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Appendix C — Social Safeguard Questions and FPIC

  1. Has free, pri­or, and informed con­sent (FPIC) of pri­ma­ry stake­hold­ers been obtained for activ­i­ties affect­ing lands and oth­er resources tra­di­tion­al­ly occu­pied and/or used by those stake­hold­ers? Is there a plan for ongo­ing engage­ment with stake­hold­er groups to ensure FPIC as the pro­gram evolves? More infor­ma­tion about the applic­a­bil­i­ty of FPIC to Con­ser­van­cy projects is pro­vid­ed at the end of this appendix.
  2. If applic­a­ble, does the project ful­ly con­sid­er the dig­ni­ty, human rights, tra­di­tion­al knowl­edge, and cul­tur­al her­itage and prac­tices of peo­ple affect­ed by the project? What actions or con­sid­er­a­tions account for these aspects? Spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion should be giv­en to under­stand­ing who holds cus­tom­ary and for­mal rights and access to land and nat­ur­al resources vital to liveli­hoods, and socio-cul­tur­al and human devel­op­ment. One resource for iden­ti­fy­ing lands with legal or cus­tom­ary rights and uses claimed by indige­nous peo­ples can be found here. Note that cus­tom­ary rights or legal tenure also apply in many oth­er con­texts (e.g., water use [West­ern US water rights], land use in polit­i­cal­ly con­tend­ed areas [e.g. small plot farm­ing in Colom­bian Andes], recre­ation­al access [e.g. use of coun­ty ease­ments for riv­er access by minor­i­ty groups for swim­ming or fish­ing]), etc.
  3. If the project con­tributes to sus­tain­able eco­nom­ic and human devel­op­ment, is it done in a man­ner that is social­ly and cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate for the pri­ma­ry stakeholders?
  4. Is full con­sid­er­a­tion giv­en to how to share or dis­trib­ute ben­e­fits (e.g. recre­ation­al access, media atten­tion, mar­ket access, rep­re­sen­ta­tion in deci­sion process­es, increased income) from the project equi­tably, fair­ly, and transparently?
  5. How does the project ensure that adverse effects from con­ser­va­tion pro­grams are assessed, pre­vent­ed and mit­i­gat­ed for affect­ed groups?
  6. Are all stake­hold­ers being giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to mean­ing­ful­ly par­tic­i­pate in the con­ser­va­tion plan­ning and imple­men­ta­tion process? How does the project ensure full and effec­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion through­out the project cycle? Has con­sid­er­a­tion been giv­en to the most vul­ner­a­ble, dis­ad­van­taged, and mar­gin­al­ized groups, or those who lack voice and deci­sion-mak­ing pow­er who may be affect­ed (pos­i­tive­ly or neg­a­tive­ly) by the project? These groups may include indige­nous peo­ples, com­mu­ni­ties depen­dent on the local envi­ron­ment, racial and eth­nic minor­i­ty groups, women, chil­dren, and the elderly.
  7. If applic­a­ble, does the project inten­tion­al­ly ben­e­fit gen­der equal­i­ty, equi­ty, and wom­en’s empowerment?
  8. Does the project sup­port trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty of nat­ur­al resource con­ser­va­tion and good gov­er­nance by con­sis­tent­ly dis­clos­ing and shar­ing infor­ma­tion about inter­ven­tion plans with pri­ma­ry stake­hold­ers in a cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate manner?
  9. Does the project com­ply with applic­a­ble local and nation­al laws, inter­na­tion­al treaties and con­ven­tions, and oth­er rel­e­vant rules?
  10. Is there an account­abil­i­ty sys­tem that is trans­par­ent and acces­si­ble for pri­ma­ry stake­hold­ers to share con­cerns or file com­plaints about the con­ser­va­tion pro­gram? Account­abil­i­ty sys­tems should ensure time­ly respons­es to stake­hold­ers, and also mon­i­tor the effec­tive­ness of the cor­rec­tive actions.
  11. If there is a sig­nif­i­cant risk of adverse impacts that direct­ly threat­en mar­gin­al­ized groups, or that threat­en the project (e.g., through rep­u­ta­tion­al, finan­cial, or legal risk), is there a mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem in place to track adverse impacts?

Under­stand­ing when FPIC (Free, pri­or and informed con­sent) is needed

FPIC is the prin­ci­ple that any­one has the right to give or with­hold infor­ma­tion or knowl­edge that they pos­sess, and any com­mu­ni­ty or indi­vid­ual has the right to give or with­hold con­sent to pro­posed projects that may affect the lands they cus­tom­ar­i­ly own, occu­py or oth­er­wise use.

FPIC has two gen­er­al appli­ca­tions in con­ser­va­tion work:

1) FPIC is required for any project work that will affect lands or resources owned, man­aged, occu­pied or used by oth­ers. For exam­ple, when you ask per­mis­sion to enter a pri­vate­ly owned par­cel of land in the U.S., that per­mis­sion is a ver­sion of FPIC. We fol­low the same prac­tices for all types of lands — pri­vate­ly owned, com­mu­nal­ly owned, or tra­di­tion­al­ly occu­pied lands, or oth­er resources affect­ed by our projects.

2) FPIC applies when­ev­er you are col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion from an indi­vid­ual or group of peo­ple. In this case, they have the right to under­stand what you plan to do with the infor­ma­tion, and then with that under­stand­ing, decide whether or not they want to answer your ques­tions, and how they wish the infor­ma­tion they share to be used. When a reporter asks some­one they are inter­view­ing if they are will­ing to go ‘on the record’, that is a form of secur­ing FPIC. The per­son being inter­viewed knows who the reporter works for, can ask any ques­tions about the use of the infor­ma­tion they share, and knows that if they speak on the record, any­thing they say can be used pub­licly. Choos­ing to speak ‘off the record’ is a choice the indi­vid­ual can make that lim­its the way the infor­ma­tion they share can be used.

For both appli­ca­tions described above, FPIC is com­mon­ly secured via sim­ple ver­bal con­sent — please see this guid­ance on informed con­sent scripts and ele­ments. It is impor­tant to fol­low this FPIC pro­to­col to ensure trans­paren­cy, the right of the indi­vid­ual to choose to share or with­hold infor­ma­tion, the appro­pri­ate and expect­ed use of shared infor­ma­tion, and to lim­it legal risk.

Final­ly, when the intent of gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion from peo­ple is to pro­vide gen­er­al­iz­able knowl­edge, a stricter form of FPIC is required as the Con­ser­van­cy has an SOP that cov­ers research involv­ing human sub­jects. Please vis­it the CONNECT page main­tained by the Office of the Chief Sci­en­tist for more infor­ma­tion and resources about Con­ser­van­cy staff con­duct­ing human sub­ject research.


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