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Papua New Guinea initiated a process to establish a Multi-stakeholder Palm Oil Platform tasked with developing an action plan and policy approach for sustainable palm oil for the country.

An initial analysis of agricultural commodities and their potential impacts on forest areas, combined with the lack of policy or regulatory guidance within the sector, identified the potential rapid expansion of palm oil as a significant threat to forest areas as well as to the broader social and economic conditions of communities in PNG. The study, supported by the UNDP within the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Project, recommended the development of a Sustainable Palm Oil Platform to work towards developing a coordinated approach to palm oil development in Papua New Guinea.

Following the recommendation, UNDP convened a working group to kick start discussions on a collaborative approach towards sustainable palm oil in Papua New Guinea. The working group, comprising of key government agencies, private sector and civil society representatives, held a first meeting on 6 April 2018 in Port Moresby to draft a Statement of Intent on Sustainable Palm Oil Industry as a starting point. The Statement of Intent is based on the Marrakech Declaration on Sustainable Oil Palm and will serve as a national commitment to establish a multi-stakeholder palm oil platform to develop a clear action plan and policy approach for palm oil sector development in the country.  

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Nicolas Petit, International Consultant, sharing with an audience of more than 400 participants on the global best practices of palm oil and its relevance to PNG at the high-level government planning summit. Photo credit: FCPF

Over the years, the palm oil sector in Papua New Guinea has been plagued with a range of issues.

Primary among these, is the dilapidation of the country’s primary forests, and encroachment of customary land is a major concern for palm oil affected communities around the country. With the demand from international palm oil markets for more environmentally- and livelihood-friendly products, these unsustainable practices can adversely affect Papua New Guinea’s access to international premium palm oil markets.

In response, Papua New Guinea has demonstrated strong political recognition and commitment to improve the palm oil sector. Last month, the National Planning Minister, Hon. Richard Maru, convened the National Planning Consultative Summit to initiate development of a Palm Oil Policy for the country. This work will be facilitated by UNDP and led by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in close conjunction with key government agencies.

The establishment of Multi-stakeholder Palm Oil Platform is a key step in adopting international best practices for the sector and positioning the country as a leading producer of sustainable palm oil.

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Participants from key sectors at the high-level government planning summit in Lae, PNG. Picture by FCPF

Sam Moko, PNG Palm Oil Platform National Coordinator said: “It is a challenging task to establish a palm oil platform in PNG but is has been done elsewhere with other commodities and with the support of UNDP’s Green Commodity Programme we are determined to see this initiative move from concept to reality."

“We need the support of industry, regulators and critics to make this happen. Most importantly the Multi-stakeholder Palm Oil Platform should be Government-led and driven by participants,” Mr. Moko said.

The UN-REDD Programme supported Papua New Guinea's REDD+ readiness process via a National Programme (2011-2016) and Targeted Support (2012-2014). 

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