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Commentary: "New Equator Principles Draft Falls Short of Adequately Assessing Social Risk and Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
Author: First Peoples Worldwide, Published on: 7 August 2019
The release of the EP4 draft [the latest revision of the Equator Principles] marks the penultimate step in the EPA’s process to revise the social and environmental risk framework of the Equator Principles... EP4’s inclusion of language and targets to assess Climate Change Risk is a notable step towards... alignment with the 2015 Paris Climate Change agreement... However, First Peoples Worldwide remains concerned about the lack of a human rights-based implementation of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the distinction between Designated and Non-Designated countries. Neither of these revisions are in line with international standards set forth in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), nor aligned with the expectations of Indigenous Peoples which flow from international human rights instruments. Similarly, more specificity and accountability on human rights and climate impacts in reporting is necessary to ensure effective implementation of EP4 by clients, by EPFIs, and by the EPA.... The following recommendations to strengthen EP4 are necessary both to evidence a true commitment to respecting the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and to provide a global standard for adequately assessing social and environmental risk:
- EP4 must include FPIC as a right, and not solely a process, as enumerated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments. Reliance on host country standards to implement FPIC reduces the Equator Principles’ efficacy to both assess social risk and to respect Indigenous rights.
- EP4’s continued distinction between Designated and Non-Designated Countries contradicts their stated commitment to integrating respect for all Indigenous Peoples globally.
- EP4 must include a stronger approach to creating access to grievance mechanisms and to instituting remedies, as set forth in the UNGPs.
- The EPA must ensure that EP4 integrates the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples, their representative organizations and civil society.