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Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - A Guide for Companies
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has developed a guide for corporate investors worldwide. The document, titled "Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Oil Palm Plantations: A Guide for Companies", was originally drafted for the first of a planned series of RSPO-sponsored training workshops on FPIC, which were carried out by RRI Partner Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and Collaborators Indoesia-based SawitWatch and AMAN.
‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’ (FPIC) has emerged as a key principle in international law and jurisprudence related to Indigenous Peoples and has been widely accepted in private sector policies of ‘corporate social responsibility’ in sectors like dam building, extractive industries, forestry, plantations, conservation, bioprospecting and environmental impact assessment. It has also been endorsed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as a key principle in its Principles and Criteria (P&C). Likewise, ‘free and informed consent’ is a requirement of the Forest Stewardship Council.
FPIC implies informed, non-coercive negotiations between investors and companies or the government and Indigenous Peoples / customary law communities prior to oil palm estates, timber plantations or other enterprises being established and developed on their customary lands. It is accepted as necessary to ensure a level playing field between communities and the government or companies and, where it results in negotiated agreements, provides companies with greater security and less risky investments.
In line with international human rights law, in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s Principles and Criteria, the principle of ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’ (FPIC) has a central place. It establishes the basis on which equitable agreements between local communities and companies (and government) can be developed in ways that ensure that the legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples and other local rights-holders are respected.
With funding from the RSPO, this guide for companies aims to raise awareness about the concept of ‘free, prior and informed consent’ and its importance in social performance. The text was elaborated through series of four three-day workshops held during 2008 in Pekanbaru, Palankaraya and Jayapura in Indonesia and Miri in Malaysia, which provided training to both communities and companies, and also local government, about how successful procedures can be carried out in line with the principle of FPIC.
The workshops included training on how to set-up and organise a documented system for negotiations that enables indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders to express their views in negotiations and for these views and wishes to be included in decision-making. Download the guide here.
Posted By David Robeck at 12:24pm on September 06, 2012
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