Moving from Consultation to Consent?
The IFC Performance Standards require that projects with potentially significant impacts conduct ‘Free, Prior, Informed Consultation’ (FPIC) and demonstrate ‘Broad Community Support’ (BCS). Will these requirements move towards the concept of ‘Consent’ particularly in the context of Indigenous Peoples?
During the March
During his presentation, John Middleton of the
It is not surprising that Indigenous People/affected communities want to be able to have a say about if, what and how development should take place. Similarly, the extractive industry is concerned about their perception of veto power embodied by the world ‘Consent’ and how this might be used (or misused) to dilute their legal titles and undermine their investments.
There is already precedence set on using the term ‘Consent’ by another multilateral financial institution: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (
There is another fascinating aspect about the concepts of Broad Community Support, which can exist even if not everybody approves, and Consent, which may be offered through an MOU or similar process and can also exist when not everybody supports a project. These concepts remind me of a marriage. Good ones contain an implicit need to earn support/consent which does not end with a signed paper – it has to be continuously earned and strengthened to withstand the ups and downs of real life – warts and all.