At the heart of all FSC policies, standards, and procedures are 10 principles for responsible forest management. Free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is a principle of international human rights with elements that fall across two FSC principles – Indigenous Peoples’ rights (Principle 3) and community relations (Principle 4).

To help strengthen relationships between forest managers and people living in and around FSC-certified forests, FSC created a guide in 2012 (FSC-GUI-30-003 V1-0) to help forest managers and FSC-accredited certification bodies put the concept of FPIC into practice. It advises that parties should engage in a mutually agreed process to reach a decision, conduct genuine and constructive negotiations, respect agreements concluded and applied in good faith, and give sufficient time for discussion and to settle collective disputes.

FPIC holds that all peoples have the right to self-determination and the right to pursue their economic, social, and cultural development freely. As reported previously, developing a regionally acceptable understanding of the right to FPIC and the right to implement an appropriate process is a significant challenge. Field tests have shown that the guidelines need to be revised in line with specific requirements in the FSC principles and criteria (P&C) version 5-2 and their corresponding international generic indicators, and to address challenges in application on the ground.

FSC invites you to read about the concepts related to free, prior, and informed consent that FSC seeks to introduce into new guidelines for members of our system, and to provide your feedback and comments.

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About FSC certification

FSC certification is a system of voluntary sustainability standards that recognizes the efforts of civil society to uphold globally recognized principles related to sustainability, adaptation, justice, and corporate social responsibility within the context of forest management.