Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee
Identifying and upholding Indigenous Peoples’ rights in forestry
Indigenous Peoples make up some 5 per cent of the world’s population – that’s one in twenty of us.
Belonging to around 5,000 different groups or communities, Indigenous Peoples usually have (or had) their own language, cultures, and traditions influenced by their ancestral homelands.
Many of these Indigenous Peoples live and work in forests or the surrounding land – and that’s really important to FSC. We actively support Indigenous Peoples’ rights and prioritize these rights in relevant policies. In fact, the rights of Indigenous Peoples are prioritized in Principle 3 of the FSC Principles and Criteria (FSC P&C), which requires all FSC-certified forest owners and managers to identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights of land ownership, use of land, and access to resources the land may provide.
The FSC P&C requires FSC-certified businesses to uphold principles of free prior informed consent (FPIC), that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposals that may affect the lands it customarily owns, occupies or otherwise uses; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People; and the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169.
To ensure fair and equal representation of Indigenous Peoples within FSC, a permanent Indigenous Peoples committee (PIPC) was established during the 2011 FSC general assembly. Its purpose? To serve as a permanent mechanism for engaging Indigenous Peoples around issues of forest management and FSC certification.
A series of regional meetings to provide ongoing guidance on decisions that impact Indigenous Peoples is held regularly with members of the PIPC.