UNDP and Ministry of Agriculture launch Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (SPO) Initiative

Jakarta – 20 December 2012, In order to facilitate sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia, the Ministry of Agriculture, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and several multinational corporations have partnered to develop the Sustainable Palm Oil (SPO) Initiative. This initiative will help Indonesia break new ground in terms of building a greener economy that promotes growth, equity and livelihood. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil.

While the palm oil industry has contributed substantially to job creation and the growth of Indonesia’s economy, there are concerns that, if not properly managed, it can also lead to environmental hazards such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and rising greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, small-scale palm oil farmers often lack the capacity, knowledge and resources to adopt sustainable production practices and gain meaningful livelihoods.

The SPO initiative aims to support the sustainable production and use of palm oil while minimising adverse environmental and social impacts. It also seeks to improve the capacity of small farmers to produce sustainable palm oil, and will promote the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System (ISPO) in the international community. ISPO is a mandatory national sustainable palm oil certification scheme managed by the Ministry of Agriculture. .

This first National Palm Oil Platform meeting will serve as a starting point for a series of discussions among stakeholders within the SPO Initiative. The Platform aims to bring together public, private and other palm oil stakeholders in a bid to strengthen partnerships, build synergies and create greater transparency. Discussions at the Platform will be brought to the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate further development of the Indonesian palm oil industry. The first meeting will present and review the objectives, proposed activities and organizational arrangements for the SPO initiative. .

The establishment of SPO is in line with UNDP’s mission to help countries such as Indonesia find ways to ensure that economic growth becomes sustainable and empowers the poor and the marginalized population. SPO is also a window of opportunity to create a more socially-responsible palm oil industry.

A. Objective of SPO Initiative

The Ministry of Agriculture and UNDP will work together on the SPO initiative to increase smallholder capacity and improve livelihoods, better protect the environment and reduce GHG emissions.

B. SPO Initiative strategic components:

  • Strengthen ISPO smallholder certification process focussing on good agriculture practices and environment protection;
  • Strengthen ISPO standards to protect forests, enhance biodiversity conservation, and mitigate and monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  • Facilitate social responsibility, empowering related communities and mediation systems;
  • Reinforce the ISPO framework and clarify ISPO standards for wider acceptance; and
  • Establish national and provincial platforms to ensure transparency in support of the SPO initiative to promote sustainable palm oil.

C. SPO will be coordinated with key stakeholders such as Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Environment, BAPPENAS, UKP4, REDD+ Agency, Ministry of Cooperation and SMEs, National Land Agency, Ministry of Trade, National Standardization Agency, provincial and district governments, the private sector, smallholders, relevant palm oil associations, CSOs and NGOs.

D. The SPO Initiative, through the platform mechanism, will recommend to the Ministry of Agriculture rules and regulations to be included or withdrawn from ISPO criteria. Decisions to add or amend regulations will be taken after consideration by the ISPO Commission.

SPO is a five-year project working at the national level and also in three pilot provinces (Riau, South Sumatra, and West Kalimantan). Collaboration between the private sector and other related schemes such as RSPO and NGO projects will be pursued.