A Masterclass on Free, Prior and Informed Consent at the ISEAL Sustainability Standards Conference

Equitable Origin researcher Emma Hague and Aurea Nardelli from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) facilitated a masterclass entitled “FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) – improving verification on the ground” at the ISEAL Alliance’s 9th Annual Conference, which took place in Sao Paolo, Brazil, from 22nd – 23rd May.

The right to FPIC is a key principle of international human rights law to protect indigenous Peoples’ livelihoods and territories and is therefore a requirement of many sustainability standards. However, despite a growing body of knowledge around FPIC, there are limited resources designed specifically to help assurance providers verify whether FPIC has been achieved. For the last ten months, EO and RSB have been working jointly on a project funded through the ISEAL Innovations Fund to research and develop a means of addressing this challenge. The key output from this project is draft framework for a tool that can be used to aid the verification process. The tool is is multi-sided, facilitating a “co-audit” process that is jointly implemented by the assurance provider and by the affected Indigenous Peoples’ community.

In this masterclass, we explored the challenges of monitoring and verifying FPIC processes and used the collective wisdom of the workshop participants to explore and problem-shoot the draft monitoring framework. The masterclass also benefited from the active participation of two speakers. The first was Leopold von Carlowitz, from GIZ’s Extractives for Development sectoral programme, who summarised a recent GIZ paper,  “Indigenous Peoples Participation in Sustainability Standards for Extractives,” which makes a number of recommendations which the FPIC Monitoring Tool actively addresses.  The second was Yohannalíz Vega Auqui, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture’s new Director of Prior Consultation processes, who brought her wealth of field experience and direct knowledge of FPIC processes to share with participants in the masterclass.

The draft framework for the FPIC Monitoring Tool will now be further refined before being made available in the full project report due to be finalised this summer.

For further details, please contact ehague@equitableorigin.org.