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With market pressure predominantly from Europe and the United States, palm oil developers are working to ensure that their palm oil productions will meet all requirements and provision of environmental and social safeguards in palm oil development. Their introduced methodologies and tools are assisting in identifying, managing and monitoring of High Conservation Values (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) habitats and forests. 

However, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), such methodologies are not in place for new and expended smallholders. Yet, in the PNG Government’s strategy, palm oil industry is largely contributing in reductions of national GHG emissions and economic growth.

Having seen its significant role, the Government of PNG with support from the United Nations Development Programme in PNG has provided support to smallholders on the development and testing of data, tools and methodology options for a risk based approach, and so to meeting their livelihoods needs whilst complying with stringent due diligence requirements such as the deforestation free demand of responsible buyers.


This development will be built on the existing tools (software application) by Proforest for the Rountable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), palm oil certification, to ensure a simplified and risk based HCV approach for carrying out HCV assessments for independent smallholders. Though, this HCV methodology for smallholders is still newly developed for the RSPO, it will be adapted for a high forest cover country such as PNG. 

Meanwhile, the HCS Approach Toolkit has also to be included in guidance for how smallholders could carry out assessments as such an opportunity exists to expand the HCS Approach for smallholders relevant to the high forest cover and development context of PNG.

The proposed work will build on the methodology used for a simplified HCV approach by utilizing existing and new data platforms and mapping methodologies as well as field data generated by New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) with Earthworm (formerly Tropical Forest Trust). The HCS assessments for large scale concession or lease areas are now integrated with HCV assessments and so the proposed work will also consider how to integrate the two methodologies for smallholders to improve efficiency and outcomes.

Collaborative views from key government sectoral experts to develop a national HCV 1-3 probability map for PNG were also consulted at a workshop on HCV and HCS organised on 3-4 September 2019. The map is developed as a resource for all smallholders in the country to use in future developments and gain access to markets that require HCV to be assessed.

The methodologies and tools as generated as a result of this work will be very resourceful for all commodities with smallholder growers to effectively and efficiently comply with HCS and HCV market provisions. It will also provide appropriate assistance to inform broader scale jurisdictional land use planning such as provincial and national low emissions development plans in PNG. Whereby, this initiative will pave way for more sustainable palm oil practices by smallholders throughout PNG at the same add value to Government of PNG in promoting environmental and sustainable economic development in the country. 

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