Nearly every day we are confronted with exposés, investigative reports or protests about natural resource developments going ahead without the consent of local communities and indigenous peoples.
We have seen action at the international level which attempts to address this – most noticeably the endorsement and wide acceptance of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). For REDD+, the UNFCCC safeguards urge parties to meet their international obligations to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
One way to respect these rights is through exercising Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), a social safeguard empowering local people to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to development initiatives which affect their livelihoods or wellbeing.
Our shared challenge is to ensure these international agreements and guidance have an impact on the ground, through getting the message out and building an understanding of FPIC all the way down to the local government, NGO, private sector and community level. Time is a key factor, as it is important that these stakeholders are aware of FPIC before, not after, project negotiations begin.
To help meet this capacity building challenge we are pleased to launch ‘A Training Manual: Putting Free, Prior and Informed Consent into practice in REDD+ Initiatives,’ developed with financial and advisory support from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Norad through our grassroots project. This manual provides an off-the-shelf resource for trainers and project managers to familiarize NGOs, communities, government representatives and project developers with the FPIC concept. As the manual itself explains, it is not limited to REDD+ related projects, and “can be used for any development initiative where the right to self-determination is relevant.”
We hope over the coming years the manual will help increase the understanding and application of the FPIC across the world, and will generate important lessons for us to update our training materials. We look forward to hearing feedback from users of the manual soon.