Indonesia's Response to European Parliament Palm Oil Resolution

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1. The European Parliament Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests which was passed through voting at the plenary session in Strasbourg on 4 April 2017 reflects a discriminative act with regard to palm oil. This discriminative act is contrary to the European Union’s position as the champion of open, rules-based, free, and fair trade.

 

2. The European Parliament Resolution was based on inaccurate and unaccountable data on developments related to palm oil and forestry management in palm oil producing countries including Indonesia. The resolution also disregarded the multi-stakeholders approach.

 

3. Palm oil is not the main cause of deforestation. Based on studies by the European Commission in 2013, from a total of 239 ha of land which underwent deforestation globally in a 20 year period, 58 million ha was due to livestock grazing, 13 million ha to soy, 8 million ha to corn, and 6 million ha to palm oil. In other words, total global palm oil contributed to approximately 2.5% of total global deforestation.

 

4. Palm oil is part of the solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provides a positive contribution to increasing global demand for biofuels to replace fossil fuels. Palm oil is currently the most productive vegetable oil in terms of land use and yield at 4,27 ton/ha/year, while ​​​rapeseed only produces 0,60 ton/ha/year, sunflower at 0,52 ton/ha/year, and soy at 0,45/ton/ha/year.

 

5. The single certification scheme proposed by the European Parliament Resolution can potentially increase unnecessary barriers to trade and is counterproductive to efforts to increase the quality of palm oil sustainability. Indonesia has the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) which is mandatory and focuses on the protection and management of the environment.

 

6. The recommendation to phase out the use of palm oil within the resolution is protectionist in nature. It is odd that the resolution recommends the promotion of rapeseed and sunflower oils, which according to data, are actually inferior to palm oil.

 

7. The resolution also disregards the rights of small-scale palm oil farmers to make a living. There are 16 million people who directly and indirectly depend on the palm oil sector. 41% of palm oil is produced by small-scale farmers in villages.

 

8. The resolution also ignores the efforts conducted by the Government and multiple stakeholders in Indonesia to maintain and balance the issues of development and the environment, including a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil land, collaborative schemes between government, private sector, and civil society in peatland restoration, sustainable palm oil management, as well as Indonesia’s prominent role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.