Mar 15

IIFB Statement on Prior Informed Consent


(Download PDF of statement)

Indigenous Peoples reaffirm our status as such. We are the holders of traditional knowledge, based on the ancestral right to ownership of our territories and therefore, access to traditional knowledge, must follow rules and principles based on customary laws.

Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) should be binding, and further developed through the creation of a Group of Indigenous Experts. According to the decisions and guidelines of several organizations in United Nations System, FPIC should be the principle established for access to traditional knowledge instead of prior informed consent.

The granting of free and informed consent, does not involve negotiation or granting of licenses and intellectual property rights to third party users for the use and access to traditional knowledge. The ownership of traditional knowledge belongs to indigenous peoples who have protected it for millennia through their customary laws and through their own governments. Therefore, the competency for granting free, prior and informed consent must lie with the legitimate and traditional authorities.

With regard to benefit sharing, the proposed guidelines should not be limited to Bonn guidelines or the Annex of the Nagoya Protocol, but rather they must also include safeguards to territorial rights and traditional resources. We emphasize that the right to fair and equitable sharing should also include cultural and spiritual elements of indigenous peoples.

Regarding the misuse and repatriation of traditional knowledge, this must include the repatriation of objects that include our traditional knowledge and relevant information, and with consideration to compensation, payment and restoration for the misuse of traditional knowledge. Therefore, the development of bio-cultural community protocols should include proper procedures based on the uses and customs of indigenous peoples.

Capacity building is a fundamental to compliance with free, prior and informed consent; fair and equitable benefit sharing, as well as for the prevention of the misuse of traditional knowledge.