Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Getting political to improve impact

Kazemi, Leila; Mebratu-Tsegaye, Tehtena

Indigenous and tribal peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) has transformative potential. Where this right is recognized and meaningfully operationalized, FPIC can help safeguard a variety of rights specific to indigenous and tribal peoples, and while doing so, remake the power relations between peoples, governments, and, in some contexts, extractives companies. Yet, this potential is far from being realized: there is a considerable gap between FPIC in theory and what happens in practice. Our research shows that the political contexts in which FPIC and prior consultation processes unfold account for much of this gap.

Global actors who support broader recognition of FPIC and improved implementation of prior consultation processes usually focus on normative standards and best practices–and much less on directly addressing the political challenges and opportunities that shape how these processes unfold.

This brief—drawing on the larger research project on which it is based—aims to spur practitioners to apply a more systematic political lens to their work on FPIC and prior consultation processes. It previews some of the key political challenges facing effective implementation, based on research from three countries in Latin America—Brazil, Colombia, and Peru—and proposes a menu of different approaches to tackle them.

This brief is part of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment's PLUS Politics series, a multi-part series of briefs from CCSI that aims to encourage practitioners to apply a more systematic political lens to their work on governance in the extractive industries.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Published Here
April 14, 2021


There was a 2019 version of this publication that was replaced with the 2020 version at the request of CCSI.