TEMPO.CO , Jakarta -The government's commitment to strengthen the sustainable palm oilcertification system (Indonesia Sustainability Palm Oil, ISPO) is questionable. The Civil Society Coordination Forum for the Strengthening of the ISPO and Civil Society Representative Groups for the Sustainable Palm Oil Industry assesses the government's neglect of the multi-stakeholder process in drafting the Presidential Decree on the ISPO Certification System.
One of the representatives of this forum, Mardi Minangsari said that they were initially involved by the government in discussing the ISPO strengthening Perpres. The process of discussion has been running since June 2016. But as of September 2017, Minangsari admitted this forum is no longer getting information from the government about the continuation of the discussion of the draft of Presidential Regulation.
"Early December we questioned the decision of the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, by sending a letter and releasing a press release," said Minangsari in Cikini, Jakarta, Sunday, January 28, 2018.
Minangsari said that initially there was a dialogue between the government and related stakeholders, including civil society. The dialogue took place through a series of public meetings and consultations in various regions, namely Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. Minangsari said the series of processes have also produced recommendations on principles, criteria, and ISPO certification systems that will be included in the draft Perpres. He said that the process should be followed by a national public consultation.
"It turns out that the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs has organized limited meetings so that the existing process becomes closed and we have difficulty in getting access to information about the progress of the process," said Minangsari.
Minangsari said the strengthening of ISPO is important because there are still many problems in the palm oil industry sector. He said the problems that are commonly found include forest encroachment, neglect of human rights principles, agrarian conflict, environmental destruction, waste handling, and so on.
He also assumed, the process is actually going backwards with the issuing of public consultation advice about the principles of human rights and transparency. "These events indicate that the Indonesian government is not ready for a genuine multi-stakeholder process because it ignores input," he said.
Institute for Ecosoc Rights Researcher Sri Palupi said the strengthening of ISPO is expected to make Indonesian palm oil products acceptable in the global market. Moreover, he said, oil palm is a commodity that is still a national economy.
"This global market demands certain conditions, the ISPO globally is not recognized over the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)," Palupi said.
The EU Parliament voted on January 18 to finally approve the proposed Renewable Energy Act which contains a ban on the use of palm oil for biodiesel starting in 2021. The ban is based on issues of sustainability and deforestation in oil palm plantations in Indonesia.
On the other hand, the Indonesian government considers the policy will hit the domestic oil industry. President Joko Widodo in his speech at the Summit of the 40th Anniversary of the ASEAN-EU Partnership Partnership November last year called the EU Parliament's resolution a "black campaign" against Indonesian oil palm.
Jokowi asked the EU to stop the 'black campaign'. He claims that the oil palm industry in Indonesia is very close to eradicating poverty, narrowing the development gap, and building an inclusive economy.
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Original article appeared in Tempo in Bahasa which can be read on this link.