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Community / Land projects / GLA - worldwide (Agro-commodities program)

GLA - worldwide (Agro-commodities program)


01/17 - 12/20


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A series of comprehensive studies in recent years emphasized the dominant role of commercial agriculture, notably soy and palm oil, in tropical deforestation. Indonesia and Malaysia dominate the international market for palm oil but might be experiencing problems to grow the operations further because of high production costs and lower availability of land. This explains increased investments in low-cost frontiers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin-America, including Nigeria, Colombia, Peru, Liberia and Cameroon, amongst others. Soy production is still on the increase in Latin America, and now takes up a large part of total cropland in Latin America: Bolivia 36%, Brazil 42%, Paraguay 55%, and Argentina 54%. Global demand for palm oil is growing, with for example a sharp rise in the EU for palm oil based biodiesel. Soy production in Latin America has grown 300% from 1999-2013. Due to the many negative impacts on water, food security, climate change, livelihood, human rights, land rights and biodiversity, associated with commercial agriculture and the resulting deforestation, the GLA program will work to mitigate impacts, improve operations towards sustainable levels and halt the expansion of palm oil and soy plantations through national and international lobby.


The agro-commodities program focuses on international lobbying goals that complement national GLA agrocommodity lobbying strategies. It will support national lobby strategies by bringing local cases and interests to the attention of the international press and politics. In addition, the program will facilitate South-South and South-North learning, capacity building and knowledge sharing. At the national level, the alliance works towards improved (implementation of) national policies and laws that conform to international standards and agreements. Where applicable, the alliance will work on the better uptake and implementation of safeguards in palm oil and soy value chains, responsible production and consumption, and on halting the expansion of palm oil production that leads to deforestation. The GLA supports the protection of rights of people whose rights have been violated. The program will focus on international public sector policies within the EU and the UN. In the EU for instance on the Finance Regulation, binding measures in the EU Deforestation Action plan, the 2030 EU Climate & Energy package and the Renewable Energy Directive (to stop the use of palm oil and other agricultural crops for biofuels from 2021 onwards). The alliance aims to achieve regulation of the financial sector to eliminate land grabbing and deforestation for agro-commodity expansion. It will also stimulate the uptake of best practice standards in palm oil and soy and policy support to that purpose. In the 5-year agro-commodities program, the alliance will support CSOs in palm oil and soy producing countries in increasing their knowledge and skills related to international policy processes, lobbying, case work and policy analysis. In addition, CSO partners will actively cooperate with and empower local communities to monitor local developments and advocate for their rights.


The EU carries out an ambitious Action Plan to foreclose deforestation products on its market, including binding measures for trade and rules for the financial sector: TBI will develop its strategy to contribute to the emerging EU deforestation action plan discussions based on its country-level experiences. Part of the efforts will be to use channels in the Netherlands (bossenoverleg, IMWO convenant) to table this among CSOs and partner in the Netherlands. *More uptake and policy support for best practices, including conservation measures and social, environmental and corporate integrity safeguards within the actual bulk trade chains of palm oil and soy: TBI will develop one case study based on GLA experiences on oil palm in Indonesia to be presented in relevant events at the EU level. We will collect and analyse empirical evidence related to the implementation of the HCV approach and RSPO criteria (with a focus on Indonesia), and use this data to inform international-level decision-making. We will collate practical level information about zero-deforestation experiences from across the globe and publish it in an ETFRN news and policy brief. These will be presented at the EU meeting on ‘Tackling illegal logging and deforestation: progress made and opportunities for future action’ in Brussels in June *Policy makers and opinion leaders have gained knowledge on alternative models (for food and fuel, and for development) which information was gathered and distributed by the CSOs: TBI will design a an approach for CSOs in the GLA countries to participate in a visioning process for alternative (sustainable, climate-smart) development of agro-commodity landscapes. In 2017 the emphasis will be on the process design and on a series of sessions in the Netherlands and Indonesia to start this off.

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