Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil scheme: a mandatory tool to promote sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo (HoB)
Around 13 government sectors including local government representatives from Kalimantan attended the event, as well as private sector business, farmer and grower association members and NGOs. The seminar canvassed options for speeding up the implementation of the ISPO system – which the government hopes will be up and running by the end of the 2013.
Opening the Seminar, Forestry Head, Musdalifah said the Indonesian government was striving to promote sustainable use of natural resources through sector policy development and the development of mandatory certification schemes such as the ISPO for palm oil and SVLK (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu - Timber Legality Assurance System), a scheme equivalent to FSC, for timber.
Speaking at the seminar, Dr. Sulmin Gumiri, from Palangka Raya University in Central Kalimantan, said that ISPO could be used as a tool for good governance at the local level. He noted that the establishment of local policy and regulations that enable ISPO implementation could be part of the government’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Adding that if ISPO was successfully implemented in the HoB as a ‘governance KPI’, this could encourage other places such as Sumatra or Papua - areas of heavy-oil palm plantation - to replicate the system.
He said local government involvement in ISPO implementation could also be useful in promoting other developments needs, such as provincial spatial planning, zoning on suitable areas for oil palm development, and monitoring the status of plantation company licenses in the HoB area.
Dr Gumiri added that the implementation of ISPO in the HoB area would also be good for Indonesia’s international image.
“Successful ISPO implementation in the HoB, an internationally recognized area, would help build a positive reputation for Indonesia,” he said.
Fadhil Hasan, from the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, outlined some common problems with implementation of the certification scheme, particularly in the area of legality and best practice management.
Hasan said unresolved provincial spatial planning issues, especially in East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan provided ample scope for regulatory disputes. Other problems included lack of capacity to develop a company’s conservation or green house gas emission mitigation programs, and the high cost of certification which made it financially very difficult for many small and medium-scale companies and small-holders to pursue.
Dr Gumiri responded by saying that the local government’s role was vital in this area. He proposed options such as local regulation to protect smallholders, local government to issue recommendations to Certification Bodies, and regular coordination meetings between government and private sector members to promote best practices and information exchange.
In closing the seminar, Musdalifah concluded that it was a most fruitful workshop, with lively discussion and lots of constructive ideas emerging to assist Indonesia to move forward on the issue of sustainable palm oil. Fruthermore Musdalifah stated, "I believe that the HoB will be a good model upon which to implement ISPO, especially now that the Indonesian government is accelerating ISPO implementation and the HoB is promoting sustainable development within its boundaries."