Resources

Securing Forest Peoples’ Rights and Tackling Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Deforestation and forest degradation have increased in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), despite the government’s commitment to safeguard its forests.

Illegal logging, unsustainable mining, commercial agriculture, and urban demand for fuelwood represent only some of the major long-term threats to the forests. By contrast, the traditional livelihood strategies of indigenous and local communities show a capacity to coexist with forests sustainably.

The rights of Baka communities in the REDD+ Ngoyla-Mintom project in Cameroon

Of the indigenous hunter gatherer peoples of Cameroon (the peoples who self-identify as ‘autochthonous’), the Baka are the largest group, numbering about 40,000 and living in an area of 75,000 km2 in the south-west of the country; the Bagyeli/Bokola are the second-largest group with approximately 3,700 people living near the coast in an area of about 12,000 km2; and the third-largest group are the Bedzang who live in the forests north-west of Mbam (Ngambe-Tikar), in the Central Region.

Respecting Rights? Assessing Oil Palm Companies’ Compliance with FPIC Obligations: A case study of EPO and KLK LIBINC Estate in Grand Bassa, Liberia

This review is the result of several years of fieldwork by the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), and is the first step of a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded project that examines putting into practice in Liberia the FAO Technical Guide entitled ‘Respecting free, prior and informed consent, Practical guidance for governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples and local communities in relation to land acquisition’.

Respecting Rights? Assessing Oil Palm Companies’ Compliance with FPIC Obligations: A case study of Maryland Oil Palm Plantation in south-eastern Liberia

This review is the result of several years of fieldwork by the Liberian civil society organisation Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev), in partnership with the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and is part of a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded project that examines putting into practice in Liberia the FAO Technical Guide entitled ‘Respecting free, prior and informed consent, Practical guidance for governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples and local communities in relation to land acquisition’.

Hollow Promises: An FPIC assessment of Golden Veroleum and Golden Agri-Resource’s palm oil project in Liberia

Several years of fieldwork by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and civil society partners in Liberia has revealed the extent to which palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and its lead investor Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are continuing to operate without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of local communities within their concession area, despite the companies’ claims to have learned from past mistakes.

Securing Forests, Securing rights: Report of the International Workshop on Deforestation and the Rights of Forest Peoples

The global forest crisis is worsening and infringements of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are rising, according to a detailed assessment of nine country cases. Climate change mitigation and conservation policies must place community land rights and human rights centre-stage if they are to achieve the goal of sustainably reducing deforestation says the report.

Deforestation, REDD and Takamanda National Park in Cameroon - a Case Study

While focusing in particular on the German financing of rainforest protection in Cameroon, this report also covers the broader issue of how Cameroon’s forest policies are shaped by the REDD process. It takes a case study approach, examining the way such forest protection policies impact on local communities by focusing in on the specific example of those communities whose land has been overlaid by the Takamanda National Park.

Impacts of German private sector involvement for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in the Maï-Ndombe REDD+ Project in the DRC

This is a case study on the Maï Ndombe REDD Project, which is financially supported by the German based company "Forest Carbon Group AG"  through the local company ERA Carbon Offsets (now known as Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc.).  The objective of the case study is to examine the implementation of this project especially in relation to the rights of indigenous and local communities to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the elaboration and implementation of project activities, in order to (i) help stakeholders in Germany better understand the situation with regard to the

FPP E-Newsletter February 2014 (PDF Version)

Dear friends,

The UN General Assembly during its 69th session, on 22-23 September  this year, will convene a high-level plenary meeting - the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples  – to review the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) since its adoption in 2007, and to identify outstanding issues and actions pertaining to indigenous peoples and development.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 13: Summary case study on the situation of Golden Veroleum Liberia’s oil palm concession

The Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) concession agreement was concluded on 16th August 2010 and provides a lease for 220,000 ha of land to GVL in Liberia's southern counties. Community grievances concerning the loss of land to the company, the destruction of crops and water sources, the lack of respect for communities' rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in land acquisition and associated allegations of intimidation, arrests and harassment directed at community leaders, led to several complaints.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 14: The BioPalm oil palm project: a case study in the Département of Océan, Cameroon

This is the fourteenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

Introduction

An increasing trend in large-scale land acquisitions has been observed globally since about 2007 driven by rising food commodity prices, amongst other factors. This phenomenon has attracted the label of ‘land-grab’ due to widespread concern over the threats it presents to the human rights of communities living from the land being acquired. Africa has arguably been the region most affected by such land deals and the authors of this study have recently witnessed this trend in Cameroon. Coinciding with the moratorium on palm oil in Indonesia in 2011, at least four new large-scale oil palm plantation projects have been announced in Cameroon and several existing oil palm and rubber plantations are seeking to expand their current land allocations. This paper examines an oil palm plantation project planned by BioPalm/SIVA in the Océan department of Cameroon. It assesses the plans and processes undertaken by the project proponents, reports on the views of local communities and analyses the project’s compliance with national and international laws, with particular emphasis on the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 15: SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) in South West Cameroon

This is the fifthteenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

On 17th September 2009, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) signed a contract with the Cameroonian government to develop a large industrial oil palm plantation and refinery. SGSOC is 100% owned by the American company Herakles Farms, an affiliate of Herakles Capital, an Africa-focused private investment firm involved in the telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, mining and agroindustrial sectors.

SGSOC's project has been the subject of great controversy over the last two years. Local communities, conservation groups, and NGOs have expressed opposition to the project due to its numerous negative social and environmental impacts. However, Herakles claims the project will contribute to socio-economic development and environmental protection. Yet in September 2012, the firm withdrew their application for membership of the RSPO in reaction to a formal complaint lodged against them and widespread criticism of their project.

'Conflict or Consent?' Chapter 12: Sime Darby oil palm and rubber plantation in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia

This is the twelth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.

Introduction:

Sime Darby’s oil palm and rubber concession in Grand Cape Mount county in northwest Liberia has come under sharp national and international focus after a complaint was submitted under the RSPO New Plantings Procedure (NPP) in November 2011. The complaint, submitted by communities affected by the concession, claimed that their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) had not been sought, and that the destruction of their farmlands by the company in order to plant palm oil was leaving them destitute. Sime Darby’s concession also includes land in the neighbouring counties of Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong.This case study, based on field research conducted in February 2012, assesses the nature and extent of community involvement in the acquisition of land for Sime Darby’s concession in Grand Cape Mount, in particular with regard to whether the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent was respected.1 See page 315 for Sime Darby’s own map of the new plantings area and affected towns in Grand Cape Mount county.

FPP E-Newsletter December 2013 (PDF Version)

Dear Friends,

What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?

Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.

Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads

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Read this report in English or in Bahasa Indonesia

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.