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The Jakarta Post
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Slow progress on merging palm oil certifications

  • Anton Hermansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, February 17, 2016 | 09:47 pm
Slow progress on merging palm oil certifications

A worker harvests oil palm fruit at a state-operated plantation in Bekri, Lampung, in this photo file taken on Dec. 9, 2008. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

The government'€™s effort to bring the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification in line with the globally-acknowledged Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has shown little progress due to numerous differences.

The assessment to combine the two certifications was completed in Dec. 2015, two years after a memorandum of understanding on the move was signed by the two certificate organizations on Nov. 3, 2013.

"Sustainability is a difficult subject, because it is still evolving. New cases appear, and both of the bodies implement new methodologies," RSPO Indonesia director Tiur Rumondang told thejakartapost.com on Wednesday.

The assessment was initially pushed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The Agriculture Ministry has appointed independent consultant Mutuagung Lestari to assess a merger of the two certification standards.

"Now the studies on similarities between ISPO and RSPO are finished. Next, we focus on the differences," Mutuagung researcher Hariyadi said.

Similarities found in the two certifications, he explained, were on the high conservation values (HCV), free prior and informed consent (FPIC) and new planting procedures (NPP).

However, many differences were found, especially on tools and approaches used by ISPO and RSPO, Hariyadi said. He pointed specifically to measures taken to settle land conflicts.

RSPO would immediately suspend the certificate until the conflict settled. ISPO, on the other hand, would put the conflicted area into '€˜enclave status'€™ and allow the remaining land to be developed while discussions go on to find a resolution.

Agricultural Ministry spokesman Dwi Praptomo Sujatmiko said the government would not take any new measures on the palm-oil certification while waiting for the study to complete. (ags)