Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Tamang Indigenous Peoples of Nepal

Author: Navin K. Rai
Number of pages: 156
Publication language: English
Country publication is about: Nepal
Region publication is about: Asia
Release year: 2023
Release Month | Day: June

Tags: Business and Human Rights

The Nepal-Upper Trishuli–1 (216 MW) Hydroelectric Project, sponsored by the Nepal Water and Energy Development Company, is adversely affecting the Tamang Indigenous Peoples of Rasuwa, which the Government of Nepal recognizes as “Indigenous Peoples,” as do the core project lenders – namely the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO).

The Tamang have the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) under ILO Convention 169 ratified by the Government of Nepal, as well as under the mandatory policies of the core project lenders. These mandatory policies require the company to obtain FPIC from the project-affected Tamang when the following three specific adverse impacts take place:

  1. the company proposes to commercially develop natural resources on lands traditionally owned or customarily occupied and used by the Tamang;
  2. the project brings about adverse impacts on land and natural resources subject to the Tamang's ownership or customary use and/or occupation; and
  3. the project relocates the Tamang from their traditional homeland.

Additionally, the government is required to oblige the company to seek and acquire FPIC when these and other impacts occur or will potentially occur.

On 1 November 2018, the Project Tripartite Agreement for the Indigenous Peoples Plan Implementation was signed by the company, local government representatives and an ad hoc advisory council composed of a selected group of the project-affected Tamang. The Tripartite Agreement was historic in that very few IFC-financed projects had acquired FPIC from Indigenous Peoples. IFC, declared that “the FPIC process was the first of its kind in Nepal” and asserted that this set “new benchmarks for engaging with indigenous communities in Nepal, by ensuring their … consent in a large infrastructure development process.”

However, when one looks into the details of seeking FPIC a different picture emerges. This report examines the problems with the process that have seriously affected the Tamang and violated their rights.

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