Master of Laws, PhD candidate Cafà Alessandra

126000 €

The evolving relationship between the Sámi People and the European Union and its effects on the EU Environmental Law and Policy

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

My research project aims to understand if, and to what extent, the development of the relationship between the Sámi and the European institutions influences the European environmental laws and policies. Through a multidisciplinary approach, I will analyse the European environmental instruments and the outcomes of the projects implemented between the two parties, while studying the Sámi cosmovision and legal tradition to assess their emergence in the EU environmental strategy. In several parts of the world, the affirmation of Indigenous Peoples as political actors has produced the adoption of a biocentric approach in constitutions and environmental laws. The Rights of Nature, in this context, testify the inclusion of the Indigenous cultures in such legal systems and an attempt to redefine the relationship between humans and nature through a decolonial approach. The Sámi People is the only Indigenous People of the EU. The relationship between the Sámi and the European institutions is developing, as shown by the project “Filling the EU-Sápmi knowledge gaps”, aimed at building partnerships and reinforcing the representation of the Sámi People in the European institutions. The inclusion of the Sámi People in the European green transition would demonstrate the coherence of the EU with its principles and its willingness to involve the Sámi people in the Arctic decision-making. Also, it would testify the attention of the European institutions to the impact of the green transition on local communities. In addition to that, it would enrich the discourse on the environmental crisis with different views and, where the Rights of Nature were adopted, it would avoid the westernization of a set of concepts that, in other parts of the world, find their philosophical roots and nourishment in the Indigenous cultures and legal traditions. My research project would observe this phenomenon while it is unfolding, thus allowing the contribution of the academia in this process.