The principle that indigenous peoples and local communities have a right to give or withhold their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) to developments affecting their resources is not new, although it is a relatively recent addition to the REDD+ discourse in climate change negotiations. As with other development initiatives, REDD+ is likely to bring both risks and benefits to communities living in and around targeted forest areas. In the case of REDD+, such risks and benefits may include changing land use practices and difficulties in accessing resources for both formal and informal rights holders.
Free from force, intimidation, coercion, or pressure by anyone (it can be a government, company, or any organization).
Although the concept of FPIC originally evolved in relation to indigenous peoples and their respective territories, in principle it is a social safeguard that respects the rights of any community whose livelihoods will be affected by an external initiative or influenced by an interest from outside. In the case of REDD+, the value and need for FPIC has been identified not only for protection of local communities’ rights and forest-dependent livelihoods but also for reducing risks on the side of the project proponent through ensuring mutual understanding and agreement between all parties concerned.
The policy discourse currently calls for REDD+ proponents to respect the right to FPIC, but there are few resources that aim to explain and train practitioners in its concepts and practice. The basic understanding and capacity of governments, NGOs, the private sector, and communities to implement and support FPIC needs to be enhanced. However, one of the key challenges of developing training materials is the lack of minimum standards on FPIC for REDD+. There is still subjective understanding of the terms and requirements of FPIC, influenced by both cultural interpretations and interests.
To address this resource gap, RECOFTC partnered with GIZ Indonesia to develop a beginner’s guide on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in REDD+: Principles and Approaches for Policy and Project Development, with additional funding support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The guide was first published in English in 2011, but has already been translated into Bahasa Indonesia and Nepali due to the increasing demand for local-language resources.
The guide’s success with partners – the UN-REDD Programme referred to the RECOFTC/GIZ guidebook in drafting its Guidelines on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in REDD+, and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) referred to the guidebook in a manual for Indigenous Community Trainers for Understanding Community Based REDD+ – prompted us to develop ‘A Training Manual: Putting Free, Prior, and Informed Consent into practice in REDD+ Initiatives.’ This manual, developed with financial and advisory support from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Norad, serves as a practical tool for trainers and facilitators to improve understanding of FPIC among stakeholders at all levels.
“REDD+ projects continue their rapid growth trajectory across the world. Already we have seen too many of these projects go ahead without local communities being aware of FPIC and developers not going through a proper FPIC process. This manual provides a tool for our global counterparts to increase awareness and understanding of FPIC so that future project development respects the rights of local communities,” says Jim Stephenson, RECOFTC’s Program Officer for People, Forests and Climate Change.
Ronnakorn Triraganon, RECOFTC’s Senior Program Officer and expert trainer, adds, “Experience shows local people become invisible victims of forestry programs when their rights are ignored . To avoid conflict and to ensure they get benefits from any forestry intervention, including REDD+, we need to promote their rights at every step. This training manual has been developed to support field trainers and facilitators in integrating Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in any forestry initiative, and particularly in REDD+. It has been structured so they can unpack and examine the FPIC concepts to make it work in any context.”
Through its grassroots capacity building project, RECOFTC is currently rolling out FPIC training programs for grassroots stakeholders in Nepal and has plans to organize similar training programs in other project countries, including Lao PDR, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Our recently-published Climate Change, Forests, and You complements our FPIC training materials by providing local stakeholders with an introduction to the basics of climate change and REDD+.
Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for REDD+
6-day training course on negotiating community consent for REDD+ projects and programs
This course addresses the growing need for government officers, field facilitators, and project proponents to understand and accommodate meaningful and verifiable processes that respect the right of indigenous people and local communities to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) in REDD+ programming.
This publication serves as a resource for community level facilitators to provide explanations about the basics of climate change and the role of forests through answering nine frequently asked questions. full story
This manual serves as a practical tool for trainers and facilitators to improve understanding of FPIC in REDD+ among stakeholders at all levels. The manual is organized into several sections based on five learning blocks – each available for download separately – providing a quick and easy way for trainers to access relevant reference materials. full story
This guidebook provides a basis for developing country-specific guidance on employing Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) in REDD+ processes. Also available in Indonesian and Nepali. full story