, legal protection of SNS and related policies are still often insufficient or absent. It becomes increasingly difficult for custodians in the North to protect these ancient sites, due to economic developments (tourism, mining, forestry) and infrastructural development (roads, dams, mega projects).
At the same time the need for protection may be challenged by some protection measures (identifying of location, mapping) and may raise the question of keeping intimacy and sensitivity of these places.
At international level, SNS have been receiving increasing legal attention; they are now mentioned in several international legal instruments (e.g., CBD, UNDRIP). Yet, effective and culturally appropriate implementation is often still lacking.
The Conference is co-organized by the Arctic Centre (University of Lapland), University of Montreal and the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law.