No Compromise on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to FPIC in the CFS!

13 October 2014
Declaration

Ensuring that investment in agriculture is done responsibly is vital for indigenous peoples, whose identities and cultural survival are inextricably linked to their lands and natural resources. Respecting this link is a fundamental principle in international law and jurisprudence, the recognition of which indigenous peoples have fought for and won and which reaffirms their right to determine the outcome of decision-making that affects them, rather than merely being involved in the process.

October 2014

Ensuring that investment in agriculture is done responsibly is vital for indigenous peoples, whose identities and cultural survival are inextricably linked to their lands and natural resources. Respecting this link is a fundamental principle in international law and jurisprudence, the recognition of which indigenous peoples have fought for and won and which reaffirms their right to determine the outcome of decision-making that affects them, rather than merely being involved in the process.

This right – known as Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) – is protected in human rights law and is based upon the right of all peoples to self-determination. In practice, it means that indigenous peoples are able to accept or refuse an investment project that will affect them, with all the necessary information in hand and without coercion. In a world where land grabbing is rife and indigenous peoples are routinely being kicked off their ancestral lands thus threatening their very existence, it has never been more important to protect this right to FPIC.

Despite this, the Canadian Government is blocking the inclusion of FPIC for indigenous peoples in the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, due to be endorsed by the Committee for World Food Security (CFS) in October 2014. The result of a two-year long global consultation, these Principles aim to prevent investments in agriculture from driving social and environmental devastation, and instead encourage positive investments and policies that prioritise food security over corporate profit.

Despite having previously accepted this inclusion in another international agreement, Canada now stands alone, as 100+ other governments have agreed that the Principles must include the right of indigenous peoples to FPIC. Although this country registered an objection to paragraph 20 of the Outcome document of the recent World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, it did not attempt to rescind indigenous peoples’ rights to FPIC.

Canada’s actions to block FPIC in the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems are unacceptable and a step backwards in the global governance of resource rights. They risk seriously undermining the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide, further weakening the Principles and diminishing the credibility of the CFS as a space to advance the progressive realisation of the right to food.

For all signatories, download the attachment

Photo of 'frog on bear' by Ingrid Kerr