Free prior and informed consent: an indigenous peoples’ right and a good practice for local communities

  • 10/10/2016
  • FAO

Indigenous Peoples' right to give or withhold consent to development projects that affect their natural resources and ways of life has become stronger thanks to a new manual that guides development actors in designing and implementing such projects. The Manual on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) outlines essential ways to ensure Indigenous Peoples, can give or withold their consent to interventions proposed in their lands and territories and do so free of coercion, prior to any decisions being made, and with the necessary information presented to them in a culturally appropriate way. Indigenous Peoples make up 75 percent of the world's cultural diversity and are custodians of no less than 80 percent of the world's biodiversity. This biodiversity holds valuable answers for current and future food challenges, including climate change. But their territories have shrunk to only 20 percent of the world's land surface. Mounting pressures from some extractive industries are placing Indigenous Peoples at the verge of collapse in parts of the world. A constant variable in all the actions that lead to forced displacement and destruction of their natural resources is the lack of respect for their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent.