Indigenous leaders from threatened tropical forests to launch tour in Europe; will challenge region’s deadly trade in ubiquitous palm oil

Between 27 April and 4 May 2016, indigenous representatives and community leaders from tropical forest countries in Asia, Africa and South America will tour Brussels, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK to raise concerns with high-level policy and decision-makers about palm oil supply chains and the impact they are having on their lands, forests and communities. 

WHO:     Franky Samperante and Agus Sutomo from Indonesia; Ali Kaba from Liberia; Robert Guimaraes Vasquez and  Sedequías Ancon Chávez from Peru; and Willian Aljure from Colombia
WHEN:       Wednesday 27 April to Wednesday 4 May 2016
WHERE:     Multiple venues in Brussels, The Hague, Rotterdam Port, Bonn, Cologne and London

ISSUES AT STAKE: Europe’s increasing demand for palm oil threatens the livelihoods and very existence of many indigenous and forest dependent communities across the world. Rapid and aggressive expansion of industrial oil palm plantations and associated processing mills to supply global markets for edible oils and biofuels is generating multiple land conflicts, forced evictions, human rights violations, climate damage, forest loss and environmental harm in South East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Europe is a major importer of palm oil and associated “embodied deforestation” that supplies key ingredients for hundreds of processed food products, including margarine, chocolate and ice cream. Palm oil is also widely used in biofuels as well as in industrial lubricants, cosmetics, shampoos and detergents. Communities and civil society in producer countries complain that current private sector voluntary initiatives to regulate the industry, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and controversial climate standards like the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) are not sufficient to tackle the problem. They and allied European non-governmental organisations maintain that more robust regulation of palm oil products that come into the European Union is essential to better protect indigenous peoples and the forests that 1.5 billion people globally depend on for food and water security, livelihoods, rainfall and clean air.

For more information, please read the full announcement published by Forest Peoples Programme

Featured image by Hayden (Oil Palm Concession) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons