Growing global demand for palm oil is fuelling the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia and Africa. Concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the conversion of vast tracts of land to monocrop plantations led in 2004 to the establishment of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which encourages oil palm expansion in ways that do not destroy high conservation values or cause social conflict. Numerous international agencies have also called for reforms of national frameworks to secure communities’ rights and to develop sound land governance.
This publication is launched on the occasion of World Food Day, marked by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations with the theme of “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. In particular, this report seeks to inform one of the key objectives of World Food Day: to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions.
The Indonesian government has issued an industrial timber plantation licence for use on the Zanegi community’s customary lands to timber company PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a subsidiary of the Medco Group, whose concession extends over 169,400 ha, and which is one of over 80 companies operating as part of the government-sponsored Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) agro-industrial mega-project.
The subject of this request is the extreme harm caused to indigenous Papuans by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (the MIFEE project), a State-initiated, agro-industrial mega-project implemented by a variety of corporate entities that, to-date, encompasses around 2.5 million hectares of traditional indigenous lands in Merauke. The affected indigenous peoples have already lost a considerable area of their lands due to acquisition by these companies and conversion to plantations of one kind or another. The irreparable harm they have already experienced continues to expand and intensify as more companies commence operations.
In 2011, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a Framework and Strategy for investment in the palm oil sector. The new approach was adopted on the instructions of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, after a damning audit by International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) semi-independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) had shown that IFC staff were financing the palm oil giant, Wilmar, without due diligence and contrary to the IFC’s Performance Standards. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil trader, supplying no less than 45% of globally traded palm oil. The audit, carried out in response to a series of detailed complaints from Forest Peoples Programme and partners, vindicated many of our concerns that Wilmar was expanding its operations in Indonesia in violation of legal requirements, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and IFC norms and procedures. Almost immediately after the audit was triggered, IFC divested itself of its numerous other palm oil investments in Southeast Asia.
International and Indonesian civil society organisations' complaint on transparency and corporate social responsibility of Wilmar International regarding treatment of civil society queries in communications with Wilmar subsidiary PT Anugrah Rejeki Nusantara (Merauke, Papua, Indonesia).
RE: Civil society inputs to the public consultation on the thematic report on indigenous peoples and business and human rights.
The Malind Anim tribe in Zanegi village, Merauke, Papua, Indonesia are hunter gatherers who rely on the forest for their livelihoods. They are born, raised and get food from the forest. But in the village of Zanegi, times have changed. The MedCo corporation is clearing thousands of hectares of forest, with plans to convert 169,000 hectares of land to industrial tree plantations as part of the million hectaure Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, known as MIFEE.