Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) has emerged as one of the most important human rights and environmental principles of our time. It requires that governments, corporations, and other actors, before beginning or continuing natural resource development projects or other operations, first obtain the FPIC of potentially affected individuals and communities through a robust consultation process that includes use of culturally appropriate means and “representative institutions”, allowance of due process for deliberation and dissent, and many other requirements. In cases where a project potentially threatens the core survival mechanisms of a group, FPIC goes beyond consultation and provides the affected group with an absolute right to withhold consent. FPIC is not an aspirational principle for the future, but is an on-the-ground requirement applicable to any project right now, and is increasingly being enforced in binding terms by international and national courts.
Forum Nobis helps indigenous, tribal, and other potentially affected communities understand and protect their FPIC rights. Through its counsel, consulting, and communications practices, Forum Nobis works with affected individuals and communities on FPIC issues and projects such as:
- demanding and conducting genuinely robust “good faith” FPIC consultation processes;
- assessing and critiquing “consultation” processes that fall short of the appropriate standard;
- holding local votes and other democratic deliberation processes to the highest international standards;
- using FPIC to understand threats to, and avoid losses to, traditional territories and environmental resources;
- using FPIC to understand the scope of potential threats of social disintegration and related human rights abuses;
- using FPIC to make the right choices for their future free from unfair outside pressure or influence.