In late 2016, the ASI Board approved the Terms of Reference for the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF) within the ASI Governance Handbook, a by-law to the ASI Constitution, and formally established the role and purpose of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum within ASI’s broader governance structure.
The IPAF has a number of functions.
- The IPAF elects two of its members to serve on the Standards Committee, the part of the ASI that develops the core standards, and oversees the development of implementation guidance
- The IPAF will provide an advisory function for complaints impacting on indigenous peoples when complaints involving indigenous peoples are received
- The IPAF meets annually to discuss issues relevant for indigenous peoples related to the aluminium supply chain, and to undertake research and documentation as decided by the Forum members.
2017 Annual IPAF meeting in Australia
In July 2017, the Gumatj people of East Arnhem Land welcomed the IPAF members to Nhulunbuy (Australia), also referred as Gove, for their annual meeting. With facilitation from Mark Annandale (University of the Sunshine Coast) and Gina Castelain (Wik Waya and University of the Sunshine Coast), as well as logistics support from the ASI Secretariat, this experience permitted rich discussions with the Gumatj people, contributed to the IPAF members understanding of bauxite mining and generated essential inputs to the ASI Performance Standard. In addition to its practical outcomes in terms of management of the forum and building of the ASI standards, the meeting also represented an open space for experience sharing and mutual support among representatives of Indigenous Peoples facing various but connected struggles with mining industries and their related facilities.
The meeting gathered 10 participants from Australia, India, Malaysia, Suriname, Switzerland and Thailand (See Annex I). Out of these, six were Indigenous Peoples representatives advocating for communities affected by the exploration, mining and processing of bauxite.
The outcomes of this meeting were two-fold.
- First, the meeting enabled face-to-face discussion about IPAF activities to date and preparation for the coming year. Additional discussion topics included the IPAF terms of reference, a membership outreach strategy, internal and external methods of communication, and the selection representative members to stand on the Standards Committee.
- Second, the meeting offered a space for a collective review of the social aspects of the ASI Standards. These discussions generated valuable recommendations regarding both form and content of the proposed Standards, as well as on possibilities for further application and collaboration of the IPAF in the implementation phase of the certification.
In April 2017, ASI published two Fact Sheets drawn from a publication developed through the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum entitled ‘Mining, the Aluminium Industry, and Indigenous Peoples (Download a copy of the report).
The first factsheet concerns the criteria for the identification of indigenous peoples in various regions throughout the world, and the second addresses the content of indigenous peoples’ right to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent (FPIC).
The need for guidance in relation to these two topics, in order to complement the case studies and proposed ASI indicators, was identified at the 2015 ASI Indigenous Peoples’ Experts Meeting in Chiang Mai.
Earlier IPAF events and outcomes
Convening the ASI Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF) – April 2016
On 16-18 April 2016, indigenous organisations met in Kuantan, Malaysia, to discuss the convening of ASI’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum (IPAF), which will be a standing forum in ASI’s governance. The objectives of the meeting included to share experiences across communities affected by exploration, bauxite mining and processing, and to review and further develop Terms of Reference for the IPAF and its role in ASI governance. Two representatives of the IPAF will serve on the ASI Standards Committee.
Around 20 participants were drawn from Australia, Cambodia, Guinea, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Suriname and the UK. The meeting was hosted by Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) in partnership with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and ASI. A field trip to the Kuantan port and to Kampung Mengkapur, a local Orang Asli indigenous community affected by mining and rubber plantation developments, took place on the third day and concluded with a cultural night in the village where participants shared traditional dances and music.
Meeting participants engaged in two days of detailed and productive discussions on ASI’s governance, assurance model and complaints mechanism and the future role of the IPAF. The meeting resulted in draft Terms of Reference for the establishment and functioning of the IPAF that will now be circulated for further input from indigenous organisations. In addition, a range of valuable input was brought forward by participants that will be integrated into the development of the ASI assurance model and complaints procedures.
ASI extends sincere thanks to the meeting hosts and organisers, to the Mengkapur Village for their kind hospitality, to the hard-working translators, and to all participants for their time, expertise and thoughtful input. The next IPAF meeting is anticipated in early 2017.
Download a copy of the April 2016 meeting report (pdf format).
Indigenous Peoples Expert Workshop – May 2015
In May 2015, indigenous peoples’ organisations gathered over four days in Chian Mai, Thailand, to review the ASI Performance Standard (version 1) and discuss appropriate indicators to measure implementation of the standard in practice.
Input from participating organisations was drawn from India, Cambodia, Australia and Suriname, with additional advice drawn from indigenous peoples’ rights experts from the Philippines, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The meeting was facilitated by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), in partnership with IUCN as the coordinating body for the preparatory stage of ASI.
The meeting resulted in a detailed set of recommendations related to appropriate indicators and associated guidance required for effective implementation and assurance of compliance, plus broader recommendations for continued engagement of indigenous peoples’ organisations and support groups in ASI governance, and for the planned ASI Complaints Mechanism (now complete).
ASI will work to integrate these recommendations into the development of its programs and develop formal structures for continued engagement with indigenous peoples’ organisations and rights experts on these issues.
Report: Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples – November 2015
As one of the outcomes of the Indigenous Peoples Expert Meeting in May 2015, ASI agreed to provide financial support for a publication that could further illustrate and share the experiences of indigenous peoples with the aluminium industry.
The resulting report provides a global overview of the challenges facing indigenous peoples and presents five case studies from Australia, Cambodia, Guinea, India and Suriname. The case studies reveal that indigenous communities are affected by both primary production activities, such as mining and associated infrastructure, and secondary processes such as smelting and energy production used to sustain operations. The report also provides guidance on Free Prior Informed Consent and the identification of indigenous peoples.
The report, published by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was released during the UN Business and Human Rights Forum which took place in Geneva this month. ASI also attended the 3-day UN Forum to exchange experiences and lessons for good practice for business’ responsibility to respect human rights.
The ASI Performance Standard includes requirements for companies to adhere to key principles concerning the rights of indigenous peoples, including obtaining Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) “where new projects or major changes to existing projects may have significant impacts on the Indigenous peoples associated culturally with or living on the relevant lands”.
ASI is currently working with FPP to convene a standing Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum as part of its formal governance structure. This group would be comprised of representatives from Indigenous Peoples organisations and indigenous peoples’ rights experts that have connections to the aluminium value chain.
The Indigenous Peoples Advisory Forum will liaise with both the ASI Board and Standards Committee on matters relating to standards setting, the ASI Complaints Mechanism, and the broader involvement of indigenous peoples in ASI’s programs.
Click to Download a copy of the report