Both ENDS’ response to the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil National Action Plan
On 30 September 2017 Both ENDS submitted a position statement on the draft Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil National Action Plan. The draft National Action Plan purports to represent a blue print for improving the sustainability of the Indonesian palm oil industry. However, Both ENDS has significant concerns about the logic, rationale and purpose behind the draft National Action Plan and its legitimacy as a benchmark for a sustainable palm oil industry.
As the world's largest producer and exporter of palm oil, Indonesia has a national interest in improving the sustainability of this important globally-traded commodity. With global demand for palm oil still rising, and Indonesia's government goal of doubling palm oil production by 2020, there is an obvious risk that the social and environmental controversies associated with palm oil production in Indonesia will also continue and multiply.
In order to address the range of negative social and environmental impacts for which palm oil has become known, the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Forum (Forum Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia - "FoKSBI") has drafted the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil National Action Plan (NAP) in July 2017.
FoKSBI, intended to provide a forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue, is primarily comprised of representatives from the Indonesian government and palm oil industry, with some representatives from 'development partners' (such as USAID, the German and Norwegian Embassies, the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil) and some Indonesian NGOs.
The draft National Action Plan
In general, the draft NAP identifies a number of cross-cutting issues, as well as a range of governance, law enforcement, regulatory, transparency, environmental and certification challenges. There is a prominent focus on measures to increase the coordination, management and productivity of smallholders, and various measures related to improving monitoring, documentation and planning of palm oil plantations through better coordination of government authorities.
While the draft NAP includes some positive and laudable actions, e.g. measures to resolve land conflicts faster, to ensure existing laws are obeyed by palm oil plantation operators, and to combat corruption and misconduct in the industry, the balance of the actions proposed in the draft NAP fails to present a legitimate plan for a genuinely sustainable palm oil industry.
Instead, the actions set out in the draft NAP appear designed to boost the productivity, efficiency and profitability of large industry players, and to further integrate the palm oil industry in Indonesia's economic, environmental, agricultural and energy policies and infrastructure. Reading between the lines, the driving concern seems to be achieving the Indonesian government's ambition of having at least 70% of Indonesian palm oil certified under its domestic Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil ("ISPO") standard and protecting the palm oil industry from international market forces and more onerous foreign sustainability standards (like the RSPO).
Both ENDS' reaction
As an international NGO that works closely with local Indonesian civil society organisations on the human rights, social, environmental, cultural and economic impacts of the palm oil industry, Both ENDS felt compelled to submit a position statement on the draft NAP raising our concerns.
While supporting the multi-stakeholder dialogue process, Both ENDS has significant reservations about the draft NAP and the version of 'sustainability' it presents. In summary, Both ENDS' main concerns are that the draft NAP:
- Insufficiently addresses the industry's core sustainability issues, such as illegal forest clearing and forest fires, peat land degradation, land grabbing, community displacement, watershed degradation, labour rights violations etc;
- Has a misguided emphasis on growth and productivity as means to improving industry sustainability;
- Makes no reference to existing international best-practice or sustainability standards adopted by the international community;
- Lacks any measures to facilitate plantation closure, restoration and reforestation;
- Presents a contradictory conservation policy and no clear conservation goals;
- Fails to address the impacts and influence of large-scale producers, millers, refiners and traders; and
- Poorly represents the interests of non-commercial industry stakeholders.
Both ENDS' full submission can be found below.
FoKSBI has indicated that it hopes to finalise the draft NAP by the end of 2017. Both ENDS has urged FoKSBI to postpone finalizing the draft NAP so that it can be revised, with input from Indonesian and international civil society. If the draft NAP is finalised in its current form, it will represent a huge missed opportunity to bring industry participants, government, and civil society groups together around the goal of resolving the negative impacts of reckless palm oil production.
Read more about this subject
The production of palm oil is causing social and environmental problems worldwide. Both ENDS is working to make the sector fairer and more sustainable and is promoting alternatives for palm oil.
Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.
