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Negotiating Consent: Lessons in Defending the Right to Decide

Indigenous peoples have long asserted and defended their rights and customary land tenures against the unlawful enclosure of their territories. Yet, despite normative recognition of the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)—and public commitments by major multinational companies, international financial institutions, and global banks to apply the standard of consent—power imbalances continue to undermine the quality of agreements being reached.

Negotiating Consent distills lessons from Oxfam’s work defending community consent in Peru. Drawing on research published by Oxfam partners in Peru—Cooperacción, Organización Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas (ONAMIAP), and Pueblos Indígenas Amazónicas Unidas en Defensa de Sus Territorios (PUINAMUDT)—have published research examining the politics and practices of the implementation of this law, it seeks contribute to collective thinking around ways to improve the implementation of FPIC processes, processes that are manifestly political.

With land inequality worsening, land grabbing continuing unabated, and basic environmental and social protections being rolled back, upholding the standard of consent is more important than ever. It is time companies, investors, and others look beyond paper commitments and take the steps necessary to ensure quality agreements are reached with Indigenous peoples and are maintained across the life of projects.


Scott Sellwood



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