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.
La creciente demanda mundial de aceite de palma está avivando la expansión a gran escala de plantaciones de palma de aceite por todo el sudeste de Asia y por África. La preocupación por las consecuencias ambientales y sociales de la conversión de vastas extensiones de tierra en plantaciones de monocultivo condujo al establecimiento en 2004 de la Mesa Redonda sobre el Aceite de Palma Sostenible (RSPO por sus siglas en inglés), la cual fomenta la expansión de la palma de aceite de maneras que no destruyan altos valores de conservación ni causen conflictos sociales. Numerosas agencias internacionales también han pedido reformas de los marcos nacionales para asegurar los derechos de las comunidades y establecer una gobernanza de la tierra buena y responsable.
MEDAN, INDONESIA (7 November, 2013)—Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in the forests and peatlands of tropical nations worldwide, according to a new research publication released today. The study details the performance of 16 oil palm operations, many run by RSPO members, reporting on their failure to uphold human rights and environmental standards required.
This video, produced by the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), includes interviews with individuals from various NGOs, including FPP and Sawit Watch, during the Public Forum on Inclusive, Sustainable Foreign Direct Investments in Agriculture in South East Asia which took place in Bangkok in March 2013.
12th – 13th March 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Free, Prior and Informed Consent as an expression of right to self-determination of indigenous peoples
Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the palm oil sector in Southeast Asia
Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, ran into trouble recently when communities in Liberia complained about a 33,000 ha.
The international meeting of South East Asian Regional Human Rights Commissions on ‘Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform’ hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (KOMNASHAM), in conjunction with Sawit Watch and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) was held in Bali, Indonesia, from 28th November to 1st December 2011.
PRESS INFORMATION – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A landmark workshop, “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform”, is taking place at the Santika Hotel, Kuta, Bali, from today until 1 December 2011, convened by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and supporting NGOs SawitWatch and Forest Peoples Programme. The event will be attended by over 60 participants, from the National Human Rights Commissions of the Southeast Asian region, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission, notable academics, representatives of indigenous peoples, as well as members of supportive national and international NGOs.
Nur Kholis, Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), said,
“We are taking this initiative in collaboration with the other human rights commissioners of South East Asia as a way of ensuring a more balanced approach to development based on respect for peoples’ rights, with an emphasis on the need to secure livelihoods and the right to food.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The exponential growth in the palm oil sector, which accounts for a third of the total global trade of 130 million tons of vegetable oil annually, is strongly challenged by indigenous peoples and civil society organisations. Indiscriminate land clearing and acquisition for oil palm plantations is resulting in rapid habitat loss, species extinctions and alarming greenhouse gas emissions. It has also led to the dispossession of both indigenous peoples and the rural poor who depend traditionally on forest habitats for their survival.
This insightful study by Forest Peoples Programme, SawitWatch, Samdhana Institute and the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) documents in detail, and for the first time, the way oil palm plantations are now expanding in very different ways across South East Asia as a whole. The study complements better known experiences in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea with new case studies of the processes of oil palm expansion in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
PONTIANAK - A new oil palm plantation being developed in Indonesian Borneo (West Kalimantan) has relinquished community lands to which it had gained a government permit. The company PT Agro Wiratama, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and subsidiary of the giant Musim Mas group, agreed to relinquish more than 1,000 hectares of its 9,000 hectare concession back to the community, following interventions by community representatives and NGOs.
In January the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), released a substantially revised draft of their framework and strategy for engagement in the palm oil sector. The text, circulated for 30 days of public comment, is due to be submitted for approval - after revisions based on any comments received - to the President and Board of Directors in March or April 2011. If the text is approved, the World Bank will then end the worldwide funding moratorium for palm oil projects that it agreed to in 2009 after an internal audit (carried out in response to FPP and partners’ complaints) revealed major violations of due diligence and serious social and environmental impacts.
En enero el Banco Mundial y su brazo para el sector privado, la Corporación Financiera Internacional (IFC por sus siglas en inglés), elaboraron un borrador del nuevo marco estratégico para su participación en el sector del aceite de palma modificando considerablemente la versión anterior. Después de divulgarlo para someterlo a la opinión pública durante 30 días y de modificarlo en función de los comentarios recibidos, el borrador va a ser sometido a la aprobación del Presidente y la Junta de Directores en marzo o abril de 2011. Si el texto es aprobado, el Banco Mundial pondrá fin a la moratoria mundial de financiación de proyectos relacionados con el aceite de palma que acordó en 2009 después de que una auditoría interna (realizada en respuesta a quejas del FPP y sus socios) revelara graves incumplimientos de su diligencia debida y graves impactos sociales y ambientales.
Comments by international and Indonesian indigenous peoples, smallholders and non-governmental organisations on the 6th January 2011 consultation draft World Bank Group Framework and IFC Stratgy for Engagement in the Palm Oil Sector.
Since the 1980s, the World Bank Group has invested more than US$2 billion to promote the global trade in palm oil. The expansion of the crop in intensive mono-cultures, especially in Southeast Asia, has been associated with the extensive clearance of tropical forests, land grabbing and widespread human rights abuses. In response to our complaints, the World Bank Group froze funding for the sector worldwide while it came up with a comprehensive strategy for engagement. A first draft document was released in July for comments. It has failed to address the main issues raised in the consultation, therefore Forest Peoples Programme and its partners have again appealed to the World Bank President for a rethink.
Desde la pasada década de los 80 el Grupo del Banco Mundial ha invertido más de 2000 millones de USD en promover el comercio mundial del aceite de palma. La expansión de esta especie en monocultivos intensivos, especialmente en el sudeste de Asia, lleva asociado el desmonte extensivo de bosques tropicales, la usurpación de tierras y abusos generalizados de los derechos humanos. En respuesta a nuestras quejas, el Grupo del Banco Mundial congeló la financiación para el sector en todo el mundo mientras ideaba una estrategia exhaustiva de participación. En julio publicó un primer borrador para que fuese comentado. En dicho documento no se abordan las principales cuestiones planteadas durante la consulta, por lo que el Forest Peoples Programme (Programa para los Pueblos de los Bosques) y sus socios han vuelto a apelar al Grupo del Banco Mundial para que lo reconsidere.
Letter from FPP and NGOs regarding continuing concerns about the World Bank palm oil strategy
Forest Peoples Programme, Sawit Watch, and Urgewald
This report reveals escalating conflicts between indigenous peoples and oil palm companies due to the rapid expansion of plantations in the Malaysian State of Sarawak. Based on field interviews with community representatives in 12 different villages the report details:
- rapid rate of expansion of oil palm plantations in Sarawak
- reasons for the conflicts over native customary lands
- why some 40 legal cases about land conflicts between communities and oil palm companies are now clogging the courts in Sarawak
- concerns raised by the communities about the plantations
- how the process of oil palm development in Sarawak is contrary to international standards adopted by the Rountable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
- recommendations for reform