“Consensus building in engagement processes” for reducing risks in developing sustainable pathways: Indigenous interest as core elements of engagement

Jenny Lieu*, Luis D. Virla, Ryan Abel, Cecilia Fitzpatrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Canada is one of the top ten greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the world, and of the nation’s total, the province of Alberta was the biggest emitter primarily due to the fossil fuel industry and power generation. Alberta is currently facing a challenge to reduce GHG emissions in line with Canada’s obligations to meet Paris Agreement goals. Additionally, the oil sand deposits in Alberta are located on the traditional land of Indigenous communities; therefore, the development, regulation and consultation of this sector have a direct impact not only on emissions but also on the socioeconomic welfare of Indigenous communities. Thus, the transition towards a low-carbon pathway in the oil sand industry is closely connected to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples. Meaningfully consulting with Indigenous peoples is essential when developing low-carbon pathways that impact the environment and wellbeing of the community. Failure to consult proposed changes with Indigenous communities can lead to risks for the government, the industry and the communities themselves. These risks have been prevalent in the current consultation process in Alberta which has led to litigation, creating mistrust between the government, industry and Indigenous community. Given this background, we present a Consensus Building in Engagement Processes framework that includes Indigenous consensus, knowledge, interests and rights as a focal point of a consultation process required for decision-making. The consultation process is presented within the context of land use decisions impacting a low-carbon future for oil sand development. The framework is based on seeking consensus from all parties involved and aims to help to reduce risks resulting from decisions that do not consider the interests and rights of communities most impacted by resource development or climate mitigation pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Risks and Uncertainties in Energy and Climate Policy
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Methods and Tools for a Low Carbon Society
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030031527
ISBN (Print)9783030031510
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Consultation
  • Engagement
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Pathways
  • Risk
  • Sustainability


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