Operating Inside Customary & Constitutional Tenure Overlaps

The independent study completed at the request of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), analysing the relationship between some Mapuche communities and forestry companies within the context of FSC certification in Chile, was presented at today’s “Operating Inside Customary and Constitutional Tenure Overlaps"” side event of the General Assembly.

Titled The Chilean Forestry Industry, FSC Certification and the Mapuche People, the report delivers important conclusions about the origins of ongoing issues between specific Mapuche communities and the forestry industry in Chile.

Based on macro level research using an anthropological, social and historical perspective of the relationship between Mapuche communities and the Chilean state, and a micro level documentation within four specific communities or lof mapu – the Mapuche traditional unit of social organization-, the study  analyses their interaction with forestry companies certified by FSC.

Among its findings, the report points out important issues that should be addressed by FSC certified forestry companies in the lof mapu studied. Among these, the need to revise FSC certification by taking the Principles and Criteria as a baseline to improve how it addresses Indigenous Peoples rights as guaranteed by Principle 3 and land tenure dispute resolution in territories claimed by Mapuche communities as envisaged by Principle 4. An important part of the study is also dedicated to environmental issues within Mapuche traditional lands.

The report also documents improvements within certificate holders in the region such as enhanced corporate social responsibility along FSC guidelines or employment opportunities offered to Mapuche personnel in order to bolster the ties with these communities.

“This independent study has provided FSC International and FSC Chile with some important conclusions on the situation of the Mapuche community and how we can try to work together to try to find a solution. The discussions we’ve had at the General Assembly will be very valuable to advance further in that direction,” commented Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC International.

The study was completed by a panel of independent, international, and Chilean experts, coordinated by Rosamel Millaman and Charles R. Hale from the University of Texas – Austin. The multidisciplinary research team included José Aylwin, Margarita Canio, Yerko Castillo, Héctor Nahuelpan, Carlos Oyarzun and Rubén Sánchez, all with a deep knowledge of the different issues surrounding the Mapuche community.