The European Union (EU) recognizes the superiority of palm oil as a plant that can grow very quickly, produce more oil, and require less land. However, in many forums, the EU actually wants to hear about various processes of continuous improvement in Indonesia, especially related to land use.
That view was conveyed by the Counselor on Climate Change and Environment of the EU Delegation to Indonesia, Michael Bucki, “We are very open to the various processes of continuous improvement in Indonesia.”
“In various forums, we actually just want to remind the Indonesian government, the private sector, civil society organizations and various parties about the importance of raising public awareness of issues related to climate change,” said Bucki on the sidelines of the Toward Sustainable Palm Oil Policy Dialogue in Indonesia, Reconciling Economic Development and Forest Conservation, in Jakarta, Thursday (09/28/2019).
So far, the palm oil industry in Indonesia has sought to improve governance that leads to industries that pay attention to aspects of sustainability and environmentally friendly by using the standardization of the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Recent improvements have also been actively encouraged by the certification of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).
“ISPO is a guarantee that products that use Indonesian palm oil come from good and sustainable sources. ISPO must encourage strengthening and global trust and be open to independent monitoring by civil society and others,” said Prof. Dr. Herry Purnomo, a researcher from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
He also hopes that ISPO is open to independent monitoring by civil society and other parties. “As a verification system, ISPO must guarantee and ensure that all oil palm plantation products, both traded and exported, comply with applicable laws and meet environmental, social and economic aspects as identified by the parties from the government, the private sector, and civil society,” he explained.
Herry believes that openness to independent monitoring will be proof that most of Indonesia’s palm oil derivative products come from sustainable plantations. “This openness will dismiss accusations, especially against opponents of oil palm, that not all Indonesian palm oil is bad. In fact, far more Indonesian palm oil is good than bad because it has been certified by ISPO,” said Herry.
In addition to openness, the government and stakeholders need to build dialogue by involving all parties, including groups opposing oil palm. The goal is that any deficiencies can be corrected and monitored together, including environmental improvement.
The joint dialogue must also be positive, constructive and transparent and understand European cultural background. Because, for the people of Europe, the environment is not just regulation, but has become like a “religion” that must be obeyed.
“Openness and dialogue will give birth to a new perspective that oil palm and conservation can be in line. Both are equally important, without having to negate the interests of one and only emphasize the other,” he told.
The European Community, according to Herry, generally highly appreciates the transparent dialogue, commitment and process of improvement that Indonesia continues to carry out. In every lobbying forum, Indonesia must openly explain various improvements related to forest areas, including the issue of overlapping land so it does not become a long polemic. The role of the Ministry of Agrarian Spatial Planning / National Land Agency is vital in explaining the boundaries of the region in the regulations implemented in Indonesia.
He regretted, so far many dialogue forums have been built based only on the interests of one party. As a result, the birth of the oil dichotomy will kill forests, on the other hand conservation does not require palm oil.
“The fact is they both need each other. “Palm oil needs water from forests and conservation and people who live in forest areas need funds from economic development, one of which is palm oil,” he said.