Dr. Lorenza Fontana, SIID Postdoctoral Research Associate, has been awarded a RGS-IBG Small Research Grant to support her latest research project on indigenous land rights.

The project, entitled “Indigenous Voices: Assessing the Impact of Free Prior and Informed Consultation (FPIC) within Amazonian Communities“, will explore the challenges of ethnic-based participation in natural resource governance and its potential for creating inclusive and effective forms of decision-making for marginalized social groups but also to trigger new tensions between communities at the local level. The research project achieve this through a comparative analysis of two micro-case studies of implementation of FPIC in remote areas of Peru and Bolivia.

Read the full abstract for the research below:

As the global demand for energy and natural resources continues to grow, extractive industry and development projects are expanding and moving into increasingly remote areas. While this might open up new opportunities for national economies, these projects are often invasive for ecosystems and local communities.

In this context, international law provides a framework to claim and institutionalize new participatory mechanisms for natural resource governance. One of these mechanisms – the Free Prior and Informed Consultation (FPIC) – establishes an obligation on the state to consult indigenous peoples before large development projects get underway.

This project will explore the challenges of ethnic-based participation in natural resource governance and its potential for creating inclusive and effective forms of decision-making for marginalized social groups but also to trigger new tensions between communities at the local level. It will draw on an empirically grounded analysis of the implementation of these mechanisms in remote areas of Bolivia and Peru characterised by complex socio-political and environmental landscapes.

The project will increase our understanding of the politics of scale and tensions embedded in new forms of resource governance based on ethnic participation, and the consequences for local communities and the environment.