Ecuador has ratified the International Labour Organization convention 169, which guarantees consultation of indigenous peoples. Article 57, point 7 of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador guarantees free, prior and informed consultation, within a reasonable period; however, this does not require consent (and is not binding). Article 81 of the Organic Law on Citizen Participation also guarantees peoples, communities and nationalities the right to prior, free and informed consultation. Article 82 refers explicitly to environmental consultation, in the case of a state decision which might affect the environment, and specifies broad and timely information for those affected. However, even if there is a majority opposing the project in question, it may still be carried out on the condition that the impact on those affected and the ecosystem is minimised (art. 83). The regulations applying to the forest sector do not develop further the right to consent.
According to Ecuadorian legislation on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the current regulatory framework has not developed specific mechanisms describing the procedures for application of the FPIC (1). The presence of some leaders is sufficient, without this necessarily meaning that the rest of the community is informed about the processes. In addition, it is not clear how to proceed in the case of dispute, nor to what degree the opinions of the indigenous peoples are taken into account. In fact, the implementation of public or private projects in the indigenous areas has generally been the source of conflicts. For this reason, the indigenous peoples request that consent must be a compulsory requirement, meaning that the community must agree before actions may be taken on their territory. In May 2012, the government published the bill on pre-legislative consultation with the aim of reaching agreement, which represents possible progress, provided it is implemented effectively in practice.
(1) Zambrano, S. (2010) Consentimiento Previo, Libre e Informado: Principales elementos de análisis y recomendaciones de política (Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Principal elements of analysis and policy recommendations). Grupo FARO: Ecuador. Available at http://www.grupofaro.org/node/309
|Title||a. Constitution of Ecuador
b. Organic Law on Citizen Participation
c. Draft organic law on pre-legislative consultation of communes, communities, peoples and nationalities.
|Organisation||a. Ministry of Natural and Cultural Heritage
b. Council for citizen participation and social monitoring
c. National Assembly
|Date||a. October 2008
b. April 2010, modified May 2011
c. 16 May 2012