SD ToolboxAnd now another Participatory Development Tool: Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
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30 April 2012
SD Quote of the Issue
The path that values ecosystem function as the basis of life and wealth is the one that leads to sustainability, less conflict, and ultimately, survival for the human race.
- John D. Liu
Indigenous peoples and local communities have fought for the recognition by their national governments, the international community and by companies of their right to give or withhold consent for project development to control their own future and the future of their people.
This right is often violated when there are large-scale development projects - like a mine, dam, highway, plantation or logging. Often indigenous peoples and other community members are left out of the planning and decision-making process in these projects. The outcome can be devastating. Indigenous Peoples and project-affected communities risk a permanent loss to their livelihoods and cultures. Lands can be damaged or taken without their consent. Resettlement is often forced on communities with inadequate compensation offered.
This should not happen. Indigenous Peoples are protected from this situation under International law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Safeguards also exist for other project-affected communities. Indigenous peoples and local communities have the right to be involved in any decision that affects their lands, resources or territories. They have the right to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. They have the right to reach a collective decision through processes defined and determined by themselves.
Illustration: FPIC Steps
(Click on picture to enlarge)
“Free, prior and informed consent recognizes indigenous peoples’ inherent and prior rights to their lands and resources and respects their legitimate authority to require that third parties enter into an equal and respectful relationship with them, based on the principle of informed consent” .
› Free from force, intimidation, manipulation, coercion or pressure by any government or company.
› Prior to government allocating land for particular land uses and prior to approval of specific projects. You must be given enough time to consider all the information and make a decision.
› Informed, you must be given all the relevant information to make your decision about whether to agree to the project or not
- This information must be in a language that you can easily understand.
- You must have access to independent information, not just information from the project
developers or your government.
- You must also have access to experts on law and technical issues, if requested, to help make your decision.
› Consent requires that the people involved in the project allow communities to say
“Yes” or “No” to the project and at each stage of the project, according to the decision-making process of your choice.
Acquiring early and sustained input from indigenous peoples and local communities help ensures that all initiatives affecting their lives respond to their priorities, are in consonance with their culture and cosmogony and reflect their choices of development by building on their knowledge, initiatives and motivation. This, in turn, helps increase ownership, accountability and sustainability. Additionally, participation enhances the capacity to identify and adjust to emergent problems, and to engage in advocacy and policy dialogue with local and national policy makers.
FPIC can also benefit companies investing in large-scale development projects. For example, it can reduce the risk of conflict between the community and company if communities are actively involved in project decisions from the outset. Also governments can benefit from protecting this right of their people.
How to get “consent”?
To give consent requires that the people involved in the project allow communities to give or withhold their consent to the project and at each stage of the project through customary or other community-deﬁned decision-making processes using their own freely chosen representatives.
Local people have their own decision-making structures and processes, therefore, governments and companies often convince a chief or leader to sign away consent, without the authority or knowledge of community members who make decisions by consensus. This inevitably leads to problems and surprises in the future. In some cases, traditional decision-making structures are no longer functional or are not adapted to this type of decision. An FPIC policy needs to adapt to, respect and support local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ own participative decision-making processes, and the people need the capacity and knowledge in order to make a free and informed decision.
Consent requires time and an effective system for communicating among all affected community. Consultation should be undertaken in good faith. The parties should establish a dialogue allowing them to find appropriate solutions in an atmosphere of mutual respect in good faith, and full and equitable participation. It should result in equitable agreements, and should be part of ongoing processes of communication and negotiation, rather than a one-off action.
How to deal with the conflicts?
• Community opposition can arise from impacts that are generated at any stage in the project cycle. As a result, FPIC must be ongoing and iterative if it is to be an effective risk management strategy.
• Addressing the risks of community opposition before the project begins is likely to be much more successful and cost-effective than responding to community opposition later on.
• Mere engagement or consultation may not be sufﬁcient to fully address the risks. Consultations that do not resolve a community’s reasons for opposition or achieve consent will provide little assurance against potentially costly and disruptive conﬂict.
• Refusal of consent: when FPIC is explained to developers and government officials, it is often difficult for them to accept that communities have the right to withhold consent. This right is fundamental to FPIC, and is supported by numerous international laws, instruments, and conventions. In explaining the risk of a community withholding consent, it is important to emphasize (a) the risk of proceeding without consent, (b) that the right to FPIC is the right of a community, and not an individual right of veto over a proposed development, and (c) giving and withholding of consent is time-specific – both can be re-visited and revised. It is also location specific: A community may agree that part of their customary area is included in a project, but may want another area to be kept outside of the project.
• In many areas of Southeast Asia, FPIC is also being promoted by NGOs to support communities affected by plantation and forestry industries, so as to give these communities more leverage in their negotiations with companies. As a result, FPIC and the NGOs that promote it may be seen as ‘anti-development. Project proponents need to manage this risk by ensuring that regular communication is maintained with government, proponents, and other stakeholders to avoid them misunderstanding the right to FPIC and the process to obtain consent.
Criteria that ensure a FPIC process has adequate community’s involvement
Information: Affected communities should be provided sufﬁcient information in local languages regarding the proposed project. Governments and project proponents should work with communities to understand the types of information the communities need to make informed decisions, and must allow sufﬁcient time for communities to review and discuss information provided to them.
Inclusiveness: All interested community members should be allowed and encouraged to take part in the FPIC process, including stakeholders affected by indirect or cumulative impacts.
Dialogue: Dialogue within an FPIC process should be formalized, continue throughout the lifetime of a project, and include project proponents and government and local stakeholder representatives.
