The training on "Free, Prior, Informed Consent for Good Governance"

More than 30 staffs from civil society organizations and government agencies concerned have been trained on the Free, Prior, Informed Consent for Good Governance.
Group photo
ຮູບກຸ່ມ ຂອງການຝຶກອົບຮົມ (ແອບປິກ).

During the 9-12 July, 2019  The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Lao Biodiversity Association (LBA) and World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), under the project of “Strengthening NSAs’ voices for improved forest governance in the Mekong region  (Voice For Mekong Forests Project V4MF)” organized a training workshop on "Free, Prior, Informed Consent for Good Governance" in Vientiane Capital, supported by the European Union.

The workshop was opened by Chairperson Mrs. Khambang Thiphavong, Programme Manager, Lao Biodiversity Association (LBA), vice president of Lao CSO FLEGT Network and programme manager and participants from CSO staffs and government staffs concerned (i.e. Department of Forestry, Department of Forest Inspection, FLEGT Standing Office , Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Offices of Xayaboury and Attapeu Provinces) who are working with the target communities, aims to generate understanding and integrate FPIC into their projects and to ensure the right of the communities are protected based on the principles of FPIC.

Trainees discussion with villager about the FPIC in their village
Trainees discuss with villagers about PFIC.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is a globally known principles that acknowledges the right of indigenous and local communities to take part in decisions, policies and activities that could affect them. FPIC is most clearly enunciated under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). The main intention of instituting FPIC is to avoid indigenous people and communities to be forcibly removed from their lands and territories resulting from any development or activities on land that they associate with. 

The principle of FPIC was initially widely used under climate related negotiation especially in the context of safeguards for REDD+. However, in recent times, FPIC has also been used as a safeguard for any development intervention including that of forestry and forestry – related activities including timber, oil palm, and infrastructure and dam construction. Any or all of these initiatives has the potential to result in negative repercussions to the communities directly affected by them. These repercussions could include loss of land, security of tenure and homes, livelihoods, rights of expression and participation in decision making processes.

The training was conducted for four days, including one day field visit to Ban Yai Nachalern, Sangthong District, Vientiane Province. The training was facilitated by RECOFTC (Lao Country Program and Regional office from Thailand) and Lao Biodiversity Association 

The main objective of the training is: (i) to enable participants to explain the key principles and supporting values of FPIC in the forestry context; discuss how FPIC is important in promoting good governance in forestry related initiatives; (ii) identify initial design steps in implementing processes that respect local communities’ rights through FPIC; and  (iii) develop action points for interventions that can promote good governance through applying FPIC in their own work contexts.

(FPIC) is new for me but it is a very important tool for project planning and implementation. APEDC will try to raise awareness and apply FPIC to our activities in communities to encourage them especially the ethnic groups to participate in decision making process. 

(Trainee: Chantha Ouanthavongsy).

It has been proposed that the promotion of FPIC could lead towards better forest governance and respecting the rights of various marginalized actors. Furthermore, FPIC has also become a standard that is encouraged for businesses whose operations could have a direct effect on local and indigenous communities in the region. In forest-related initiatives such as REDD+ and FLEGT, FPIC is slowly becoming the standard procedure to ensure good governance. FPIC can be one form of legal measure or tools that is recognized as not just an obligation but also an effective way to safeguard governance.