News / 28 June 2018
Last week, indigenous leaders from various countries were in Paris to urge action on deforestation and human rights abuses at the multi-stakeholder meeting of the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership. The group, invited by Forests Peoples Programme and Both ENDS, presented a publication 'Supply chain solutions for people and forests' containing a set of practical recommendations from local communities on how to make supply chains more sustainable and fair.
Blog / 29 January 2018
By Michael Rice
Pak Japin is a quiet, slim, and softly-spoken man from the village of Silat Hulu, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. I met him at a recent documentary screening in Bali on the fringe of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) annual conference, where he spoke about his community's nine year-long conflict with palm oil company Golden Agri Resources Ltd (GAR).
Video / 30 June 2017
Farmer in Kiungkang, West-Kalimantan, talks about the effects of the palm oil plantation around his village on food production and the health of the population.
News / 15 May 2018
Both ENDS and Forest Peoples Program have formally requested the European Parliament, Commission and Council and the EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, to consult indigenous and local communities impacted by EU trade in palm oil and other agricultural commodities in formal EU policy deliberations on these topics. Why did we decide to do so and what's it all about? Our colleague Michael Rice sheds some light on the matter.
Video / 18 November 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, together with Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a project in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. The project was meant to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights and. This is a beautiful short documentary about how the people of one of these villages responded to the ever expanding palm oil plantations around them.
News / 30 June 2017
In 2005, a palm oil company approached the villagers of Kiungkang in West-Kalimantan, Indonesia, with offers to convert their farms to oil palm smallholdings. Many farmers agreed to the proposal because of the high monthly incomes promised by the company that they could earn from the oil palms. Unfortunately, the palm oil dream turned out to be an illusion.
News / 23 November 2018
The production of palm oil is often accompanied by deforestation, environmental destruction and land grabbing. Local communities and activists who stand up against these problems are often threatened. Now the RSPO has taken significant steps in recent months to tackle these issues.
Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) is a rights-based approach ensuring inclusive and gender-responsive land governance, especially for those whose rights to land are not fully acknowledged.
News / 8 December 2015
Both ENDS has, as a member of the RSPO, participated in a dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Netherlands is the largest importer of palm oil in Europe and wants to promote sustainable trade and production chains.
News / 5 September 2016
By 2020, the EU wants a larger percentage of fuel used for transportation to consist of renewable sources, such as biofuel. Many European countries have therefore made the blending of biofuels in diesel and gasoline mandatory. A large proportion of this biofuel is now palm oil.
News / 28 February 2018
Human Rights defenders from all over the world visit EU to call for strong measures against deforestation
This week, from 12 until 16 February, fourteen indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from forest countries came to the Netherlands to call upon Dutch policy makers to take serious action against human rights abuses, land grabbing and further deforestation in relation to large scale agriculture, timber logging and mining. The Dutch harbours of Rotterdam and Amsterdam receive enormeous amounts of soy and palm oil, both for the Dutch market and for further transport into Europe and elswhere.
Together with civil society organisations from all over the world, the Fair Green and Global (FGG) Alliance aims for socially just, inclusive and environmentally sustainable societies in the Netherlands and the Global South.
Publication / 28 February 2018
Publication / 27 June 2018
News / 22 April 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, within an alliance of Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a pilot project to improve the spatial planning in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia, to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights. We can show you a beautiful documentary about one of the villages in this district, Terusan.
News / 26 October 2018
The sixth High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2018. The HLPF provides an opportunity to review global progress towards achieving the SDGs and for countries to present their own Voluntary National Reviews of the implementation of the SDGs. At this year's HLPF, SDG 15, known as the 'Life on Land'-goal, was under review.
News / 28 November 2017
On 28 November 2007, the Saramaka people won a ground-breaking court case against Suriname at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The Court ruling included the provision that Suriname could no longer grant concessions on tribal territory without the permission of the inhabitants. Ten years later, little has come of implementing this ruling in practice.
Publication / 26 July 2018