Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)

‘Free prior and informed consent’ (FPIC), is the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy or otherwise use. FPIC, for years advanced by FPP, is now a key principle in international law and jurisprudence related to indigenous peoples.

What does FPIC mean to forest peoples?

FPIC implies informed, non-coercive negotiations between investors, companies or governments and indigenous peoples prior to the development and establishment of oil palm estates, timber plantations or other enterprises on their customary lands. This principle means that those who wish to use the customary lands belonging to indigenous communities must enter into negotiations with them. It is the communities who have the right to decide whether they will agree to the project or not once they have a full and accurate understanding of the implications of the project on them and their customary land. As most commonly interpreted, the right to FPIC is meant to allow for indigenous peoples to reach consensus and make decisions according to their customary systems of decision-making.

What are some of the obstacles to FPIC?

On the practical level of carrying out FPIC, it can be problematic identifying who should verify that the right to FPIC has been respected and how this should be done. Making free, prior and informed consent work: challenges and prospects for indigenous peoples (FPP, June 2007), identifies some experiences with third-party audits for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Indonesia and suggests that verifiers have been unduly lenient about what constitutes adequate compliance, thereby weakening any leverage that communities may gain from companies’ obligations to respect their rights and priorities in accordance with FSC voluntary standards.

However, the publication also demonstrates that verification of FPIC procedures by government as in the Philippines has also proven problematic.

Another challenge for indigenous peoples in their efforts to exercise their right to FPIC is to ensure that their systems of decision-making are genuinely representative and made in ways that are inclusive of, and accountable to, members of their communities.

By insisting on their right to FPIC, forest peoples have been able to block plantations and dams planned for their lands and have been able to negotiate fairer deals with palm oil developers, loggers and local government land use planners.

Why is FPIC important for companies and government?

The right of FPIC is necessary to ensure a level playing field between communities and the government or companies and, where it results in negotiated agreements, provides companies with greater security and less risky investments. FPIC also implies careful and participatory impact assessments, project design and benefit-sharing agreements. FPIC has been widely accepted in the ‘corporate social responsibility’ policies of private companies working in sectors such as dam building, extractive industries, forestry, plantations, conservation, bio-prospecting and environmental impact assessment.

Relevant resources

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Hollow Promises: An FPIC assessment of Golden Veroleum and Golden Agri-Resource’s palm oil project in Liberia

Forest Peoples Programme

15 April, 2015

Hollow promises

Several years of fieldwork by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and civil society partners in Liberia has revealed the extent to which palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and its lead investor Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are continuing to operate without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of local communities within their concession area, despite the companies’ claims to have learned from past mistakes.

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Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous Perspectives on Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

Forest Peoples Programme
AIDESEP

4 December, 2014

Revealing the Hidden

 

The report, Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous perspectives on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was compiled by Peru’s national indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP) and international human rights organisation, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and is based on the analysis and perspectives of Peru’s indigenous leaders and organisations whose lives, lands and livelihoods are threatened by deforestation on a daily basis.

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EVENT (8th June 2015): Roundtable on Deforestation, Climate Finance and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

21 May, 2015

Forest Peoples Programme Logo

Forest Peoples Programme and Tebtebba invite you to the roundtable:

Deforestation, climate finance and the rights of indigenous peoples: the cases of DRC and the Green Climate Fund

DAY: Mon, 08 Jun 2015
TIME: 13:15-14:45
PLACE: Bonn Climate Change Conference June 2015, Room Bonn II (40)

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The Story of FLEGT in Guyana

14 May, 2015

This video is an adaptation of "The Story of FLEGT" produced by FERN for the context of Guyana.

FLEGT stands for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. The European Union's FLEGT Action Plan was established in 2003. It aims to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber. The video focuses on the status of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) process in Guyana.

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Forest governance and why it matters

14 May, 2015

This video is produced by the Amerindian Peoples Association with assistance from the Forest Peoples Programme with the aim of supporting the process of enhancing the capacity of indigenous communities in Guyana to participate in the national VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreements) process. An important part of the VPA, which is being negotiated with the EU to ensure the export of legal timber to the European market, is improved forest governance.

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Press Release: Expansion by Indonesia’s largest palm oil company frozen for disobeying RSPO standards

7 May, 2015

Palm oil conglomerate ordered to halt expansion of operations following multiple violations of RSPO standards.

7th May, 2015: The RSPO’s Complaints Panel has upheld the Forest Peoples Programme in its complaint against Golden Agri Resources, which was seeking to expand 18 of its operations in Kalimantan. After concluding that it has ‘reasonable grounds’ to conclude that the company is in violation of several RSPO norms, the latest ‘determination’ by the Panel notes:

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Event Report: "The Global Indigenous Movement: Past Achievements, Future Challenges"

30 April, 2015

Joji Activism 1990s

On 26th March 2015, The Social Movements and Civil Society Research Group at City University London (SMCSRG) held its third evening event, a talk on The Global Indigenous Movement: Past Achievements Future Challenges. SMCSRG was delighted to host long-time indigenous peoples’ rights activist and current Director of the Forest Peoples Programme, Joji Cariño, to speak on these themes. The event was Chaired by Dr Mauro Barelli, a Senior Lecturer specialising in minority and indigenous peoples’ rights at The City Law School.

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APA letter expressing concerns about Guyana's proposal to the FCPF Carbon Fund

30 April, 2015

 

letter submitted by APA to the Carbon Fund of the FCPF before their meeting (27-30 April) to consider the eligibility of Guyana to develop an Emission Reduction Project Idea Note (ER PIN) under the FCPF framework. The letter makes arguments for why Guyana is not ready to develop an emission reductions programme yet.

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PRESS RELEASE: Harmful Social and Environmental Impacts of Liberia Palm Oil Project Exposed

1 April, 2015

Golden Veroleum and Golden Agri-Resource’s palm oil operations in Liberia are compounding poverty and food insecurity by taking land without community consent and making hollow promises of development benefits, says new report

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Forest Peoples Programme complaint against Golden Agri Resources upheld

9 March, 2015

Palm oil conglomerate criticised for multiple violation of RSPO’s requirements that lands only be acquired from indigenous peoples and local communities with their free, prior and informed consent.

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