Module M02 - Attitudes, Behaviours and Ethics

Unit M02U03 - Free, Prior and Written Informed Consent


This Unit provides an overview of the ethical practice of Free, Prior and Written Informed Consent (FPWIC), a prerequisite for engaging communities in PGIS. The Unit covers the background and rationale for FPWIC, defines the relevant concepts in operational terms and discusses issues and challenges in its implementation.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • explain background and applications of FPWIC;
  • define the meaning of FPWIC;
  • outline the challenges of informed consent;
  • describe risks and unintended consequences of participatory mapping.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Background and Rationale of FPWIC (PPT No.1) (10 min)
  2. Definitions and Questions (PPT No.1) (10 min) and Unit Glossary as reference material
  3. Implementation and Challenges (PPT No.1) (10 min)
    • Prior notice (Exercise No. 1) (30-45 min)
    • Informing (Exercise No. 2) (30-45 min)
    • Written Documentation (Exercise No. 3) (20-30 min)
  4. Risks and unintended Consequences (PPT No.1) (10 min) and three case study readings and discussion (30-45 min/each)
    • Transparency and Informed Consent (Case study No. 1) (30-45 min)
    • Successes and failures (Case study No. 2) (30-45 min)
    • Good and bad Practices (Case study No. 3) (30-45 min)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format)

Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in digital format)



½ day

Additional trainer resources

  • Chambers, R. (2006). Participatory Mapping and Geographic Information Systems: Whose Map? Who is Empowered and Who Disempowered? Who Gains and Who Loses? EJISDC, 25(2), 1-11.
  • Chapin, M., and Threlkeld, B. (2001). Indigenous Landscapes. A Study in Ethnocartography. Arlington, VA: Center for the Support of Native Lands.
  • Deddy, K. (2006). Community Mapping, Tenurial Rights and Conflict Resolution in Kalimantan. In Majid Cooke, F. (Ed.) State, Communities and Forests in Contemporary Borneo. (Chap. 5). Canberra: ANU E Press.
  • Firestone, L. A. (2003). You Say Yes, I Say No; Defining Community Prior Informed Consent under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 16, 171.
  • Forest Peoples Programme (FPP). FPIC - Free, Prior and Informed Consent, CLPI.
  • Fox, J., Suryanata, K., Hershock, P. D. (2005). Mapping Communities: Ethics, Values, Practice. Honolulu: East-West Center.
  • Mackay, F. (2005). The Draft World Bank Operational Policy 4.10 on Indigenous Peoples: Progress or more of the same? Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law 22(1).
  • Motoc, A. J. (2005). Standard Setting, Legal Commentary on the Concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Working paper submitted to the Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Working Group on Indigenous Populations, 23rd session, 18-22 July 2005, E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/AC. 4/2005/WP. 1
  • Tamang, P. (2005). An Overview of the Principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Indigenous Peoples in International and Domestic Law and Practices - [2005] AILR 36; 9(2) pg111. Australian Indigenous Law Reporter.
  • Tobias, T. N. (2000). Chief Kerry's Moose: A Guidebook to Land Use and Occupancy Mapping, Research Design and Data Collection. Vancouver: Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Ecotrust Canada.

Equipment needed

Computer and LCD projector for PowerPoint presentation or overhead projector with transparencies

Sample maps (e.g. base map, aerial photo, thematic maps)

Small sheets of paper with tape or sticky notes

Flipcharts with markers, chalkboard with chalk or whiteboard with dry-erase markers

Additional downloads