One of the central pillars of the Indigenous rights movement is the demand for the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to any activities undertaken in our territories. When Indigenous communities have the right to decide what happens on their land, they retain control of their assets, the foundation upon which all of their current and future prosperity is based.
Indigenous groups and NGOs have done a great deal to define FPIC in a way that will empower Indigenous Peoples without leaving the concept of consent vulnerable to manipulation. One of the primary goals of First Peoples Worldwide’s corporate engagement effort is to go beyond defining FPIC to create operational practice and models for both Indigenous and corporate leaders so that they can put this concept to consistent and mutually beneficial use.
We are working to ensure that FPIC negotiations are inclusive and transparent, and that accurate information flows freely between interested parties. This effort has two main elements:
Supporting Indigenous Communities
Through our Keepers of the Earth Fund, First Peoples Worldwide makes a series of grants to Indigenous communities for projects aimed at strengthening their decision-making capabilities. We fund projects that seek to modernize Indigenous strategies for interface with outside negotiators while still retaining traditional forms of governance.
We provide funds to communities that are facing imminent land rights negotiations or other decisions, as well as to those that wish to improve their system of governance in order to build and strengthen community solidarity. Some grants are needed to simply fund travel between remote settlements in order to effect a collective decision, others fund training that streamlines decision-making strategies or pays for translation of documents into native Indigenous languages. We do not encourage any specific decisions or impose our views on how community decisions should be made—our funds go to communities that will use them to develop and strengthen the decision-making strategies that suit them best.
To help strengthen Indigenous self-governance by becoming a corporate sponsor of our Keepers of the Earth Fund, click here to contact us.
In May, 2012, First Peoples Worldwide conducted a training at the UN Permanent Forum on how to influence the standards by which corporations shape their policies toward Indigenous Peoples. To supplement the training, we published the Indigenous Peoples Guidebook for Free Prior Informed Consent and Corporation Standards, a detailed resource for Indigenous communities facing corporate negotiations. The guidebook provides information on all international treaties or instruments that provide Indigenous rights standards in both the public and private sectors.
If you would like to send us a copy of your company’s policies or guidelines regarding Indigenous Peoples, click here to contact us.
GLOBAL STANDARD SETTING
In order to help establish clear FPIC guidelines for corporations, First Peoples Worldwide collaborates with a number of the standard-setting associations that advise the major industries. We recently served on the technical committee of the Global Reporting Initiative, which provides sustainability reporting frameworks for companies worldwide. We continue to submit recommendations for reporting indicators to GRI on a regular basis, as well as to contribute to their newsletters in order to raise corporate awareness about Indigenous issues.
Similarly, we are working with the International Petroleum Industry Environmental and Conservation Association (IPIECA), the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), and other industry associations to ensure that Indigenous concerns are included in industry-wide standard.
We also draw much of our standard-setting guidelines from the International Standard for Integrated Sustainability (ISIS) to bring all stakeholders in multiple industries under one, consistent umbrella of FPIC standards.