The right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous populations and communities that depend on the forests for their living is not recognised in the forest law and its associated regulations. There is no law that gives decision-making or veto powers to indigenous communities and populations. According to the present law, the forests belong to the State, and despite some concerted efforts to establish communal and community forests, the notion of ownership of the land and its resources is still strongly entrenched in the administration, and it will be difficult for the right to consent to be recognised and applied in practice.
Mechanisms such as REDD+, amongst others, require free, prior and informed consent of indigenous populations in the consultation process to design policies and regulations, and also in the implementation of projects or initiatives. Nevertheless, these calls have not held much sway with the Government. Reviews of forest and land tenure laws are underway, and could provide an opportunity to recognise the right of the communities to informed consent. Even so, this right would be seen by the State as a major handover of its power over the land and its resources.