Conservation for Sustainable Development and Human Rights: An Analysis of the Establishment of Inuit Marine Protected Areas

Miss Mana Tugend1, Dr Dorothée Cambou2

1University of Akureyri, Akureyri, Iceland, 2University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

International law has evolved and increasingly emphasizes the obligation of the state to protect the environment in accordance with the right of indigenous peoples. Hence, this analysis explores the relationship between the rights of indigenous peoples and the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). More particularly, it addresses this issue through the analyses of three case studies: the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (Lancaster Sound, Nunavut); the Imappivut Marine Plan (Labrador, Nunatsiavut); and the Management Plan in the Pikialasorsuaq polynya (shared between Canada and Greenland) which are established on traditional Inuit territory. This analysis examines the potential attached to the creation of these MPAs both for the protection of the environment, the achievement of sustainable development and for the fulfillment of the rights of the Inuit people. It also goes further by analyzing the possibilities to create a network of MPAs in the area. However, while the establishment of these MPAs sounds promising in theory and demonstrates a clear evolution with respect to conservation methods excluding indigenous peoples, the analysis also concludes that only the future will tell how efficient this development is in practice to ensure the protection of biodiversity together with the rights of indigenous peoples.


Mana Tugend is a Polar Law LL.M. Candidate at the University of Akureyri. She recently handed in her master’s thesis focusing on the rights of indigenous peoples and their implementation within the frameworks of marine protected areas with a specific emphasis on the Inuit people of Canada and Greenland. During her postgraduate studies, Mana participated in the Model Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland. She has also studied at the Nord University in Bodø, Norway in 2017 and was a research assistant at the university of Helsinki, Finland for one semester in 2018.

Dr Dorothée Cambou’s biography

Dr. Dorothée Cambou is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts and member of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences. Currently, the main focus of her research lies in international law and human rights concerning more particularly the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. She also has an expertise in the field of resource governance, business and human rights as well as Arctic studies. She is the co-editor of Society, Environment and Human Security in the Arctic Barents Region published by Routledge in 2018 and the special editor of the Yearbook of Polar Law, vol. 10 published by Brill-Nijhoff.

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