Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative: Building Informed and Organized Indigenous Communities

The most important element of Indigenous Peoples’ ability to claim the right of free, prior and informed consent is to have informed and organized communities.
-UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Delegate

En Español

What is FPIC?

According to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous communities have the right to give their Free, Prior and Informed Consent  (FPIC) to proposed projects that may affect their lands, resources, livelihoods, and communities. This means that Indigenous communities have the right to decide whether they want companies or governments to mine, deforest, or in other ways develop their lands, and they have the right to make informed decisions through culturally relevant processes.

What is Cultural Survival's FPIC Initiative?

FPIC Radio Programs

The central project of the Initiative is an innovative radio series for free, worldwide distribution to help Indigenous communities be better informed about their right to FPIC and be more prepared to assert it. To date, we have produced 28 programs in Spanish and in English and 10 programs in each of 5 Mayan languages and 7 Nepalese Indigenous languages. Click here to learn about our 4 Indigenous radio producers.

Inspired by our successful Community Radio Program in Guatemala, we began distribution throughout Guatemala’s network of community radios. From there, we have developed a database of about 1000 community radios in, most of which are Indigenous, and have distributed to almost 500 stations. Click here to read some recent audience feedback. If you know of a radio station that might be interested in broadcasting our programs, let us know!

Our Public Service Announcements provide clear, brief explanations of FPIC in layman’s terms in engaging, conversational formats. Our longer interviews and features offer perspectives in the voices of Indigenous individuals from around the world. Listen to them in English and in Spanish.

Community Exchanges

A trusted means for Indigenous communities to develop FPIC and other practices is to learn from each other, especially when they share similar socio-political, economic, and cultural frameworks. Cultural Survival convened a Maya community from Belize and a Maya community from Guatemala so that the latter could share its experience with exploitative development projects and help the former make educated decisions.

To hear more programs and download them as mp3s, click here. 

How Will This Initiative Make a Difference?

Individuals and communities must know they have rights in order to use them. In many Indigenous communities, the rights outlined in the Declaration are not widely known or well understood. This grassroots initiative aims to make FPIC universally understood so communities can develop meaningful processes to ensure they have the opportunity to grant or withhold consent.

Sharing information orally in a variety of Indigenous languages in addition to English and Spanish means that we breach barriers raised by illiteracy and lack of fluency in colonial languages. Our Indigenous language translators translate not only words but ideas as well, making our programs accessible in various cultural contexts.

Indigenous leaders emphasize that they must build their capacity to assert self-determination and forge their unique, culture-based development paths (“life plans”), rather than expecting governments and corporations to grant their rights and establish guidelines. This means that Indigenous Peoples must develop and assert their own processes for FPIC. 

Indigenous Communities Respond to FPIC Initiative

“After listening to a couple, I decided to get these aired right away… Very good work to all who work together on this worthwhile message for our people. We'll air these 4x a day so everyone may get the message from the young to old.”
       -Alexie Kanrilak, producer at KCUK FM, Native Voice 1 Radio, Alaska

"This is an excellent way in demystifying global commitments and legal concepts. Keep it up and bring out more!"
       -Kimbowa Richard, Kampala, Uganda

"A timely and quite relevant initiative. Congratulations! "
       -Nestor Maniebo Pestelos, Tiagong, Quezon, Philippines.

“This is an amazing and very good idea!”
       -Fredereic Parot, Essex University, England

“A tremendous resource.”
       -Rucha Chitnis, India

“Thank you for doing this work. FPIC is a critical part of self-determination – and an inspiration for the Idle No More movement.”
       -Mining Watch Canada, via twitter

“We love this new radio series from Cultural Survival!  FPIC for all!”
       -First People’s Worldwide

"Thank you for this excellent and valuable resource."
       -Tina Ramme, KARE Samburu, Kenya

“These programs are excellent, and the topic is very important for us to learn about. I congratulate Cultural Survival for having done this work, and for encouraging the work of community radio in Guatemala.”
       -Community member in Sumpango, Guatemala

“These spots we have heard are asking important questions and then providing the answers. This sort of programming isn’t something you’d hear on commercial radio stations.”
       -Community member in Sumpango, Guatemala

“These programs are incredibly important. Often, we want to express ourselves on [development issues] in our community but we aren’t listened to.  This initiative is important and it will help us when we’re confronting a situation where [authorities] are doing whatever they feel like and are not listening to us. We shouldn’t be lied to; so we must be informed, like it mentions in the radio programs.  Usually we have only realized projects are happening when they already working.  From what we’ve heard in these programs, it’s more than clear: this will help us, and we can help more people.”
       -Community member in Sumpango, Guatemala


Meet Our Producers

Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian)
Cultural Survival FPIC Radio Series Producer & Program Director and lead DJ of Alana I Kai Hikina on KWXX-FM, and director of the Honuakai Exploration Sciences and Voyaging Division of the 'Aha Punana Leo. The mission is to utilize the wa'a (canoe) as a platform to strengthen the Hawaiian language skills and cultural traditions of its participants. Barcarse is also an instructor at Ka Haka 'Ula O Ke'elikolani Hawaiian Language College of the University of Hawai'i at Hilo and is serving on the board of directors at The Cultural Conservancy.
Cesar Gomez Moscut (Poqomam Maya)
Cultural Survival FPIC Radio Series Producer & Content Production and Training Coordinator for the Cultural Survival Community Radio Project. Cesar is from Palin, Esquintla, Guatemala, a Pocomam Maya town located 25 miles from Guatemala City.  Cesar worked for five years as a volunteer at the Palin community radio station. In 2005 he was selected as a regional representative to the Association of Guatemalan Community Radio Stations. In 2007, he was hired as the office administrator of the National Congress of Community Radios. In 2008, he joined Cultural Survival.  
María del Rosario Sul González or "Rosy" (Kaqchiquel Maya)
Cultural Survival FPIC Radio Series Producer is from the town of Sumpango, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. She studies communications at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City, and has worked at her local community radio station Radio Ixchel for the past three years as a communicator, human rights promoter, and recently within the radio's administration. 
Aurelio Sho (Mopan Maya)
Cultural Survival FPIC Radio Series Producer is the general manager of Ak'kutan Radio station in Blue Creek, Toledo, Belize. He is Mopan Maya and also speaks Q'eqchi, English and Spanish. He coordinates ativities in his community to promote and sustain Mayan Culture, including the annual festival Maya Day.