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 document, and the consultations on which it is based, is intended to enable communities in Sime Darby affected areas in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia, to have their voice heard at the national level, so that government law and policy (in particular that relating to land and natural resources) can in future fit with community customary practices and community self-determined development priorities, and prevent future conflict of the kind experienced in relation to the Sime Darby concession in Grand Cape Mount.
Instances of conflict between communities and large-scale agricultural concessions have recently brought the issues of land and human rights into focus in Liberia, and throughout Africa.
Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, ran into trouble recently when communities in Liberia complained about a 33,000 ha.
This briefing, launched on the occasion of the 10th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT10), draws together the key findings of fourteen studies on FPIC in RSPO member/certified plantations based on the RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C) and related Indicators and Guidance, and makes recommendations for reforms in the way palm oil companies honour the principle of FPIC and respect customary rights to land.