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

Syndicate content

Where They Stand

Fred Pearce
Forest Peoples Programme

26 October, 2015


Where They Stand details how Wapichan people in South America use modern technologies in struggle to secure land rights

Read more

The Maninjau Resolution

3 February, 2016

The Maninjau Resolution

28th January 2016

Wilmar’s broken promises: we want action not just pledges

The world’s largest palm oil trading company, Wilmar International Ltd. (F34.SI / WLIL.SI), promised ‘Zero Exploitation’ throughout its supply chain alongside its commitment to ‘Zero Deforestation’. As human rights workers and NGOs that support the rights of the indigenous peoples and local communities in Indonesia and internationally, we NGOs who assembled here near Lake Maninjau in West Sumatra on 26-28 January 2016, declare the following.

Read more

Free, Prior and Informed Consent Guide for RSPO Members (2015)

25 January, 2016

Free, Prior and Informed Consent Guide for RSPO Members (2015)

The Free, Prior and Informed Consent Guide for RSPO Members (2015) has been endorsed by the RSPO Board of Governors following its meeting on 20 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.  This document will come into force with immediate effect and replaces the previous version “Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – A Guide for Companies (October 2008)” stated in the RSPO Princ

Read more

The Green Climate Fund and FPIC - A call for the adoption of an indigenous peoples' policy: The lessons from a wetland project in Peru

Tebtebba
FPP

23 December, 2015

Under considerable expectations and pressure to deliver shortly before the beginning of the UNFCCC 21st Conference of the Parties to be held in Paris, the Board of the Green Climate Fund  (GCF) considered the first projects for funding at its meeting in Zambia in early November, 2015.  One project presented to the GCF by Peruvian Implementing Entity (IE) PROFONANPE contains a proposal for wetland management with the participation of indigenous peoples in the province of Loreto in the eastern Amazon region.

Read more

New Analysis Reveals that Indigenous Lands Hold More than 20% of World’s Tropical Forest Carbon

1 December, 2015

New analysis of forests in indigenous territories shows recognizing, protecting rights of traditional peoples can make major contribution to slowing climate change and would support nat'l commitments to reduce climate impacts

An analysis released at the UN climate conference (known as COP 21) maps and quantifies, for the first time, the carbon stored in indigenous territories across the world’s largest expanses of remaining tropical forest.

Read more

Asserting community land rights using RSPO complaint procedures in Indonesia and Liberia

Tom Lomax/FPP
IIED

1 December, 2015

Asserting community land rights using RSPO complaint procedures in Indonesia and Liberia

The complaints procedure of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is one of the options available to communities threatened by the negative impacts of the palm oil industry. Drawing on direct experiences of supporting communities to use the RSPO complaints mechanism in Indonesia and Liberia, this review summarises how communities can get the most out of this procedure. Realistic outcomes include a temporary freeze on plantation development by palm oil companies while longer term solutions are negotiated.

Read more

Report calls on aluminium industry to respect indigenous peoples’ rights

16 November, 2015

Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples

*Press Release*

Geneva, Switzerland, 16 November 2015 – While global demand for the world’s most popular metal – aluminium – continues to rise, it is critical that the aluminium industry address its environmental and social impacts, particularly in indigenous peoples’ territories, according to new report published today by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Forest Peoples Programme (FFP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Read more

Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples: Enhancing Corporate Respect for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

AIPP
FPP

16 November, 2015

Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples

The report, Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples: Enhancing Corporate Respect for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, provides a global overview of the challenges facing indigenous peoples, and presents five case studies from Australia, Cambodia, Guinea, India and Suriname.  The case studies reveal that indigenous communities are affected by primary production activities, such as mining and associated infrastructure (Australia, India, Guine

Read more

Indigenous peoples in Paraguay recommend action on land rights and national legal reforms to uphold community rights, slow deforestation and protect the climate

12 November, 2015

Asunción, November 12, 2015: Two new reports launched today by the Paraguayan Federation of Indigenous Peoples (FAPI) call for greater recognition of land rights and legislative reforms to secure community collective rights to land, tackle deforestation, curb land use emissions and harmonise national laws with international obligations to uphold human rights. [Only available in Spanish]

The reports can be downloaded here:

Read more

Press Release: Human Rights groups call for palm oil moratorium in Palawan, Philippines

11 November, 2015

***Press Information for Immediate Release: 11th November 2015***

Human Rights groups call for palm oil moratorium in Palawan, Philippines: End land grabs and forest destruction now!

Puerto Princesa: 11th November 2015 - A recent fact-finding mission by regional human rights groups in the south-western island of Palawan, the last ecological frontier of the Philippines, has revealed a pattern of land grabs and forest destruction by palm oil companies, partly owned by Malaysian and Singaporean investors.

Read more