Stakeholder Engagement Advanced Through Innovative Workshop Series
Second Regional Workshop in Latin America and Caribbean on the issue of Prior Consultation and Free, Prior and informed Consent
A regional workshop on prior consultation and FPIC was organized in Panama from 29 to 31 October 2013, in collaboration with the regional offices of the International Labour Organization (ILO), to advance progress made since an initial workshop in January.
At the first workshop in January 2013, the UN-REDD Programme and UNDP co-organized a regional workshop in Lima, Peru, on participative processes, consultation, and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) related to the REDD+ preparation. Eight countries participated in this first workshop, through representatives from the government, indigenous peoples, and civil society, and with specialists in the subject. This event concluded with the preparation of a roadmap for each country in order to promote progress on FPIC.
At the second workshop, held last month, several discussions took place related to the progress made per country on the issue of FPIC since January 2013, and again the capacities were strengthened among civil servants and personnel responsible for the implementation of different national programmes and support focused on UN-REDD in the region. Over 50 participants from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname, participated in the workshop, including representatives from government, civil society and specialists on the subject. The event was well attended by members of indigenous peoples’ organizations, including MASTA, RIBCA, COONAPIP, COICA, CONFENAI, AIDESEP, COPAN, FAPI, Maroon Women Network, and Proceso de Comunidades Negras.
The representatives from ILO presented the key issues related to the rights of indigenous people, the framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and according to ILO’s 169 Convention, the role of these bodies in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples. These presentations and discussions were very useful in order to deepen the participants understanding on the right to participation, consultation and FPIC and to clarify the potential implications during REDD+ readiness.
Tania Caron, a specialist from ILO, commented, “This workshop was very important and from the UN-REDD perspective, one can see there is a real will to continue promoting and facilitating the implementation of international conventions.”
The workshop also served as a space for exchanging experiences on consultation from the perspectives of different actors from the Government of Peru, UNDP Panama, Canada, the Auto-determination Federation of Indigenous People in Paraguay (FAPI in Spanish) and participant countries.
Participants analyzed the regulatory frameworks of each country, as they are the foundation for consultative processes, as well as the experiences of the different countries. All of these exchanges helped participants, including indigenous people representatives and also governments, to gain a better understanding of these topics. Furthermore, the workshop demonstrated that the level of knowledge and progress throughout the region in these subjects is relatively heterogeneous.
In this sense, it is clear that the exchange of experiences, both the positive and negative ones, and all the lessons learned, allowed participants to better understand the topic and these experiences, and they will therefore be better equipped to contribute to the work already being done in their respective countries.
A representative from the National Institute for Environment and Development (NIMOS) in Suriname, Gina Griffith, explained, “This workshop is the beginning of the whole FPIC process within REDD+ and I’m here to learn. There are countries here that have done a lot already and I’m here to share experiences with them, learn, and also make a network with people who can help when we have problems of [our] own.”
Doris Ríos Ríos, President of the China Kichá Development Association in Costa Rica added that the workshop “was extremely spectacular. My experience during these three days has been very important. To have 7 countries, with different experiences, enriches your knowledge because you take with you the good experiences, the not so good experiences and that makes you grow and you can form an idea of what you can take, and what you cannot take away, and for me this has been something very good.”
Mrs. Rios discussed the role that women play in consultative processes and highlighted that “the United Nations have an important role, that has ensured that women have an active participation and my being here in this workshop is proof of that.”
During the workshop, questions arose surrounding the situation in Panama regarding the relationship between REDD+ and UN-REDD. The representatives from COONAPIP and the National Environmental Authority (ANAM in Spanish) in Panama explained the context of the issue and the country and the problems that arose along the way. They also explained the efforts that were made and progress achieved in Panama, between ANAM, COONAPIP and the UN-REDD Programme since the last UN-REDD Programme Policy Board meeting in June 2013. The participants were grateful to both ANAM and COONAPIP for sharing their experiences in a transparent and open way. Several indigenous peoples and government representatives talked about their appreciation for and value of these lessons learned from Panama.
All of the participants recognized that the issue of consultation and consent is incredibly important but at the same complex and they valued the workshop as a space to learn, discuss and to exchange knowledge. At the end of the workshop, several participants such as the president of FAPI, Mr. Hipolito Acevei, spoke of the importance in continuing to hold these regional meetings with the support of the UN-REDD Programme. Some countries like Costa Rica, Honduras, Paraguay and Suriname requested the development of similar workshops adapted to their own national contexts.