[UN-REDD] Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent

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Indigenous peoples” and “forest-dependent communities” are essential to the success of REDD+ given that the majority of the world’s remaining forests in developing countries are located where they live, often within their ancestral and custom­ary lands, and where in most cases they have for centuries played a historical and cultur­al role in the sustainable management of these forests with relative success, especially in the case of indigenous peoples. Inadequate mechanisms for effective participation of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities in land use decisions could seriously compromise the delivery of both local and global benefits and the long-term sustainability of REDD+ actions and investments, as well as negatively affect internation­ally recognized human rights. In this respect, while citing the Human Rights Committee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food explains that “no people’s land, including in particular indigenous peoples, can have its use changed without prior consultation.” He thus recommends that any changes in land use can only take place “with free, prior and informed consent” and emphasizes that this “is particularly important for indigenous communities, in view of the discrimination and marginalization they have been histori­cally subjected to.”

Recognizing the critical role of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communi­ties to the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme has prioritized stakeholder engagement from its inception. Following a series of extensive consultations with indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities, the UN-REDD Programme developed Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement, which have since been harmonized with guidance from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) on the same topic. These Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Stakeholder Engage­ment for REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest-Dependent Communities (hereafter called “Joint Stakeholder Engagement Guidelines”) focus on principles for effective participation and consultation and concrete guidance on planning and implementing consultations.

A key component of effective stakeholder engagement and consultation is free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). This document therefore takes the Joint Stakeholder Engagement Guidelines one step further by outlining a normative, policy and operational framework for UN-REDD Programme partner countries to seek and obtain FPIC. It will in turn support UN-REDD Programme partner countries to apply UN-REDD Programme guidelines and principles, undertake effective consultations and obtain consent as and when appropri­ate, as determined by the partner country in consultation with relevant rights-holders and consistent with their duties and obligations under international law.

This document is based on recommendations received during three regional consultations on FPIC and grievance mechanisms, held in Viet Nam (June 2010), Panama (October 2010), and Tanzania (January 2011); and also responds to feedback received from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (February 2011). The Guidelines have been revised most recently based on recommendations arising from comments on a draft version received during a public consultation period (1 December 2011 – 20 January 2012), an Expert Workshop on the Guidelines in Geneva (10 – 11 February 2012), and the lessons learned from FPIC pilot experiences undertaken by Viet Nam’s UN-REDD National Programme and Indonesia’s UN-REDD National Programme, as presented at the Second UN-REDD Programme Regional Workshop on FPIC Shared Learning in Bogor, Indonesia (19 – 20 April 2012). The Guidelines also draw on the historical experience of select cases relevant to the integration of FPIC into national strategies and activities.

Click here to download full guidelines.