26th November 2019, Nay Pyi Taw
National Consultation on an approach to ensure FPIC in implementation of Myanmar’s National REDD+ Strategy and other initiatives affecting forests was held by Forest Department with the support of UNDP in Nay Pyi Taw at Amara Hotel concentrating on reviewing progress that has been made to date in developing an approach for FPIC. In addition, the workshop was intended to generate recommendations for improvements and for a plan of action to develop FPIC guidelines.
Countries who wish to participate in REDD+ are under obligation to submit a “Summary of Information” on how the Cancun Safeguards have been applied and supported during implementation of REDD+ policies and measures (PAMs). Cancun Safeguard 3 includes the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, FPIC, on respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Myanmar will therefore have to be able to demonstrate that it has applied FPIC to REDD+ PAMs in order to be eligible for results-based payments.
At the opening of the Workshop, Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General of Forest Department delivered opening remarks. He said, “In the management of Myanmar’s forests, the Forest Department is committed to increasing democratization. The days of “command-and-control”, top-down decision making is behind us. The future of Myanmar’s forests, together with the future economic and social prospects of communities living in and around forests must be based on an increased role for those communities, and the role of the Forest Department must be to assist communities in exercising their rights to land and resources.”
Mr. Timothy Boyle, Chief Technical Advisor of UN-REDD Myanmar Programme explained about objectives and expected outcomes of the workshop. He said, “The right to “free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)” is a key issue in respect of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and their full and effective participation. And I do hope this National Consultation Workshop will bring together ethnic stakeholders from across the country to review initiatives undertaken to date and derive from them guidance that should be integrated into national guidelines on FPIC.”
Mr. Stony, M&E officer of POINT gave presentation on FPIC principles and commitments from the United Nations Declaration of Rights on Indigenous People (UNDRIP). In his presentation, he discussed on importance features in operative article of UNDRIP and FPIC inclusion on Myanmar’s law and policies. He also discussed how should FPIC be implemented.
And then, Ms. Anastacia Howe, Managing Director from Howe Sustainable Myanmar explained on UNDP’s piloting of FPIC in Mon State. She mentioned that there is no visible experience on application of FPIC at scales in Myanmar. And she also explained about the reason why UNDP chose Mon State for FPIC piloting and lessons learned from it.
Dr. Naw May Lay Thant, National Landscape Coordinator of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) presented about Development of a standard operating procedure (SOPs) for FPIC in the establishment of new protected areas. In her presentation, she discussed numerous process measured to establish SOPs and shared experience with consulting procedures working together with Forest Department.
U Zau Lunn, Marine and Freshwater Programme Manager from Flora and Fauna International (FFI) gave presentation on FPIC process for the establishment of co-management areas in Tanintharyi and Ayeyarwady. He presented about the ground situation of implementation of FPIC focusing on negotiation between local communities, companies, governments and NGOs based on the experience of Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Project.
At Group Discussion, participants eagerly discussed in different stakeholder groups on best practices to implement each step of FPIC; Free Prior Informed Consent. After it, plenary feedback was given by respective discussion-groups focusing on the development of a plan of action to further develop an effective FPIC approach. Over 50 participants from government agencies, ethnic organizations, local CSOs, international NGOs actively participated in FPIC National Consultation Workshop.