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How are the social impacts of large projects on Indigenous Peoples addressed in the environmental licensing processes in Brazil

Principal researcher

Philippe Hanna de Almeida Oliveira  

Type of research



Prof. Frank Vanclay

Prof. Esther Jean Langdon


The number of environmental licensing processes involving Indigenous peoples in Brazil had a significant increase in the last years. The social impact assessment (SIA) of such projects is tied to the environmental licensing process and may be subject to regional or national laws, depending on the situation. This often leads to difficulties on effectively assessing the social impacts, also due to the involvement of different governmental regulatory agencies and a lack of clear legal parameters to define when the ‘Indigenous component study’ is necessary and how it should be done. Implementing the mitigating measures provided in the studies is also an issue, as it lacks regulation on how the mitigating plans should be implemented and who should monitor its implementation. The authorization for a project to proceed is frequently done without properly considering the provisions of the impact assessment or following the requirements of Free Prior and Informed Consent. The present study will clarify such questions through describing the Brazilian environmental licensing process, on what concern Indigenous peoples, and which role does SIA plays within it, also bringing examples from other parts of the world as cases of worst or best practices.

Last modified:03 March 2014 10.50 a.m.