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How to implement free, prior informed consent (FPIC) (PLA 65)

Jerome Lewis

Journal article

Negotiating FPIC is a process. Before explicit consent can be negotiated,information on planned activities and their potential impact needs to be provided to those affected, and action has to be taken to verify that this information has been understood. If people refuse to grant consent, this decision must be respected. FPIC focuses on harmonising and equalising relationships between groups of different power and means. This article outlines the elements of FPIC and what they imply for the process of negotiating FPIC in practice. It discusses the eight key stages of an FPIC process, noting the requirements for each stage and the potential pitfalls. It then considers the advantages of FPIC processes for communities and for external actors, as well as the challenges faced in implementing such processes.

This article appears in the Tips for Trainers section of Participatory Learning and Action 65 on Biodiversity and culture: exploring community protocols, rights and consent.

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