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Conflict or Consent? The oil palm sector at a crossroads

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Read this report in English or in Bahasa Indonesia

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.

“A sweetness like unto death”: Voices of the indigenous Malind of Merauke, Papua

This publication is launched on the occasion of World Food Day, marked by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations with the theme of “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. In particular, this report seeks to inform one of the key objectives of World Food Day: to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions.

Press Release - Starvation and poverty in Indonesia: civil society organisations appeal for suspension of MIFEE project in Papua pending redress for local communities

The Indonesian government has issued an industrial timber plantation licence for use on the Zanegi community’s customary lands to timber company PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a subsidiary of the Medco Group, whose concession extends over 169,400 ha, and which is one of over 80 companies operating as part of the government-sponsored Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) agro-industrial mega-project.

Request for Further Consideration of the Situation of the Indigenous Peoples of Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia, under the UN CERD's Urgent Action and Early Warning Procedures. 25 July 2013

The subject of this request is the extreme harm caused to indigenous Papuans by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (the MIFEE project), a State-initiated, agro-industrial mega-project implemented by a variety of corporate entities that, to-date, encompasses around 2.5 million hectares of traditional indigenous lands in Merauke. The affected indigenous peoples have already lost a considerable area of their lands due to acquisition by these companies and conversion to plantations of one kind or another. The irreparable harm they have already experienced continues to expand and intensify as more companies commence operations. 

The World Bank’s Palm Oil Policy

In 2011, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a Framework and Strategy for investment in the palm oil sector. The new approach was adopted on the instructions of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, after a damning audit by International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) semi-independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) had shown that IFC staff were financing the palm oil giant, Wilmar, without due diligence and contrary to the IFC’s Performance Standards. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil trader, supplying no less than 45% of globally traded palm oil. The audit, carried out in response to a series of detailed complaints[1] from Forest Peoples Programme and partners, vindicated many of our concerns that Wilmar was expanding its operations in Indonesia in violation of legal requirements, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and IFC norms and procedures. Almost immediately after the audit was triggered, IFC divested itself of its numerous other palm oil investments in Southeast Asia.

A Política do Banco Mundial sobre o Óleo de Palma

Em 2011, o Grupo Banco Mundial (WBG na sigla em inglês) adotou um Quadro e Estratégia para investimentos no setor de óleo de palma. A nova abordagem foi adotada sob instruções do ex-presidente do Banco Mundial, Robert Zoellick, depois de uma condenatória auditoria realizada pelo Compliance Advisory Ombudsman - CAO - (Ouvidor para a Verificação do Cumprimento das Regras) da International Finance Corporation - IFC- (Corporação Financeira Internacional) ter revelado que o pessoal da IFC estava financiando o gigante do óleo de palma, Wilmar[1], sem a devida diligência, e contrário às Normas de Desempenho da IFC. Wilmar é o maior comerciante de óleo de palma do mundo, abastecendo nada menos que 45% do óleo de palma comercializado mundialmente. A auditoria, realizada em resposta a uma série de reclamações detalhadas do Forest Peoples Programme e dos seus parceiros, confirmou muitas das nossas preocupações de que Wilmar estava expandindo suas operações na Indonésia, em violação às exigências legais, normas da Mesa Redonda sobre Óleo de Palma Sustentável (RSPO na sigla em inglês) e as normas e procedimentos da IFC. Quase imediatamente depois do início da auditoria, a IFC desfez-se dos seus outros inúmeros investimentos em óleo de palma no sudeste da Ásia.