Extractive industries and Indigenous and local communities

This area of work explored the local sustainable development implications of relations between extractive industries, communities and the state, focusing on Arctic communities, particularly in Russia.

2006 – 2009
Krystyna Swiderska

Principal researcher and team leader (biocultural heritage), IIED's Natural Resources research group

Oil, gas and mining development historically leading to loss of lands, livelihoods and community cohesion for Indigenous and local communities living close to the industrial activity. At the same time, these industries have also contributed to local socio-economic development in these regions.

The effectiveness and sustainability of local development in the context of such projects depends on the extent to which local expectations are satisfied, the minimisation and mitigation of negative environmental and social impacts, the equitable distribution of project benefits, and the opportunities for meaningful participation of local communities in decision-making. Public involvement can be hampered by people’s lack of awareness of their rights to participate in the development process.

What IIED did

One area of the research explored the role of international norms and company self-regulation in framing relations between oil, gas and mining companies and Indigenous and local communities in Russia.

This analysis has particular relevance for the oil and gas industry and the nomadic reindeer herding communities of the Russian North, Siberia and the Far East. The conclusions focus on the role of anthropologists in these development processes.

The project also sought to facilitate communication between communities in different parts of the world who share similar experiences.

Additional resources

Special edition of Sibirica: the Journal of Siberian Studies on ‘The oil and gas industry, local communities and the state’ (2006) Co-edited by Emma Wilson (IIED) and Florian Stammler (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland)