The Ancestral Forest in Sanjan Land

This article comes from our partners Institut Dayakologi and is taken from an original article by Dominikus Uyub in the Kalimantan Review magazine, in November 2010.

Mott Foundation - "Protecting indigenous rights is NGOs’ shared passion"

Article on Charles Stewart Mott Foundation website, covering the work of Forest Peoples Programme and partner Sawit Watch. By Maggie Jaruzel Potter. The following is an excerpt from the article:

"Marcus Colchester, through his work with the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), helps local NGOs and indigenous people hold governments and international financial institutions (IFIs) accountable for their investment decisions.

For many years, he says, FPP has focused its efforts on creating awareness and mobilizing Indonesians to reform the global palm oil industry, which markets its product for food, cosmetics and as bio-fuel. Since the 1980s, Colchester says, the palm oil industry has received more than $2 billion from the World Bank.

He and his FPP colleagues have many years of experience working with policymakers and IFIs directly, but they don’t start there. Instead, FPP uses the bottom-up approach like CASA, working first with people on the ground before sharing what it has learned with top-level policymakers, Colchester says.

“We take our lead from the local people,” he said. “What has been the secret to our success is our alliance with people on the ground, at the village level, who know exactly what is going on.”

"Monitoring palm oil industry to protect people and planet" - Interview with Marcus Colchester (FPP) by Maggie Jaruzel Potter, Mott Foundation

Excerpt from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation website:

"Marcus Colchester is director of the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in the United Kingdom that supports the rights of those who live in forests and depend upon them for their livelihoods. FPP staff members help people secure their rights, control their land and decide their future. Mott Foundation Communications Officer Maggie Jaruzel Potter conducted a phone interview with Colchester about the organization’s work, which is supported through the International Finance for Sustainability focus area of Mott’s Environment program. This is an edited transcript of that conversation.

‘Unsafeguarded’ Norwegian money for REDD triggers controversy

The dismally slow progress in the intergovernmental negotiations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases prompted the Norwegian government, in May, to fast track its own money through a parallel ad hoc financing mechanism to pay developing countries for reducing their emissions from deforestation. The process was initially set up with minimal participation but, in response to protests, the Norwegian Government insisted that it would require respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and sound governance. These claims are beginning to seem increasingly hollow.

Palm Oil, Human Rights and the World Bank - Update

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. 

Palm Oil and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - Update

During May and June, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector financier, finally began a long-delayed process of consultation aimed at developing a revised strategy setting out the terms and conditions for future investment in the controversial palm oil sector. The IFC produced an 'issues paper' which usefully summarised the viewpoints of the various actors, including critics of the IFC. Consultations were then held in Washington, DC; then in three places in Indonesia, followed by Ghana, Costa Rica and finally Europe. Working closely with a consortium of Indonesian NGOs, smallholders and indigenous peoples, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) helped put together a detailed Joint Statement to the IFC setting out proposals for the IFC strategy and how it should be developed. The statement was endorsed by over 160 organisations in Indonesia and around the world and was widely cited by supportive organisations in the subsequent consultations.

Pulp and paper giant, APRIL, continues to seek to impose its expansion plans on the Kampar Peninsula, Riau

The Singapore-based pulp and paper giant, APRIL, through its Indonesian national subsidiary, PT Riau Andolan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), is seeking to develop a ring of new Acacia plantations on community lands on the peat soils of the Kampar Peninsula, in Riau Province on the island of Sumatra. The company also hopes to promote conservation zones in the core of the Peninsula payable with REDD money.

The company claims it adheres to corporate 'best practice' standards, including the communities' rights to 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent'. Yet it has already secured permits to almost 100,000 hecatres of community lands and now only seeks to negotiate with the communities about land use within a heavily constrained framework. This series of letters and a briefing summarises the escalating crisis in the area.  

In the latest letter letter (May 2010), FPP and Scale Up query APRIL's controversial operations in the Kampar Peninsula and urge it to respect the communities' rights. (APRIL recently had its controlled wood certificate from the Forest Stewardship Council withdrawn for lack of compliance.)

Indonesian NGOs concerned about IFC-supported expansion of plantations

Letter from leading forest policy, environment, human rights and social justice NGOs expresses concern that IFC's planned 250,000 hectare plantations expansion project could lead to illegality and impunity, environmental mismanagement, abuse of rights, impoverishment of rural peoples and exacerbate climate change.Letter to IFC