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Working together to achieve a sustainable palm oil sector in Africa

The Fourth Regional Meeting of the Africa Palm Oil Initiative and the TFA 2020 General Assembly took place in Accra, Ghana, last month.

The fourth regional meeting of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020 Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) took place in Accra, Ghana on 17 May 2018, organised by Proforest in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.

The goal of the APOI is to develop a responsible palm oil sector that takes account of the ambitious development plans of countries in Africa, while addressing environmental targets for reduced deforestation, land use and greenhouse gases, and social indicators on issues such as land tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples.

APOI is led by 10 country teams from the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Cameroon. Each team is composed of representatives from government, civil society and the private sector. The work of the APOI is coordinated by Proforest, on behalf of TFA 2020, thanks to financial support from the UK’s Department For International Development through the Partnership for Forests Programme and from the Global Environment Facility through the Good Growth Partnership, via World Wildlife Fund.

Scenes from the Regional Meeting

The regional meeting welcomed around 85 participants from over 20 different countries – including Gita Sahryani, from Indonesia’s LTKL jurisdictional programme and Ivan Daro Valencia from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Colombia, who gave a short presentation on the experience in Colombia of launching the Zero Deforestation Agreement for Palm Oil. There was a very strong representation from public, private and civil society sectors with a good gender balance and participation of indigenous groups and smallholder organisations, ensuring that the meeting supported the APOI’s aims to be inclusive.

In 2016 seven African governments publicly committed to placing sustainability and human rights at the heart of Africa’s oil palm sector when they signed the TFA 2020 Marrakesh Declaration at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2016. Since then, work to implement the Declaration has been driven forward by the APOI country teams.
The Regional Meeting aims to share lessons, experiences and progress from the country teams and to share experience with similar initiatives aimed at addressing deforestation from commodity supply chains – such as the Cocoa and Forest Initiative. It also aimed to connect the TFA 2020 community in West and Central Africa, and work together to build and strengthen public-private partnerships for sustainable and deforestation-free commodity production in the region.


The Governor of Edo State of Nigeria, Godwin Obaseki, gave the keynote address. Addressing how to balance the potential for economic development associated with expansion of palm oil production with conservation and social protection. He outlined some of the measures Edo State has taken to ensure that biodiversity is conserved even as oil palm plantations expand their operations. He also reviewed the plan to create a strategy to support smallholder farmers and outgrower schemes to ensure inclusiveness. In closing, he announced that Edo State has been just approved as a TFA 2020 Partner and in the coming months will be working to develop their National Principles and Actions under the APOI.

At the conclusion of the meeting Proforest’s Africa Regional Director, Abraham Baffoe, outlined the a number of key next steps for the APOI including a series of in-country training courses on issues such as HCV (High Conservation Values), HCS (High Carbon Stock) and FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent). These training courses are intended to build technical capacity and awareness of key issues surrounding the commodity-driven deforestation agenda.

Marco Albani, director of TFA 2020, delivered concluding remarks, emphaising the importance of continuing the dialogue to build partnerships and share experiences among the country teams and other stakeholders working in the sector in West and Central Africa.

 



To find out more about the APOI visit www.proforest.net/apoi or email:

Published 01.06.2018

Download the latest APOI briefing note in English and French