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’.
This Technical Guide is the third in a series that has been developed to support implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012, since when they have received approval from various forums, including the G20, Rio+ 20, and the United Nations General Assembly. The other FAO technical guides in this series include guides to: responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure; improving governance of forest tenure; and, improved governance of tenure in fisheries.
Although this review concerns in particular Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) and the leading investor Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) in respect of their joint venture (Liberian Palm Developments Ltd) and Liberian subsidiary company LIBINC Oil Palm Inc., it is hoped that as well as being a constructive contribution to resolving issues in contention in that context, the experiences presented by this review will give practical and scalable lessons that the private sector, government, civil society and community actors can use to ensure compliance with legal and voluntary FPIC obligations in particular, and the respect of customary land rights generally.
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