International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change Urges to Make FPIC Mandatory

Photo: Kantor Vadim/

International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change Urges to Make FPIC Mandatory

As part of the COP26 conference, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change was held to highlight climate and environmental issues in the context of indigenous rights. Its delegates gathered in Glasgow to discuss challenges faced by indigenous communities throughout the globe in view of climate change and reflect on how indigenous peoples could contribute to the effort to attain climatic neutrality.

The Forum focused, inter alia, on agreeing on a collective position as regards the obligation to consult indigenous communities prior to launching new development projects. The issue is of specific concern for the communities from the Arctic whose natural environment is known to be especially vulnerable to climate-related disasters and industrial impact. The ongoing expansion to the Arctic entails not only the loss of habitat and decreasing biodiversity, but also putting additional constraints on the traditional economy and way of life of indigenous peoples. In turn, this may result in loss of both their ancestral lands and cultural identity.

To address the issue, delegates suggest amending the Article 6 of the Paris Agreement so as to protect indigenous interests and rights. The Forum urges parties to provide for a mechanism involving “local, national and subnational stakeholder consultation consistent with applicable domestic and international standards in relation to public participation, local communities, and Indigenous Peoples and ensuring compliance with the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples”.

This proposal is yet to be accepted by the COP26. Many indigenous delegates are skeptical about the prospects of its approval. “It feels really deeply and profoundly lonely [at the COP26]”, says a representative of the Athabasca Tribe present at the Forum. “People can watch, but they can’t <...> get involved”, she added.

No matter what decision will be made in this respect, many world nations, including Russia, are already changing their ways so as to integrate indigenous agendas into their policies and put into practice approaches providing for inclusive dialog with indigenous communities. The procedure of obtaining free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples (FPIC) mentioned by the Forum in its collective position on Art. 6 is currently being implemented in Russia. For instance, the FPIC procedure has been initiated for the first time in the Russian Arctic in Taimyr as part of the project to relocate the residents of the village of Tuhard (supported by PORA). Apart from this, work is underway in Russia to implement the requirements for FPIC in environmental law and administrative regulations.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
10 November 2021
Arctic Today