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commercial activities should be considered as within the parameters of sustainable customary use [#389]
Why wouldn't they be included?  Commercial activities have been a part of indigenous peoples lives long before paper/digital money was created. When ever an indigenous product was traded for any other product, commercial activity occurred. Archeological sites attest to such commercial activity throughout much of human prehistory. Natural products modified in some way by human hands are found throughout the world in place where the natural substance does not occur, as evidence of commercial activity.

On the other hand, indigenous commercial activity has been subverted and manipulated in unsustainable ways by outside sources, largely caused by the insatiable demand of "advanced" western cultures. Examples: the North American bison, the eastern bowhead whale, the muskox.... and so on and so on around the world.

Placing the commercial utilization of resources in the hands of indigenous peoples may limit repeats of such unsustainable resource exploitation. It is clear from the history that when outside demand and businesses control the exploitation of the resource, then biological diversity can suffer dramatically.

It is more likely that when local indigenous peoples control the utilization of resources that their cultures value, then commercial activities could be more sustainable.
posted on 2009-03-10 05:46 UTC by Dr. Michael Ferguson, NordEco
 

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme