Over half of global tropical deforestation is caused by four commodities: soy, palm oil, beef, and pulp & paper, resulting in 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions – more than all the cars, trucks and buses in the world combined.
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.
Plantation companies seeking to avoid destroying forests and causing climate change have been advised to set aside forests and peatlands within their concessions. But what are the implications for forest peoples? Do they benefit or does this further curtail their rights?
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.