This course identifies the key elements for the rights to FPIC, ensuring that RSPO certified sustainable palm oil comes from areas without land conflicts or ‘land grabs’.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) has been a central requirement of the RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) since they were adopted in 2005. In identifying the key elements with regards to the rights to FPIC, this course ensures that RSPO certified sustainable palm oil comes from areas without land conflicts or ‘land grabs’. This course also outlines how members should implement the binding aspects of the RSPO P&C standard’s guidance referring to FPIC.


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Course Curriculum

  1. Who Gives Consent
  2. Participatory Assessments
  3. Participatory Mapping of Land
  4. Land Tenure Assessment
  5. Agreeing On A Process For Consent
  6. Community Consensus Building
  7. Providing Information
  8. Role of NGOs and Advisors
  9. Ensuring Consent is Free
  10. Ensuring Consent is Prior
  11. Negotiating Agreements
  12. Implementation and Monitoring
  13. Resolving Conflicts
  14. Fitting FPIC Into National Realities
  15. FPIC in New Planting Procedure
  16. Verifying FPIC

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Course Curriculum

RSPO FPIC – Introduction to FPIC 00:00:00
Who Gives Consent 00:03:26
In this video, pertinent questions in relation to “consent” is discussed such as “Who gives consent?”; “Can the communities be represented by a team?”; and if so, “What should be the composition of this team?”. This video discusses the steps to be taken to ensure that consent is given freely and in good faith.
Participatory Assessments 00:01:49
An important way of making sure consent given is an Informed Consent is by ensuring that the community members participate in assessments which are made by the company. This video discusses the kinds of assessments which are required and/or recommended by the RSPO P&C particularly in relation to the FPIC Principles.
Participatory Mapping of Land 00:02:09
The RSPO requires companies to respect the rights of communities to the lands they own, use and/or have customary rights to. Usually these areas are not in government surveys and maps. If they are not in government surveys and maps, then, the question is, how do you identify these areas? In this module, we’ll explain how participatory mapping is done, as a first step in identifying the ownership of the land and how the same is used.
Land Tenure Assessment 00:04:11
The previous module explained how participatory mapping can clarify where people’s rights are in the landscape. However, since different people have different rights to different bits of land, we would need to document who has the rights to which bits of land and learn more about how communities own, control and manage their lands. This is done by carrying out a land tenure assessment. This video provides the guidance on how Land Tenure Assessments ought to be carried out and what are the key issues which need attention when conducting assessments of this nature.
Agreeing On A Process For Consent 00:03:31
FPIC derives from the internationally recognised right to self-determination. This means that communities also have the right to choose for themselves the process by which they negotiate and give (or withhold) consent. Since societies are so different, companies cannot just insist on FPIC being done according to a set of standard operating procedures. Companies must accommodate the decision making process of the communities in line with their customs or local norms and preferences. In this video, we will explain what are the necessary steps which all parties need to ensure is taken leading up to the agreement for consent.
Community Consensus Building 00:02:32
Even though communities may have communal rights, that does not mean they always speak with one voice. Most communities are made up of diverse groups with different priorities, interests and sometimes different religions. So, obtaining community agreement on what is the best way forward may take time. In this video, we will discuss the various methods to engage the community in building consensus and how to ensure that everybody’s opinion is sought in building this consensus.
Providing Information 00:04:53
RSPO also requires companies to make a commitment to transparency and take active measures to provide information to rights-holders and wider stakeholders. This module explains what information needs to be provided, when it should be shared and how it should be communicated as part of an FPIC process.
Role of NGOs and Advisors 00:02:52
The RSPO standard recognises that communities have the right to advice and legal counsel. This may be from various sources such as neighbouring communities which have already experienced oil palm development, religious organisations, NGOs or lawyers. This module discusses the role these advisors can and/or will play in the decision making process.
Ensuring Consent is Free 00:04:32
For consent to be meaningful it must be free. This video will discuss what the company must avoid in order ensure that consent is free. This module will also provide what the steps that the company can take in ensuring that the RSPO P&Cs are met in obtaining free consent.
Ensuring Consent is Prior 00:03:33
The principle of international law requires that people’s consent should be sought BEFORE their rights are affected. That sounds obvious but when is ‘prior’ enough? This module will explain what amounts to prior consent and how early consent ought to be obtained from the community.
Negotiating Agreements 00:03:36
Now that the main building blocks for consent are in place and the communities (would) have chosen how they wish to be represented and who would be been involved in assessing the positive and negative impacts, have clarified who has rights in the land and have been informed of the proposed benefits and costs. Communities would also have chosen, if any, the third party observers and advisors they want to involve. An agreement would have been reached and the process of decision-making which will be used. This video will discuss the agreement process and the rights of all parties in negotiating an agreement which is amicable to everyone.
Implementation and Monitoring 00:03:45
Now that the agreement has been reached, the process does not end there. The agreement will now need to be implemented. To ensure this, it is recommended that there is a participatory monitoring procedure carried out. This participatory monitoring procedure will check outcomes against commitments. In this module, we will discuss the best way to implement and monitor the social and environmental impacts assessments and whether the High Conservation assessments are fulfilled.
Resolving Conflicts 00:03:59
It is an RSPO requirement that all operators have a mutually agreed system for dealing with complaints and grievances. In this module, we will discuss developing a conflict resolution procedure as well as a compensation and/or reparation system that is agreeable to all parties.
Fitting FPIC Into National Realities 00:03:28
National legal frameworks vary from country to country in relation to the extent in which they recognise communities’ land rights and the right to FPIC. This video discusses how to apply FPIC to various jurisdictions in which the legal framework varies and the extent to which communities’ land rights and the right to FPIC is recognised.
FPIC in New Planting Procedure 00:03:29
All RSPO members that plan any new planting must follow the ‘New Planting Procedure’. This module summarises those aspects of the NPP most relevant to local communities and to securing their Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
Verifying FPIC 00:05:19
As part of RSPO certification system, companies and certification bodies have to be able to verify that FPIC has been fairly carried out in line with the RSPO’s standards. This video just presents a list of the key elements of the FPIC process that can be used to check compliance.
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