Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples make up some five per cent of the world’s population – that’s one in twenty of us. Belonging to around 5,000 different groups or communities, Indigenous Peoples usually have (or had) their own language, cultures and traditions, influenced by their ancestral homelands.

sami people
FSC GD / Bablu Singh

Many of these Indigenous Peoples live and work in forests, or on the surrounding land – and that’s really important to FSC. We actively support the rights of Indigenous Peoples and prioritise these rights in relevant policies. In fact, the rights of Indigenous Peoples are prioritised in Principle 3 of the FSC Principles and Criteria (FSC P&C), which requires all FSC-certified forest owners and managers to identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights of land ownership, use of land, and access to resources the land may provide.

The FSC P&C requires FSC-certified businesses to uphold principles of free prior and informed consent (FPIC), that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposals that may affect the lands it customarily owns, occupies or otherwise uses. This position is also supported by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169.

The Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee

In 2013, the Board of FSC International established a Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee (PIPC), as an advisory committee to the board.

The PIPC advises the FSC Board on all issues related to Indigenous Peoples' involvement in FSC, including policies, standards, organizational presence, certification, and forest sector engagement. It is designed to create a genuine voice for Indigenous Peoples inside FSC, which will help strengthen and renew their engagement with FSC.

PIPC consists of representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world, including: Canada; Nicaragua; Ecuador; Cameroon; Tanzania; Finland; Sweden; Russia; Malaysia; and, New Zealand.

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FSC support to respect for Human Rights - 06/2019
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