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.
This is the fourteenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
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).
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.
This is the concluding chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This chapter looks at the conclusions and recommendations to be made from the studies within this document.
The findings of these studies expose the gulf that exists between the law and the RSPO standard and point to the urgent need for governance and legal reforms to adequately protect community rights from expropriation and provide just remedies for abuses. Equally critical are development processes achieved through legal, policy and governance reforms to protect indigenous peoples’ and farmers' land rights, prevent ‘land grabs’, ensure fair processes of negotiation over land, build community capacity and ensure mechanisms for the resolution of land conflicts. Full supply chain traceability is needed in which environmental protections are matched with comprehensive protections of human rights. Such accountability should equally apply to investors. Widespread and effective compliance with the RSPO standard depends on respect for human rights, good governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law and access to justice. While the RSPO standard itself needs to be strengthened and enforced, so long as national laws and policies allocate lands to companies without respect for community rights, company compliance will be hard to achieve and further conflict inevitable.
This is the fourth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This is the fifth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
East Kalimantan attracts significant domestic and national investment due to the lucrative potential of its natural resources. In Kutai Kartanegara district alone (where PT REA Kaltim Plantations is locaded), oil, natural gas and coal mining represent over 77% of the local economy. The development of oil palm plantations on Non Forest Cultivation Areas has been relentless with an increase of 30% in the last seven years, and a further 4.7 million ha projected for conversion by 2025.
A range of negative ecological and social impacts have resulted from the ill-regulated acquisition of land for natural resource eploitation in East Kalimantan.
This is the sixth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.To view the document as a whole please click here.
This is the seventh chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
On 19th – 24th April 2013, Sawit Watch,Forest Peoples Programme and Setara Jambi visited PT Asiatic Persada to assess progress in IFC CAO mediation of land conflicts in indigenous Batin Sembilan communities of six villages: Mat Ukup, Terawang, Pinang Tinggi, Sungai Beruang, KopSad and Kelompok Bidin. The team also interviewed relevant local NGOs (Perkumpulan Hijau and CAPPA) and the IFC CAO mediators. The company did not respond to the team’s request to meet.
This is the ninth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This case study looks in some detail at oil palm concessions granted in 1996 to a local joint venture company Rinwood-Pelita on the middle Tinjar river in northern Sarawak which overlaps the customary lands of communities of the Berawan, Kayan and Kenyah peoples. The local enterprise was acquired by the Malaysian transnational palm oil company, IOI, a prominent member of the RSPO, in 2006.
This is the tenth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This study examines an oil palm plantation being developed in the very centre of Sabah by the Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysian company Genting, which has interests in real estate development, casinos, tourism as well as palm oil. Its subsidiary Tanjung Bahagia Sdn Bhd has opened up some 8,000 ha of lands with an associated palm oil mill on lands claimed by the Sungai and Dusun peoples of Tongod District in the headwaters of the Kinabatangan river. After unsuccessful attempts at dialogue with the company and appeals to the government, in 2002, the communities took their case to court. During the past 10 years, the case has proceeded laboriously through the hierarchy of high courts, appeals courts and the Federal Court but owing to sustained objections by the defendants the communities’ pleadings have yet to be heard. The case exemplifies the tensions between the RSPO’s voluntary standard, which requires respect for customary rights and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, and the State’s laws and land allocation procedures, which deny these same rights.
This is the eleventh chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
This paper results from a short diagnostic survey, undertaken jointly by the Indigenous Peoples Foundation of Thailand and the Forest Peoples Programme in January 2013. The study aimed to ascertain the situation of the Mani people in relation to agricultural expansion, draw attention to their plight and consolidate links between them and the indigenous peoples of the north.
This is the twelth chapter of 'Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads'.
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.
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.