The FPIC - the procedure for obtaining the peoples’ consent to their resettlement - to be held in the Russian Arctic for the first time

The FPIC - the procedure for obtaining the peoples’ consent to their resettlement - to be held in the Russian Arctic for the first time

Expert Reports  

Tukhard will become the flagship of the FPIC process in the Russian Arctic in the Taimyr Peninsula. The FPIC procedure (free, prior and informed consent) will be held in Taimyr for the first time, in full compliance with the international standards. It was initiated by the Norilsk Nickel Company.

The FPIC procedure in Tukhard will be carried out in connection with the villagers’ resettlement from the area of sanitary protection. In accordance with the current legislation, permanent residence within the boundaries of these zones, including the permanent registration, is not allowed.

Tukhard was founded in the 1970s near the Nenets village of Kisly Nos to host the Norilskgazprom’s builders. In Soviet times, the resource development of Tukhard, including its public utility and infrastructure systems, depended on the enterprise development. Historically, the employees of the enterprise lived in Tukhard on a rotational basis, and later on, it served as a nomad camp for the indigenous people when they roamed from place to place.

Since Tukhard was formed as an accommodation camp for the employees working on a rotational basis, its development did not provide for the infrastructure that would meet modern ideas about comfortable permanent residence and the requirements for a residential place.

At present, the situation requires a solution to the problem in accordance with the current legislation that establishes sanitary protection zones and the associated restrictions. The relocation of the people is also associated with the proximity of facilities that are the company’s legacy of the past industrial development of the Arctic. The Norilsk Nickel Company realizes its responsibility and offers several options to solve this problem on the principle of prior and informed consent, including moving to new homes for those citizens who would prefer this option. At the same time, the indigenous population will not be cut off from their usual environment, areas of their economic activities and their way of living since New Tukhard is located only 1.5 km away. Some alternative options are also offered, including the purchase of housing in other villages of Taimyr and in the town of Dudinka.

In case of the consent of the residents to resettle, the Company, for its part, will propose the architectural solutions of new residential buildings for discussion, and the people will determine the necessary infrastructure for their comfortable living, as well as other options for relocating.

The FPIC procedure will be held in full respect for the culture of the Nenets - the indigenous people living in Tukhard - and their own decision-making systems. The Company seeks to provide the people with safer and more comfortable living conditions and also to contribute to preserving the traditional way of living and ethnic identity of the indigenous peoples. A prerequisite for this is the open collaboration and direct consultation with the indigenous communities.

To carry out the FPIC procedure, the Interregional Public Organization “KMNSOYUZ” (Union of Indigenous Minorities of the North) set up its advisory council where the international and Russian experts take part. The KMNSOYUZ gives its organizational and methodological assistance to the experts, provides the experts with technical assistance, helps in the substantive aspects of the FPIC procedure and gives direct consultations to the local population.

The expert council consists of the following members:

- Alexey Tsykarev, Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

- Navin K. Rai, Corporate Advisor to the World Bank on Indigenous Peoples Issues, 1999-2012; author of the current World Bank’s Indigenous Peoples Rights Policies;

- Professor James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2008-2014;

- Mikhail Todyshev, Lawyer, Expert on the rights of indigenous minorities;

- Antonina Gorbunova, Lawyer, Expert on the rights of indigenous minorities.

Despite the fact that the FPIC procedure is not directly included in the national legislation of the Russian Federation, Norilsk Nickel willingly recognizes the international standards and, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, expresses the Company’s willingness to implement the FPIC principle.

Here are the experts’ comments on the situation regarding Tukhard:

Alexey Tsykarev - “The principle of free, prior and informed consent is the cornerstone of the respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples to independently determine the vector of their development, as well as political, social, economic and cultural priorities. The main task of the FPIC procedure in Tukhard is to ensure the effectiveness of the indigenous minorities’ participation in decision-making on the resettlement, construction or purchase of new housing, to make sure that the community is fully informed about the infrastructure of the new village, about the relocation options. For the first FPIC experience in the Russian Arctic to be successful, the Company’s task is to provide all the basic elements of the FPIC: free decision-making, prior consent, information awareness. The FPIC is not a one-time solution, but a long-term process that contributes to building trust between the parties.”

Navin K. Rai - “It is very important for industrial companies to understand the FPIC not as a risk to their business, but rather as a contribution to its sustainability. The FPIC is a difficult process, an experience that indigenous peoples and the company go through together in order to reach an agreement that both parties consider equally fair. However, the FPIC process does not end with the signing of an agreement. On the contrary, the relationship is just beginning to avoid possible mistakes in the implementation of the agreements reached.”

Grigory Dyukarev, the head of the organization - “The Association of Indigenous Minorities of Taimyr is a co-organizer of the FPIC procedure and ensures - through its participation - the inclusive participation of the villagers in making decisions and choosing options for their resettlement.”

Sergey Sizonenko, vice-president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East for legal issues - “It is significant that the first FPIC procedure in the Arctic zone will take place in Taimyr during the Russian Federation’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council. So, the rights of our people are respected not only within the framework of our national legislation, but are also guaranteed according to the current international standards.”

The first meetings of the Russian experts with the Tukhard villagers were held from 11 to 14 October 2021 and included informing about the FPIC procedure and the rights of the indigenous peoples, as well as a sociological research and identification of particularly vulnerable groups of the population.