NEWS FLASH! CoDe REDD Philippines  and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are conducting a study to assess the implementation of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) in the country. FPIC is recognized by Philippine law in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) where all permits, licenses within ancestral domains cannot be granted without an FPIC from affected indigenous communities.
This study is one of four (4) components of the CoDe REDD -GIZ policy studies entitled “Forest Policies and REDD” Project”. The other components in the series are Analysis of Key Drivers of Deforestation, Analysis of Forest Policies and Clarifying Carbon Rights. These policy studies were found crucial in the development of a robust REDD-plus policy to ensure social and environmental safeguards as articulated in the Philippine National REDD-plus Strategy (PNRPS). A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), GIZ and NTFP-EP (on behalf of CoDe REDD) is being drafted for the said project.
The FPIC study will be undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units (LGUs) and various non-government organizations (NGOs) The study aims to: 1) Assess the faithful implementation of the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) provisions as effective safeguards for IPs to assert their right to self-determination; 2) Develop a policy agenda and recommendations for enhancing FPIC process in the Philippines, particular in the context of REDD-Plus implementation; and, 3)Determine the community definition of FPIC. This study is critical because there has been no monitoring and evaluation of the FPIC processes since the Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued the first Certificate Preconditions  in 2004.
A total of 309 Certification Preconditions (CPs) have been issued by NCIP as of December 2010. As agreed, the FPIC team was divided into three groups or clusters based on geographical locations. A total of thirty-one (31) sites representing ten percent (10%) of the population of CPs granted were randomly selected. Six (6) special sites were purposively selected. These were areas provided with Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNOs) and sites that said “No” to FPIC. It is possible that the site selection will increase to 15% if additional funding support becomes available.
This study will be the first of its kind with such wide a reach and with a very comprehensive list of guide questions across stakeholders. The study is deemed as important as it aims to provide recommendations to enhance the FPIC regulation in the Philippines before the start of REDD+ implementation in ancestral domain areas. The study is also crucial as it will have far reaching impact as well on the FPIC process for other development projects (extractives, etc), within ancestral domains.
The actual survey of FPIC cases will be carried out through secondary data gathering, focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). Preliminary activities have already been conducted, such as the FPIC research team preliminary meeting held last March 5-6 at NTFP-EP office. A Research Training-Workshop was also held on March 26-27 in Quezon City. Research protocols and questions have been finalized and are ready for implementation in the field.
The FPIC policy assessment team is composed of CoDe REDD representatives as well as national coordinators, advisers, peer reviewers, the national lead researcher, cluster study leaders, cluster coordinators and site researchers. As remarked by Dr. Cecilia Macabuac-Ferolin of Xavier University, “the good thing about our team is it’s being inter-disciplinary and inter-generational. The entire team is looking forward to being part of this collaborative effort, and to fruitful results.
-  CoDe REDD Philippines is a loose network of Civil Society organizations promoting community empowerment and biodiversity conservation in the implementation of a responsible, inclusive REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) mechanism ↩
-  GIZ implements a project on Forest policy and Piloting of REDD+ with DENR-FMB as the main partner. The Project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety under its International Climate Initiative, which is based on a decision of the German Parliament. ↩
-  Certification preconditions are released by the NCIP once the FPIC process has been conducted and has been deemed valid.
More information on FPIC for REDD can be found in the following document:
Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for REDD+: Principles and Approaches for Policy and Project Development, Bangkok, February 2011. Developed by RECOFTC and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Sector Network Natural Resources and Rural Development – Asia, this publication is targeted at people concerned with the design and implementation of REDD+ projects or programs. It provides an overview of REDD+ and the importance of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), describes the development of a process that respects FPIC and guidelines on twelve aspects or ‘elements’ of a generic process to respect the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to FPIC.