Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) is recognised in many international law instruments. Of these, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, 2007) provides one of the clearest articulations of FPIC.
Consent is free from force, intimidation, manipulation, coercion or pressure by any government or company.
Consent is obtained prior to government authorisations, allocation of exploration permits, operating licences etc.
All the relevant information must be presented to communities and civil society in an accurate, and accessible manner independent of vested interests
Requires that communities and civil society have the right to say “Yes” or “No” to the project in accordance with community decision-making processes and at each stage of a project. It means that civil society can withhold consent or can determine the conditions for consent if it is given.
The following resources follow a more "consultative" approach to FPIC which can have more benefit to Indigenous Peoples from US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This "consultative" approach has little to no benefit to the smaller tribes and clans from low-income countries, who generally, would rather have the consent process remain as envisioned in the UNDRIP.
NB: Indigenous Peoples from US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada also argue that a "consultative" approach doesn't always benefit their communities
The Deep Sea Mining campaign believes there cannot be a blanket approach to FPIC and that all communities have the right to veto projects from the outset - this means that Indigenous Peoples can reject or say NO a proposed project. Given that refusal to engage in consultations constitutes an exercise of their right to self-determination, participation in such consultations should not be assumed to be a mandatory requirement. Mandatory participation in consent seeking processes would be inconsistent with the notion of seeking voluntary consent in a manner that is free of coercion.
Consultation DOES NOT mean Consent! FPIC should not be merely a consultation process Respecting the right to FPIC cannot be reduced to a process with boxes that can be ticked as they are completed. The right to FPIC is part of peoples’ collective right to self-determination, which includes the right to determine what type of process of participation, consultation, and decision-making is proper for them and this includes their own time-frame to make these decisions. By recognising the right of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as owners and managers of their customary territory, FPIC must assure them a decisive voice at every stage of development planning and implementation of projects that affect them.
“The SPC-EU Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project Regional Training Workshop on Social Impacts and Stakeholder Participation’ was held in June in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The Deep Sea Mining campaign’s communication coordinator presented to over 70 participants on Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the importance of it as both a principle and a process in considering Deep Sea Mining projects. You can view and download the Free, Prior and Informed Consent Presentation below as well as the Accompanying notes. es.