Local stakeholders in a community avocado farm in Tanzania

Safeguards: The Importance of Robust Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) For Climate Justice

Nature For Justice (N4J) has expanded its offerings in pursuit of climate justice for frontline communities to include specialized training programs that encompass in-depth Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) training, mentoring, and support services for carbon offset project developers and implementers. A robust FPIC is a prerequisite and a key component of ethical carbon projects that recognize human rights, cultural diversity, and the sovereignty of Indigenous communities. Carbon projects that place a high value on FPIC not only tackle social risks and conflicts but also strengthen their credibility, impact, and lasting sustainability.

Khulile Lamula engaging and learning from local stakeholders in Tanzania.
Khulile Lamula engaging and learning from local stakeholders in Tanzania.

Empowering Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to Participate in Projects Affecting Their Lands and Livelihoods:

Authentic community engagement and involvement is crucial for the success and long-term viability of any project, especially those impacting Indigenous peoples and local communities. At N4J, we are proud to offer specialized training programs that encompass comprehensive FPIC (Free, Prior, and Informed Consent) training, mentoring, and support services for carbon offset project developers and implementers. N4J’s FPIC training program offers the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of FPIC, emphasizing respect, transparency, and meaningful dialogue to ensure the delivery of robust FPIC processes. The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market has a set of Core Carbon Principles that include an assessment framework that mandates that high-integrity carbon projects must clearly demonstrate robust FPIC. FPIC is also a helpful tool to ensure that a project is following international human rights laws such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), UN-REDD Operational Guidance, and ILO 169. By prioritizing FPIC, high-integrity carbon projects not only mitigate social risks and conflicts but also enhance their credibility, effectiveness, and long-term sustainability. In essence, robust FPIC is not just a requirement but a cornerstone of ethical carbon initiatives that respect human rights, cultural diversity, and the sovereignty of indigenous peoples.

FPIC is essential for securing social license and ensuring the success and sustainability of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) projects. It empowers Indigenous peoples and local communities to participate in projects affecting their lands and livelihoods, fostering trust, dialogue, respect, and the use of traditional knowledge. By mitigating conflict and creating genuine partnerships, FPIC goes beyond compliance to ensure authentic social acceptance and support, crucial for the legitimacy of development projects. Implementing FPIC is a crucial step toward justice, equality, and sustainable development.

Ensuring Stewards of the Land are Involved in the Decision-Making Processes:

Robust FPIC processes are crucial for maintaining integrity and reducing risks in Nature-based Solutions (NbS) projects. By involving communities in decision-making from the outset, FPIC reduces the risk of social conflicts, legal challenges, and reputational damage that can arise from projects proceeding without genuine consent. This alignment with community needs and values enhances project integrity, reduces operational risks, and leads to more sustainable and successful outcomes.

Improper conduct of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process can lead to various negative consequences for both Indigenous communities and project proponents. These may include social and legal challenges, economic setbacks, and reputational damage. It is crucial to ensure that FPIC processes are carried out thoroughly and respectfully to mitigate these risks. This is why N4J has taken the initiative to offer training in this necessary process with the intention of empowering indigenous and local communities for long-lasting NbS projects that benefit everyone.


  • Khulile M. Lamula

    Khulile is a South African citizen living in Durban. She is a skilled program manager with over 20 years of demonstrated experience in the development and management of complex nature-based solutions, and community-based programs in South Africa. She brings expertise in local economic development in the environmental sector, including SMME and co-operative development and incubation, and business skills training and capacity building in both urban and rural settings.

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  • Robin Barr

    Robin brings nearly twenty years’ international experience establishing and facilitating successful teams, programs and projects for community empowerment and environmental conservation across international value chains. She has deep experience related to implementation of free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) processes and co-creation of development projects with communities and companies across SE Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Her work has included facilitating company-First Nation partnerships and IPCA development in British Columbia.

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