21 December 2022

Bringing FPIC to Life in Liberia for Communities


Bringing FPIC to Life in Liberia for Communities

Proforest has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia to produce an animation that explains the importance of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for local communities, in any land claims or development.  

Designed for communities, the animation explains what FPIC is and when is it applied (including land acquisitions and expansion, new operations, land conflict, grievance remediation). Through a storyline involving various characters, the animation addresses the benefits and consequences of FPIC for the local community, the developer and the government, as well as the steps in the process. Moreover, it explains a community’s rights, what they should expect from companies, and crucially the right and ability to say no at any point.

“In Liberia, the Land Rights Act (2018) and Environmental Protection and Management Law (2003) give legal and regulatory backing to ensure that FPIC is required for all developers and investors on customary land”, said Professor Wilson K Tarpeh, CEO of the EPA. “The Liberian Government has committed to the process and companies are aware and want to comply. The animation plays an important role in our wider engagement to ensure FPIC is understood by all local communities.”

“Communities are in the driving seat as rights-holders and should be involved in all decision making,” said Helena Tetteh, Proforest. “It is important that all community members have the right to FPIC, including women, young people, the elderly, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and other groups. Animation as a communications tool can reach far and wide.”

A number of community screenings in December in Monrovia and Garneo town will launch the animation, which will be subsequently distributed by the Liberian government. Additional screenings and capacity building workshops for companies and government agencies will continue the engagement, to show how they can effectively apply FPIC during the screening, approval, and monitoring of land-based investments, including agricultural and forestry. 

Free, Prior and Informed Consent is a principle protected by international human rights standards that state, 'all peoples have the right to self-determination' and ‘the right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development'.

  • Free: Consent given voluntarily and free of “coercion, intimidation or manipulation”; without undue influence; or manipulation through cash donations to influential community members.
  • Prior: Consent is sought sufficiently in advance of any authorisation or commencement of activities. 
  • Informed: Refers mainly to the nature of the engagement. Information should be complete, and simplified in the language that is understood by the community.
  • Consent: To the collective decision made by the rights-holders and reached through the customary decision-making processes of the affected peoples. Consent must be sought and granted or withheld according to the unique political-administrative dynamic of each community. 

This animation has been produced by Parables Studio in Ghana:

This project is part of Proforest’s Production Landscapes Programme, where we work beyond individual company supply chains to address systemic environmental and social issues. In Liberia, where Proforest’s work is funded by UK Aid from the UK Government under its Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme (FGMC) we are supporting sustainable supply chains aligning company commitments on deforestation and other sustainability issues with government policy and civil society initiatives. The FPIC Guidelines of Liberia were developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP), with funding from the Government of Norway.

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