Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) can be characterized in three distinct but related ways: 1) a right, 2) a principle and 3) and process.
FPIC as a Right: The right to FPIC can be simply stated as “the right of indigenous peoples to make free and informed choices about the development of their lands and resources” (Ward 2011: 54). This right is recognized in international human rights law and other international instruments (e.g. United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)).
FPIC as a Principle: FPIC protects the right of Indigenous Peoples to negotiate and make decisions regarding development activities that affect Indigenous communities. It does so by ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are free to make their decisions and not coerced or intimidated prior to the start of development activities, and that these decisions are based on full information about the scope and impacts of the proposed development. The principle of FPIC ultimately ensures that Indigenous Peoples have a choice to give or withhold consent and that that choice is respected.
FPIC as a Process: An FPIC process ensures the implementation of the FPIC principle in order to protect the right of Indigenous Peoples to make decisions on their traditional/ancestral lands that may be affected by development. In the context of FSC and forest management in Canada, an FPIC process may be defined as a mutually agreed and culturally appropriate engagement activity based on the recognition of the right to FPIC and where the final objective of the engagement activity is to obtain consent for specific forest management activities.
FPIC Guidance Document
To improve the way Certificate Holders address the requirement of recognizing and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples in relation to the Canadian National Forest Management Standard, FSC Canada developed the following FPIC Guidance Document:
FPIC Learning Videos
Review of the core concepts of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, as per the FSC Canada National Forest Stewardship Standard and Free, Prior and Informed Consent
- FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard of Canada (2018)
- FSC Canada Free, Prior and Informed Consent Guidance (2019)
- FSC International Guidelines for the Implementation of the Right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) (2021)
- Video of the Centre for International Governance Innovation
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act – The Implementation