Procedures for Consultations between State Authorities and The Sami Parliament [Norway]

As an indigenous people, the Sami have the right to be consulted in matters that may affect them directly. In order to ensure that work on matters that may directly affect the Sami is carried out in a satisfactory manner, the Government and the Sami Parliament agree that consultations between State authorities and the Sami Parliament shall be conducted in accordance to the annexed procedural guidelines.

 

As an indigenous people, the Sami have the right to be consulted in matters that may affect them directly. In order to ensure that work on matters that may directly affect the Sami is carried out in a  satisfactory manner, the Government and the Sami Parliament agree that consultations between State authorities and the Sami Parliament shall be conducted in accordance to the annexed procedural guidelines.


Oslo, 11 May 2005


Erna Solberg
Minister of Local Government
and Regional Development

Sven-Roald Nystø
President of the Sami Parliament


 


 

1. The Objective

The objective of the procedures for consultations is to:

  • contribute to the  implementation in practise of the State’s obligations to consult indigenous peoples under international law.
  • seek to achieve agreement between State authorities and the Sami Parliament whenever consideration is being given to legislative or administrative measures that may  directly affect Sami interests.
  • facilitate the development of a partnership perspective between State authorities and the Sami Parliament that contributes to the strengthening of Sami culture and society.
  • develop a common understanding of the situation and developmental needs of the Sami society.

2. The Scope

  • The consultation procedures apply to the Government and its ministries, directorates and other subordinate State agencies or activities.
  • The consultation procedures apply in matters that may affect Sami interests directly. The substantive scope of consultations may include various issues, such as legislation, regulations, specific or individual administrative decisions, guidelines, measures and decisions (e.g. in governmental reports to the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting).
  • The obligation to consult the Sami Parliament may include all material and immaterial forms of Sami culture, including music, theatre, literature, art, media, language, religion, cultural heritage, immaterial property rights and traditional knowledge, place names, health and social welfare, day care facilities for children, education, research, land ownership rights and rights to use lands, matters concerning land administration and competing land utilization, business development, reindeer husbandry, fisheries, agriculture, mineral exploration and extraction activities, wind power, hydroelectric power, sustainable development, preservation of cultural heritage, biodiversity and nature conservation.
  • In matters concerning the material  basis for the Sami culture, including  land administration, competing land utilization, and land rights, the obligation to consult the Sami Parliament is applicable to traditional Sami areas; this includes the counties of Finnmark, Troms, Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag, and the municipalities of Osen, Roan, Åfjord, Bjugn, Rissa, Selbu, Meldal, Rennebu, Oppdal, Midtre Gauldal, Tydal, Holtålen and Røros in the county of Sør-Trøndelag, and Engerdal and Rendalen, Os, Tolga, Tynset and Folldal municipalities in Hedmark county, and Surnadal and Rindal municipalities in the county of Møre- og Romsdal.
  • Matters which are of a general nature, and are assumed to affect the society as a whole shall in principle not be subject to consultations.

3. Information

  • State authorities shall fully inform the Sami Parliament about all matters that may directly affect the Sami, as well as about all relevant concerns and queries at all stages of the process.

4. Public disclosure

  • Information exchanged between State authorities and the Sami Parliament in connection with consultations may be exempted from public disclosure provided it is authorised by law. The principle of expanded public disclosure shall be practised. The final positions of the parties in individual matters shall be made public.

5. Regular meetings

  • Regular half-yearly meetings shall be held between the Minister responsible for Sami affairs and the President of the Sami Parliament. Other governmental ministers may attend these meetings when required. At these meetings, the situation and developmental needs of the Sami society, issues of fundamental and principle importance, and ongoing processes, shall be discussed.
  • Regular half-yearly meetings shall also be held between the Sami Parliament and the Interministerial Coordination Committee for Sami affairs. Among other things, information about relevant current Sami policy matters shall be provided at these meetings.

6. General provisions concerning the consultation procedures

  • The consultations carried out with the Sami Parliament, in application of the agreement on consultation procedures, shall be undertaken in good faith, with the objective of achieving agreement to the proposed measures.
  • State authorities shall as early as possible inform the Sami Parliament about the commencement of relevant matters that may directly affect the Sami, and identify  those Sami interests and conditions that may be affected.
  • After the Sami Parliament has been informed on relevant matters, it shall inform the relevant State authority as soon as possible whether further consultations are required.
  • The Sami Parliament can also independently identify matters which in its view should be subject to consultations.
  • If State authorities and the Sami Parliament agree that further consultations shall be held on a specific matter, they shall then seek   to agree on a plan for such consultations, including the dates and venues for further contact (e.g. meetings, video-conferences, telephone contact, exchange of written material), deadlines for responses, whether consultations at the political level are required and the type of political proceedings. Sufficient time shall be allocated to enable the parties to carry out genuine and effective consultations and political consideration of all relevant proposals. In case it is necessary for the Sami Parliament to consider and debate the matter concerned in a plenary session, such debate and consideration must be conducted as early as possible in the process.
  • When necessary, provisions shall be made for further consultations.  Consultations shall not be discontinued as long as the Sami Parliament and State authorities consider that it is possible to achieve an agreement.
  • When a matter is submitted for consideration to the Government (Cabinet), the ministerial submission document shall clearly inform other governmental ministries about the concluded agreement with the Sami Parliament and, if necessary, also to include information about matters where agreement has not been reached. In governmental propositions and reports to the national parliament, the Storting, on matters where the governmental position differs from that of the Sami Parliament, the views and positions of the Sami Parliament shall be reflected in the documents submitted.

7. Minutes

  • Minutes shall be kept of all consultation meetings between State authorities and the Sami Parliament. The minutes shall include a brief account of the subject matter, the views and positions of the parties, and the conclusions made at the meeting.

8. The need for studies/knowledge base

  • The Royal Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and the Sami Parliament shall jointly appoint a specialized analysis group which, inter alia, shall submit an annual report concerning the situation and developmental trends of the Sami society on the basis of Sami statistics. The report shall be used as the basis for consultations on specific matters and for consultations concerning the developmental needs of the Sami society at one of the half-yearly meetings between the Minister responsible for Sami affairs and the President of the Sami Parliament.
  • When State authorities or the Sami Parliament consider there to be a need for background studies to strengthen the factual or formal basis for assessments and decisions, this shall be raised as early as possible, and both parties shall include questions concerning  the terms of reference for such studies into the consultation process. The Central Government and the Sami Parliament shall seek to reach an agreement on the terms of reference for such a study, and who shall carry out the study. The Central Government and the Sami Parliament are obliged to assist in providing information and materials necessary for carrying out the study.

9. Consultations with other affected Sami entities

  • In matters where State authorities plan to consult local Sami communities and/or specific Sami entities or interests that may be directly affected by legislation or administrative measures, State authorities shall as early as possible notify which Sami entities or organizations it regards as affected by the matter, and discuss the coordination of such consultation processes with the Sami Parliament.