9 August 2017

HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme: three years on


HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme: three years on

Nearly three years on from the launch of its Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS), the High Conservation Value (HCV) Resource Network has released an overview of what has been achieved so far, showing the impact of the Scheme and sharing insights about how it can be implemented in the future.

The HCV Resource Network (HCVRN) and the ALS play a key role in ensuring critical social and environmental values are protected in production landscapes. Proforest has been involved with the HCVRN since it was formed in 2005, initially hosting the Secretariat and more recently as a member of the Management Committee.

The HCVRN was created to help stakeholders identify, manage and monitor HCVs (critically important ecological, social and cultural values), by bringing together and helping stakeholders to consistently use the HCV approach. In 2014, the HCVRN launched the ALS to improve the competency of HCV assessors and the consistency and rigour of HCV assessment reports. It does this in three main ways:

  1. Issuing licences to lead HCV assessors.
  2. Providing guidance documents and reporting templates.
  3. Evaluating the HCV assessment reports produced by licensed assessors.

Shortly after the launch of the ALS, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) started requiring the use of licensed assessors for all new oil palm plantings above 500 hectares. And, later that year, stipulated that all HCV assessments for new oil palm plantings, regardless of size, should be led by licensed HCV assessors. This has meant that demand for the scheme since 2014 has largely come from the oil palm sector.

Highlights of the ALS, in numbers

  • 79 provisional and 8 full licenses have been issued. Two members of the Proforest team have achieved full licenses: Abraham Baffoe and Nana Darko Cobbina, whilst Daniel Arancibia and Mike Senior have provisional licences.
  • 41 experts from 15 countries are listed on the HCVRN expert registry – this includes the five Proforesters mentioned above and three former Proforest members of staff
  • 14 HCV assessor training courses have been successfully completed. 9 were delivered by Proforest – in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia and Sierra Leone – in addition, an HCV Assessor Training course is scheduled to take place in Mexico in October.
  • In total 361,468 hectares have been assessed, with 88,055 hectares (24%) being allocated for conservation.

Almost all of the HCV assessments conducted in Africa – totalling 146,278 hectares – have been conducted by Proforest, and increasingly by our partners, including those trained and mentored under the Africa Practitioners Network. We have led HCV assessments in Gabon, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, as well as in Southeast Asia in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.