The Russians and Americans told the UN how they organize the FPC – Free, Prior and Informed Consent process when clarifying the opinions of indigenous peoples

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A parallel event on the sidelines of the 21st session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues “Building the capacity and experience of indigenous peoples in implementing the FPIC principle” was held at the UN.

The participants of the meeting discussed the experience of FPIC, which, today, is in Russia and the USA. For example, Co-Chair of the firms American Indian Law Practice Jennifer Waddle said that in the USA today there are dozens of laws that protect the cultural values of aboriginal peoples. But no law obliges the authorities to conduct FPIC.

Renowned FPIC theorist Gregory Guldin of Cross-Cultural Consulting Services, PLLC (Seattle, USA) said: “Companies may even go to the extent of changing the way they do business to gain indigenous consent.”

Director of the American Indian Law Program Kristen A. Carpenter asked the organizer of the event, recently elected member of the UN Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples Antonina Gorbunova: “How do indigenous communities in Russia solve problems of interaction with authorities and industrial companies?”

“FPIC is a process of building trust between industrial companies and the indigenous population. The first successful full-cycle FPIC have already been implemented in Russia. First of all, it is in the village of Tukhard on the Taimyr Peninsula. There, our group held a meeting about the transfer of the settlement to a new location from the territory of an industrial facility,” Antonina Gorbunova said.

During the event, detailed reports on the Russian and American FPIC experience were heard. In particular, photo materials about protest actions in the USA were shown. In these photos, indigenous peoples are fighting for their right to prevent the construction of industrial facilities and roads on the territory of traditional nature management.

Sergey Sizonenko, a participant of the event, a Russian representative of the Dolgan people, said that the FPIC in the village of Tukhard on Taimyr was demanded by the indigenous peoples themselves. Both the industrial company Norilskiy Nikel and the local residents wanted to carry out an informed approval procedure.

“An open dialogue between the peoples of the United States and Russia turned out at today’s UN site. This event has already served as a starting point in the beginning professional cooperation of lawyers – defenders of the rights of indigenous peoples on both sides of the Pacific”, said Daria Ekkman, participant of the event.

The world practice of applying the principle of FPIC – free, prior and informed consent – is still being formed. The complexity of the process is due to the impossibility of creating unified approaches that can reflect the diversity of laws and customs of indigenous peoples. Therefore, the practical experience of those countries and companies, those regions and communities of indigenous peoples who have already passed the FPIC procedure or are at the stage of its passage is so valuable.

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