RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forest’s Senior Program Officer Toon De Bruyn shares some highlights from the first ever training on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in support of Indonesia’s national strategy for REDD+.
Indonesia, the country with the highest area of tropical forest in Southeast Asia is also the region’s biggest economy. While this has not always been good news for forests, recently the country’s rates of deforestation have gone down and commitments to the international regime to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+) hold promise that the trend will continue. Developing REDD+ and securing strong and clear rights for local communities and indigenous people over their traditional forest lands is a priority. The right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), is expected to cement these other rights firmly in the REDD+ infrastructure.
Between 17 and 21 September 2012, 20 participants from across Indonesia worked with expert facilitators from RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, during the first ever training on FPIC in support of the implementation of the REDD+ national strategy. The first part of the training however, was designed as a high level seminar open to a wider interest group. Various proponents of REDD+, representing community forestry, private companies, the National Forestry Council, and indigenous and local people shared their experiences and views on FPIC with over 70 participants. Expert presentations helped to develop the views on key questions surrounding FPIC: What is FPIC, who benefits from it and why is FPIC important for REDD+?
During the training, participants explored core values of FPIC, designed processes to seek consent, and developed criteria for assessments and mechanisms for recourse. Training participants represented key stakeholders for the REDD+ National Strategy, and included members from the task force itself, government officials, academics, CSO representatives and NGO members from both the pilot provinces and the priority provinces for the REDD+ National Strategy. During the training RECOFTC demonstrated its trademark approach to training, which builds on sound experiential learning principles. A diversity of methods such as role-play, debate, group presentations, and fishbowls were used to present principles, processes, and tools aimed at unpacking Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
For RECOFTC this is a critical area for capacity development, and this particular engagement with the Indonesian REDD+ Task Force presented a strategic opportunity to develop capacities for a more people-centered forestry.