SALEKHARD (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – Potential offshore oil and gas drilling on Alaska North Slope could dramatically affect the lives of the indigenous Inupiat people, a chairwoman of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues told Sputnik on Friday.
Dorough added, however, that there have been agreements on joint ventures and a lot of the indigenous peoples in the Arctic Slope region of Alaska are engaged in oil field services. The chairwoman noted that there are substantial benefits from oil and gas development in terms of the ability to create infrastructure.
Dorough also explained that it is the indigenous peoples of Alaska who own rights to the land, including its mineral resources. Therefore, the federal government has not been active in trying to protect Alaskans' traditional lifestyle from the development of industry in the region.
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body of the organization's Economic and Social Council. It holds sessions once a year to discuss problems that indigenous peoples around the world face and to work out recommendations. The forum's inter-sessional meeting is currently held in Salekhard in Russia's North, and the next session is scheduled for April in New York.