Indigenous Peoples

FSC is committed to working with Indigenous Peoples by upholding their ownership, use and management rights across all forests.
FSC and Indigenous Peoples

FSC’s commitment to working with Indigenous communities is part of its DNA and has always been central to its work.

In fact, the rights of Indigenous Peoples are prioritized in Principle 3 of the FSC Principles and Criteria 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. This is done through the FSC’s free, prior, and informed consent process which has clear guidelines that take into account their livelihoods as well as social and cultural way of living to preserve it.   

Indigenous Peoples face countless challenges which limit their capacity to secure their rights, strengthen their livelihoods practices, and consolidate sustainable development and governance within their territories.  

Engaging with Indigenous Peoples   

  • The Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee (PIPC)   

To make sure Indigenous voices are heard and represented at the highest levels of FSC’s decision-making, FSC established the Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee (PIPC) in 2013 following a decision concluded in the 2011 FSC General Assembly. Acting as an advisory committee to the FSC International Board of Directors, the PIPC consists of representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world.  

  • The FSC Indigenous Foundation  

In 2020, FSC launched the FSC Indigenous Foundation; a strategic and operative unit established to provide innovative solutions to support Indigenous communities and enable them to build and guide the sustainable management of their land.   

The Foundation’s primary goal is to co-create Indigenous forest-based solutions through the inclusion and recognition of Indigenous knowledge, authority, and traditional practices. It works directly with Indigenous Peoples’ organizations to support them in developing and implementing long-term solutions to increase the benefits from their forests and territories by linking to the FSC system and market, climate, and rights-based approaches.    

To learn more about the FSC Indigenous Foundation, please visit their website.   

  • Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD)   

Implemented by the FSC Indigenous Foundation, IPARD is a five-year programme supported by FSC, the private sector, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Program is driven by multi-sector and Indigenous Peoples partnerships to build innovative ways to implement strategies on the ground in an integrated way with a country-by-country approach, based on the long-term vision of Indigenous Peoples themselves and their national governments.  


Recent updates

Following the European Commission’s new proposed regulation which aims to minimize EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation worldwide, FSC shared 10 recommendations to further strengthen the Regulation in April 2022 - with one focused on “Enhancing the protection of Indigenous Peoples’”. For more information, please visit this page.