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FPIC and beyond: safeguards for power-equalising research that protects biodiversity, rights and culture (PLA 65)

Michel Pimbert

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Too often, research programmes are imposed on rural people, adding to their already overwhelming burdens, causing harm and violating rights. It is vital to ensure that non-researcher citizens have an opportunity to assess, on their own terms and in their own time, the desirability and relevance of engaging in research activities before giving consent.

However, there is a need to go beyond FPIC in research involving indigenous and local communities. FPIC needs to be part of a wider set of tactics and safeguards to enable local and indigenous communities yo defend their rights and determine their own destinies. Situating FPIC and community protocols within the broader research and development cycle, this article emphasises the need to incorporate participation at key stages throughout the
cycle. It stresses that the development of community protocols should be grounded in respect for local knowledge, since the sidelining of local knowledge in favour of standardisation induced by western science will result in ABS regimes that are extractive and unfair.

This article appears in Participatory Learning and Action 65 on Biodiversity and culture: exploring community protocols, rights and consent.

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