|World Bank proposes engagement approach in Palm Oil|
International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank released a draft framework for engagement in the palm oil sector, detailing an approach that aligns with the World Bank Group mission to fight poverty without compromising economic, environmental or social sustainability, and inviting further public comment.
In media release, Monday, the IFC stated: “Sustainable palm oil production offers significant development benefits in many developing countries. Yet the sector has been associated with negative environmental and social impacts, including deforestation, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, land use conflicts, and questions over land tenure and human rights.
“The World Bank Group, in partnership with other stakeholders, can play a strong role in bringing about positive change at the national and industry levels, with the goal of deepening development impacts, encouraging sustainable practices and limiting further deforestation. The draft framework articulates specific actions the World Bank Group proposes to take to fulfill this role.
“The development of the draft framework was guided by the input of industry, governments, civil society organizations, banks, small farmers, indigenous communities, and researchers in a series of global consultations on the sector’s key sustainability issues.
These initial consultations took place in Accra, Amsterdam, Jakarta, Medan, Pontianak, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. between April 23 and June 4, 2010.
Four key themes emerged from the consultations: policy and regulatory environment; responsible private sector investments; benefit sharing with small farmers and communities; and sustainability codes of practice. These themes underpin the World Bank Group’s proposed future engagement in the sector.
“The release of the draft framework for further public comment is part of the World Bank Group’s commitment to develop a common approach to its engagement in the palm oil sector in consultation with multiple stakeholders.
The consultation round on the draft framework starts in late July and runs through September 1, 2010. It includes moderated electronic discussions and a multi_stakeholder meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. The World Bank Group has temporary suspended its new investments in the palm oil sector until it finalizes its common approach in the sector.”
Palm oil in its various forms has become the leading vegetable oil produced globally, accounting for one quarter of global consumption and nearly 60 percent of international trade in vegetable oils. It is used in soaps, detergents, cosmetics, oleo chemicals, and—more recently—as a feedstock for the production of biodiesel. 50 percent of all goods found on supermarket shelves contain palm oil as an ingredient.
Palm oil is cultivated commercially on about 12 million ha in the humid tropics. Major producers are Malaysia and Indonesia, which produce 85 percent of global output.
Smaller but significant producers include Nigeria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand.
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