Democratic Republic of Congo: Forest Peoples Programme launches pioneering book on indigenous peoples free, prior and informed consent

As part of its project: "REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)", Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and it’s local partners in the DRC have published, in collaboration with the Organisation d’Accompagnement et d’Appui aux Pygmées (OSAPY), the first volume of a new book series titled Forêts Africaines - Tabernacle des Savoirs (FOATAS) (African Forests – Fountain of Knowledge).

The principle theme of this first volume is: Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

Some of the partners that participated include ; Actions pour les Droits, l'Environnement et la Vie (ADEV), Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Ecosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF), Cercle pour la Défense de l'Environnement (CEDEN), et Centre d'Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (CAMV).

Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent contains contributions from 12 international authors (Congolese, French, American, Belgian, Cameroonian, Madagascan, amongst others) and discusses the right of local and indigenous communities to FPIC.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent is the right of local and indigenous communities to give or withhold their consent to proposed development projects that may affect their lands, resources or lifestyle.

If extractive industries, agribusiness and conservation projects do not respect a community’s right to FPIC, community food security is often weakened, and poverty is made worse.

FPIC is recognised in international law (in particular in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), in the jurisprudence of the monitoring bodies of international treaties on human rights, such as the Inter-American Court on Human Rights as well as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

FPIC is also progressively being included as a key principle in the operational policies of international financial institutions and non-state entities more generally.

The book demonstrates how large multinational companies, in search of large tracts of land to establish their investment programmes, do not pay adequate attention to the rights of communities already living there.

Through detailed examples taken from across the world, the authors demonstrate that the development of local and indigenous communities is not possible if the right to FPIC is not incorporated into binding national laws and effectively implemented on the ground.

Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent was officially launched on Friday 10th May, 2013 at a high profile event in Kinshasa attended by the General Secretariat of the DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism (MECNT), academic institutions, national and international civil society organisations, development partners and several media organisations.

During the launch event, the General Secretariat of MECNT reiterated the fact that this publication is the first and only of its kind in the DRC to improve public knowledge on the issue of FPIC, and to serve as a guiding instrument for decision makers in the process of informed decision making, which should lead the country to better respecting community rights and sustainable development.

MECNT is very satisfied with the publication, which it regards as a valued contribution to government efforts to ensure that interests of all stakeholders, including local and indigenous peoples, are taken into account in all development projects taking place around the country.

The launch event was concluded by the Secretary General of the MECNT's representative, Mr. Benjamin Toirambe, Director of the Sustainable Development Department at MECNT.

FPP and its local partners are reflecting on how best to build on the academic, technical and political enthusiasm currently manifested in the DRC following this publication launch.

Their aim is to convene information exchange meetings and consultations with national and provincial parliamentarians in order to advocate for FPIC integration into Congolese legislation.

Meetings with universities and other academic institutions are also planned in order to encourage and popularise research on FPIC in the country.

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Date: 24/05/2013


Democratic Republic of Congo


Culture and Tradition
Indigenous Peoples
Natural resources
Land Rights

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Press Contact Information

Name: John Nelson, Africa Regional Coordinator, Forest Peoples Programme

Telephone: +44 (0)1608 652893

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