Features & Commentary
UN-REDD Launches Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent for REDD+
The recently launched UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) outline a framework for partner countries for seeking and obtaining FPIC in the context of REDD+.
By: Gaya Sriskanthan
The UN-REDD Programme recently launched the UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the associated Legal Companion, which outlines related existing international law and emerging State practice affirming that indigenous peoples have the right to effective participation in the decisions, policies and initiatives that affect them and that FPIC is a legal norm that imposes duties and obligations on States.
|Community members discuss conditions for consent for proposed activities during an FPIC pilot activity in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
The Guidelines outline a normative, policy and operational framework for seeking and obtaining FPIC in the context of REDD+. There will be periodic updates to this version based on the application of the guidelines, increased information and experience related to the application of FPIC more generally, and continued input and feedback from governments, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities, practitioners, experts and partners. In the meantime, the UN-REDD Programme invites actors and practitioners around the world to apply, use and interpret these Guidelines for their own purposes and to help the Programme test and improve their utility on an ongoing basis.
The UN-REDD Programme is now supporting partner countries to apply the Guidelines to their REDD+ readiness activities through building capacity in FPIC, and facilitating the development of methodologies and processes tailored to the national level.
As part of activities to build national-level capacities to understand and apply FPIC, a workshop on “Participation, Consultation and Consent of Stakeholders in REDD+ Readiness in UN-REDD Programme Partner Countries” for the Latin America and the Caribbean region was held in Peru on 1-2 February 2013. This involved 45 representatives from governments, indigenous peoples’ groups, and civil society from UN-REDD Programme partner countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Peru. Participants reviewed the recently released Guidelines as well as the existing legal basis for FPIC in countries, and discussed lessons learned on the participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making in the region. Through a series of working groups, practical road maps for implementing FPIC were developed for each country, outlining the actors that need to be involved and the consultative mechanisms, both existing and required, that could be used to support this. Outputs from the workshop will be used to guide national FPIC activities throughout 2013. Key materials from the workshop can be accessed here.
Other related upcoming activities include a one-day workshop on 7 April 2013 for indigenous peoples from the Amazon Basin on latest developments related to stakeholder engagement, governance, and safeguards. The workshop will be jointly organized by the UN-REDD Programme and the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) during COICA's annual meeting in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and will include a specific session on the implementation of the Guidelines.
Over the next year and beyond, the UN-REDD Programme will focus on supporting the implementation of the Guidelines at the country level, providing technical support and guidance to ensure that nationally appropriate strategies are developed in consultation with key stakeholders.
Recognizing the critical role of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities in the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme has prioritized stakeholder engagement from its inception. A key component of effective stakeholder engagement is the right to FPIC. Responding to calls from stakeholders, countries, partners and donors for further clarification on FPIC in the context of REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme initiated a comprehensive consultative process to develop the Guidelines. The process encompassed a series of regional consultations with indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, between June 2010 and January 2011. The draft emerging from these regional consultations was opened for public review and comment and the feedback received was discussed in February 2011 at a global level workshop with governments, indigenous peoples’ representatives, and technical experts on FPIC, to further refine the Guidelines.
This working final version of the Guidelines is therefore the result of more than two years of consultation, analysis, pilot activities on FPIC in partner countries, consensus-building and refinement around core issues related to FPIC; from its conceptual definition to its practical application.
|Gaya Sriskanthan is a member of the UN-REDD Programme team based at UNDP in New York, and supports the Programme's work in the area of stakeholder engagement.