The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is pleased to announce a landmark new initiative to help strengthen Aboriginal Peoples' rights in Canada by rigorously applying free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) to FSC's Forest Management Standards.
"Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is seen as one of the key principles of international human rights law to protect our people from destruction of our lives, culture and livelihood. FSC is the only forest certification system to implement and rigorously apply free, prior and informed consent to their forest management standards." says Brad Young, Executive Director, National Aboriginal Forestry Association.
More than 80% of Canada's Aboriginal communities are located in or near forested areas where they depend on Canada's forests for both their cultural and economic livelihood. At the same time, these communities are often the first and most affected by industrial forestry activities and can be the last to see benefits from forest activity.
"The initiative will be conducted with the engagement of Aboriginal Peoples and other stakeholders across Canada and will not only benefit Aboriginal Peoples and communities, but will also provide forest management companies with clear direction and tools to help them apply the values of FPIC, " says Francois Dufresne, FSC Canada President.
The FPIC initiative is supported by TD Bank Group, Kimberly Clarke, National Aboriginal Forestry Association, Globe and Mail, The International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Boreal Leadership Council, which includes the following organizations: Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, Batirente, Calvert, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Dehcho First Nations, Desjardins Funds, Domini Social Investment, Domtar Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, ForestEthics, the Innu Nation, Kaska Nation, The Nature Conservancy NEI Investment, The Pembina Institute, Poplar River First nation, Suncor Energy Inc., TD Bank Group, Tembec Inc., Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta and the World Wildlife Fund (Canada).
"We strongly support FSC Canada's initiative around developing practical guidance for implementation of FPIC. This is a pressing issue for natural resource development in Canada and a successful outcome will benefit Aboriginal communities, the sustainable forestry industry and the environment," says Karen Clarke-Whistler, TD's Chief Environment Officer.
With the introduction of the FPIC initiative, FSC Canada will work to improve and strengthen forest certification requirements with the primary goal of increasing meaningful and tangible benefits of certification for Aboriginal Peoples and communities in Canada. To do this, FSC Canada will work towards effectively adapting the values of FPIC and strengthening forest certification requirements in FSC's Forest Management Standards in Canada, which are set to be completed by 2015.