Jakarta, Indonesia, June 24, 2015 – The government of Central Kalimantan has committed to develop a jurisdictional approach to sustainable production of palm oil. The initiative was launched with the declaration of the “Central Kalimantan’s Pathway to Low-Emission Rural Development”, which was signed by Dr Agustin Teras Narang, Governor of Central Kalimantan, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force that was held in Barcelona.
The annual meeting, organized by the Central Kalimantan provincial government in collaboration with the Earth Institute Innovation and Yayasan Inovasi Bumi, was attended by 16 governors from Asia, Latin America and Africa that came together to discuss and find solutions to prevailing global issues that included climate change, deforestation and rural poverty alleviation among others. The governors represented states and provinces that cover 25% of the world’s tropical forests, including 75% of Brazilian forests and more than 50% of the forests in Indonesia and Peru.
As a common practice, certification targets single plantations or mills that belong to companies or smallholders, with the latter often facing challenges in implementing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions requirements.
Through the jurisdictional approach, certification of palm oil production will be implemented at the provincial level using a model of rural development that is aimed at reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions while also improving the welfare of society and recognizing the rights of the indigenous communities.
According to Darrel Webber, Secretary General of RSPO, “this declaration is an excellent breakthrough to accelerate the realization of sustainable palm oil as a norm. The Central Kalimantan government should be regarded as a role model to not only other provinces in Indonesia that are producing palm oil, but to all palm oil producing nations as well. The RSPO welcomes and supports this commitment and invite all stakeholders in the international community and throughout the supply chain to support the realization of the goals set out by this initiative”.
He further added, “This commitment also illustrates the collaborative effort of all stakeholders, including oil palm growers and non-governmental organizations that are working together with the provincial government to address the environmental, social and economic challenges of palm oil production."
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In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably-produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta, London and Zoetermeer (NL)
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Such multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Executive Board and project-level Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the "roundtable" by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group to bring group-specific agendas to the roundtable, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders and business competitors to work together towards a common objective and make decisions by consensus.