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Gabon RSPO National Interpretation wins approval

The Gabon National Interpretation of RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C), a process led by Proforest, has gained RSPO Board approval, marking an important step in making palm oil certification in Gabon more locally relevant and effective.

Whilst the RSPO P&C are crucial in defining the legal, economic, environmental and social prerequisites to sustainable palm oil production, these inevitably vary between different countries. Developing National Interpretations of the RSPO P&C is therefore fundamental to creating informed and effective palm oil certification.

Gabon’s accomplishment is the culmination of a process led by WWF Gabon and launched with the other RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) members in Gabon: Olam, SIAT and ZSL. After a legal and institutional review of the palm oil sector in Gabon, a multi-stakeholder working group was established in line with RSPO guidelines for national interpretation processes. This brought together representatives from civil society organizations, national and regional organizations, palm oil producers, local authorities, development partners, NGOs, key ministries and national consultancy firms.

At the inception, Proforest facilitated a two-day RSPO workshop which sought to build stakeholder capacity regarding RSPO, its requirements and RSPO’s National Interpretation process. The P&C were then divided between four volunteer-led technical working groups into the following categories:

 

  • High Conservation Values (HCV) / Biodiversity 

 

  • Pesticides and best agricultural practices

 

  • Land rights and traditional rights

 

  • Health and security / Labour law

 Over a series of workshops and meetings, the groups identified National Indicators and produced a first draft of the document which, as per the requirements and guidelines of the RSPO, was then open to public consultation. Input was invited from a wide variety of stakeholders, either in the form of online comments or through participation in stakeholder consultation workshops held throughout the country.

This feedback was used by the technical committee who, led by WWF Gabon & supported by Proforest, revised the draft to produce the finalized National Interpretation. This was submitted to the RSPO for approval, together with the National Interpretation Process Report. Approval was awarded on 6 March 2017, and future audits will now be based on the Gabon National Interpretation (GA NI).

Proforest congratulates Gabon on its recent achievement, which has made it the second country in Africa to gain RSPO P&C National Interpretation approval after Proforest supported Ghana's National Interpretation process last year. The success of both countries will be a driving force for sustainable palm oil in the West Africa region, often regarded as the next frontier for palm oil.

Gabon’s achievement sends a message that governments, companies and civil society alike are both willing and able to work together to ensure that palm oil is developed sustainably.

For more information, visit the RSPO National Interpretation page.

Published 04.04.2017

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