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Indigenous Peoples - Social Impact Assessment

Indigenous peoples can be differentiated from mainstream groups in society by their collective attachment to geographical areas and natural resources, their distinct language and their economic, cultural or social institutions. They identify themselves and are recognised by others as a separate group.

Indigenous peoples are often amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable segments of the population due to their economic, social and legal status. They may be at particular risk from mining projects, as their lifestyle is often inseparably linked to their natural environment and they generally have limited capacity to defend their rights to land and natural resources.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has a specific standard (Performance Standard (PS) 7) for the protection and the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples. PS7 identifies that tailored baseline investigations for indigenous people are required to ensure an understanding of their use of land for hunting, collection of plants for food, sale and medicines and access to sacred sites as well as their socio-cultural structures. The IFC also identifies the need for appropriate stakeholder engagement with indigenous groups.

What constitutes good practice for indigenous people is congruent with general good practice for non- indigenous people. However due to their often marginalised position in society, specific engagement is often required. SRK can assist with developing social baselines, engagement plans and development plans specific for indigenous peoples, which foster full respect for their human rights, culture and livelihoods.


In line with host country legislation and IFC Performance Standard 7 on indigenous peoples, SRK can provide:

  • Identification of indigenous groups directly or indirectly affected by a project;
  • Culturally appropriate and effective stakeholder engagement
  • Indigenous peoples baseline studies and impact assessments;
  • Indigenous people’s management plans (including impact mitigation and sustainable development strategies)
  • Support for indigenous peoples capacity building in terms of knowledge of their rights
  • Obtaining Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)


SRK’s approach to indigenous peoples is led by both respect for and acknowledgement of the specific context and rights of indigenous people and is in line with international best practice. SRK aims to ensure:

  • Adherence to the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC);
  • Respect for the rights, beliefs, culture and values of all indigenous people potentially affected by the project.


SRK’s team has experience conducting Indigenous Peoples baseline studies, engaging with Indigenous groups and developing Indigenous peoples’ impact assessments for a range of mining projects, including projects in Republic of Congo and Suriname.

SRK United Kingdom