Co-Chairs’ Summary : First Field Dialogue on FPIC in Indonesia

The Forests Dialogue, Kemitraan, Scale Up and Forest Peoples Programme held a four day field dialogue on Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Pekanbaru, Riau Province on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The dialogue brought together over 80 participants from a great variety of backgrounds including indigenous peoples, representatives of local communities, non-governmental organisations, international financial institutions, government agencies and the private sector. The meeting was the first in a planned series of field dialogues which have the main aim of exploring how in practice government agencies, commercial enterprises and non-government organizations should respect the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent, as expressed through their own freely chosen representative organisations, to activities that may affect their rights. The series of field dialogues was preceded by the preparation of a Scoping Paper and the holding of a Scoping Dialogue in Yale in April 2010. The field dialogue included visits to three locations in Riau Province including a community affected by transmigration and oil palm plantations, a community whose customary lands have been seriously impacted by pulpwood plantations developed by State-licensed companies and another community whose customary lands are now slated for further plantation development and a possible carbon sequestration project to reduce emissions of green house gases from deforestation and forest degradation, also by State-licensed companies. A common feature for all visits was the additional complications generated by 3rd party interventions into already conflicted consultation processes—in particular in Teluk Meranti which was the site of an intense dispute between the pulp and paper sector and local and global campaigning and conservation organizations. The field visits were followed by an intensive two days of discussions to draw lessons from the field visits and from participants’ wider experiences.