Legal recognition: FPIC should be formally recognized through binding negotiated agreements. There should be a sufﬁcient period of time for community decision making prior to project commencement.
Monitoring and evaluation: Opportunities for appropriate and independent community monitoring should be put in place. Monitoring and evaluation should be supported by independent grievance processes to ensure that community concerns are addressed throughout a project’s lifetime.
Corporate buy-in: Project proponents should view FPIC as an inherent and necessary cost of project development. Where appropriate, developers should ﬁnd constructive ways to channel funds to communities to maintain the integrity of the process and the independence of the community’s role.
"Change Readiness Index"
The ODI/KPMG Change Readiness Index is a forward-looking index which provides insight into which countries are better prepared to cope with change and take advantage of the resulting opportunities. The Change Readiness Index captures government capability and the capability of a country as a whole - including the private sector and civil society - to manage and respond effectively to change.
The Change Readiness Index takes a forward-looking perspective by capturing the underlying factors that are likely to determine a country’s capability for managing change, which in turn may be an important factor in supporting sustained growth in the long term. The Index combines data from a number of existing indicators with new measures that have been identified to capture specific elements of change readiness that are not currently being captured, including risk management capabilities, efforts to promote economic diversification, strong governance, and social safety nets.
›› Straight to Change Readiness Index
SD Knowledge Bank
UNEP's Foresight Report
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP)'s “Foresight Report” outlines the findings of UNEP’s Foresight Process aimed at identifying and ranking the most pressing emerging environmental issues. The report outlines 21 emerging issues and provides governments, civil society and business with scientific assessments to forge a forward-looking outcome at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).
According to UNEP, the Foresight Panel involved 400 international scientists and experts. After reviewing and analyzing emerging issues, the Foresight Process concluded that the most pressing one is the need to align governance to the challenges of global sustainability. The second most pressing issue identified is the need to transform human capacities for the 21st century, and to move towards a green economy. The third most pressing issue is the need to ensure food safety and security for nine billion people.
Other issues highlighted by the Foresight Panel include the need to: reconnect science and policy; catalyze rapid and transformative changes in human behavior towards the environment; develop new insights on water-land interactions; accelerate the implementation of environmentally-friendly renewable energy; integrate biodiversity across the environmental and economic agendas; manage the unintended consequences of climate change mitigation and adaptation; and develop a new approach for minimizing risks of novel technologies and chemicals.
›› UNEP's Foresight Report
Webinar: Explore Energy & Climate Scenarios with En-ROADS (free)
Online (Detail at the links.)
22 May 2012
|2012 World Migratory Bird Day: Migratory Birds and People - Together through Time
12-13 May 2012
28 - 30 June 2012
15-19 May 2012
6-15 September 2012
17 May 2012
|Various Training Courses in Thailand, Nepal and Indonesia|
May, June, July, August, September
SD Call for Submission
International Workshop on Corruption, Natural Resources and the Environment
Organised by Asia Pacific Network for Environmental Governance, The Australian National University and the Center for International Forestry Research, 25-26 October 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia
Corruption is thought to have significant negative effects on natural resource management and the environment. However, evidence of the impacts of corruption on the environment is still limited. Even more uncertain is whether policies to reduce corruption in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, and water management should be developed and what they may consist of given the risk, for instance, that they might criminalize the rural poor.
The International Workshop on Corruption, Natural Resources and the Environment aims to bring together leading researchers working on corruption in different sectors to shed light on corruption’s impacts and priorities for research and policy development.
The organizers invite papers on the following topics:
1. The social and economic impacts of corruption in biodiversity management, climate change activities, fisheries, forestry, and water management;
2. The theory and practice of anti-corruption policies in resource and environmental management.
Two types of papers will be considered for oral presentation: research papers and policy papers.
Research papers are expected to be of an academic standard to allow their publication in a special issue of an international scientific journal.
The selection process will seek a balance between papers focusing on the impacts of corruption and papers focusing on anti-corruption policies.
Research papers that have already been published (or submitted for publication) will not be considered).
Policy papers address experiences of corruption encountered by natural resource management practitioners. They are not expected to be of an academic standard for publication, but they should shed light on the impacts of corruption and/or how to design and implement anti-corruption policies.
The organizers will provide funding to the authors of up to twenty papers to attend the workshop. Allocation of funding will be based on the academic merit of the paper and authors’ funding needs.
Abstracts of papers should be submitted by 31th May 2012. Authors will be notified about acceptance (including whether funding will be provided) by 30th June 2012. A full draft of the paper will be due by 30th September 2012.
Abstracts of Research papers should:
·Include Author’s name, Affiliation and title, Title of paper, Description of the proposed content of the paper, References (maximum 10)
·Be about 500 words in length, excluding references.
Abstracts of Policy papers should:
·Include Author’s name, Affiliation and title, Title of paper, Description of the proposed content of the paper
·Be less than 300 words in length
Research papers should:
·Include Author’s name, Affiliation, Title of paper, Body of paper, References in Harvard style
·Be less than 8,000 words
Policy papers should:
·Include Author’s name, Affiliation, Title of paper, Body of paper, References (if needed) in Harvard style
·Be less than 3,000 words
Abstracts and selected papers should be submitted (in Word or PDF format) to: email@example.com
SD VideosClimate Change and Agriculture
SD e-LearningFAO's Free e-Learning Course on Food Security and Climate Change
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)'s new free course aims to build understanding on how climate change effects agriculture and food security and practical steps that can be taken to minimize negative impacts.
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›› Straight to FAO's Free e-learning course on Food Security and Climate Change