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

Nepali Communities Seek Justice for Violations in World Bank Project

15 July, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, July 14, 2015 – Last week an independent investigation revealed serious abuses in a World Bank-funded transmission line project in central Nepal. The Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line runs through indigenous and rural communities, who have been raising concerns about the project for over five years. Though the findings validate community concerns, the World Bank has not committed to correcting the damage caused by its failures in this project.

Read more

Guyana Article: Gold For Green Forests

9 July, 2015

The large-scale hunt for gold not only destroys rainforest in Guyana, it also threatens a deal for billions in funds from Norway

Read the full article on the Forest Peoples Programme Oximity page here

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: Palm oil giant Wilmar resorts to dirty tricks

7 July, 2015

Full Release: English / Bahasa Indonesia

World’s largest palm oil trading company, Wilmar International Ltd., under scrutiny as communities accuse its suppliers of harassment, deception and rights abuses.

Read more

VIDEO: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Relation to the Green Climate Fund and Deforestation in DRC

11 June, 2015

At the Bonn 2015 Climate Change Conference, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and Tebtebba held the side event 'Deforestation, Climate Finance and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: the cases of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).’

In this video by IISD Reporting Services, the event panelists discuss the need for the Green Climate Fund and upcoming UNFCCC decisions to adopt a rights-based approach to climate change. Panelists also discuss the drivers of deforestation in the DRC and gave examples of eviction of indigenous peoples from their land.

Read more

Herakles abandons all operations in Mundemba and Toko concession areas, Cameroon

4 June, 2015

Mundemba: May31, 2015 (SEFE/FR/MY01/2015)

Herakles Farms, a New York based investment Firm and the parent company of SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC) which has been under the spotlight of increasing local and international opposition for its intention to establish oil palm plantations in protected areas (including the iconic Korup National Park in south west Cameroon) has abandoned all operations in the Mundemba and Toko Subdivisions respectively and in Ndian Division on May 29, 2015.

Read more

International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) Statement to the ADP 3 June 2015

3 June, 2015

Indigenous peoples' caucus calls on government parties negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement under the UN Climate Convention to secure collective land rights, respect FPIC and recognise the positive contribution of indigenous peoples' customary land management systems to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Access the Statement: International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) statement to ADP, Bonn, June 2015

Read more

Press Release: Palm oil regulator asked to investigate illegal land grabs by Wilmar Group supplier in Borneo

1 June, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Borneo human rights organization files complaint alleging multiple breaches of RSPO standards by palm oil supplier PT. Swadaya Mukti Prakarsa (SMP) / First Resources.

Kalimantan, 1st June 2015: Acting on behalf of local indigenous communities, on 11th May 2015 human rights and environmental organization Lingkaran Advokasidan Riset (LinkAR) Borneo delivered a complaint letter to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) alleging multiple violations of RSPO requirements by PT. Swadaya Mukti Prakarsa (PT. SMP) - a key Wilmar Group supplier and subsidiary of First Resources Group.

Read more

FPP is Co-Hosting a Side Event on Deforestation, Climate Finance and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at UNFCCC Negotiations in Bonn

21 May, 2015

Forest Peoples Programme Logo

Next week 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)

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more