Towards ‘Free, Prior, Informed Consent’ in Natural Resource Development Projects
Keywords:Free, Prior, Informed Consent, International law, Natural resources
Global demand for natural resources has pushed development projects into increasingly remote areas that are usually occupied by indigenous people. These communities are highly dependent on the natural environment for their survival, culture, and identity with a historically poor relationship with governments. Thus, the concept of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) has arisen as a right of indigenous people to self-determination under international law. Articulated in a variety of soft and hard-law instruments, FPIC has been outlined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) 2007 which essentially requires that indigenous people have the right to accept or reject natural resources developments that affect them, their land or territories. This has not been fully accepted by governments. Hence, this article investigates the application of this emergent concept to natural resources developments; and comes to the view that FPIC is still in a state of flux but is nevertheless critical to resource development stakeholders. The article concludes that FPIC is here to stay and governments need to update national laws to accommodate this important concept.
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