Thursday, February 18, 2016

Forest People Programme: APP fails the grade

Three years after the launch of APP's Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) – which was introduced at the beginning of February 2013 – the company’s lack of progress in implementing the policy continues to put it firmly in the sights of both Indonesian and international CSO groups.

One international CSO, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), says that APP had failed the grade during the first three years of FCP implementation, especially as regards APP’s performance in resolving social conflicts related to its operations and those of its suppliers, at least in the three years since the FCP has been implemented.
"APP made a commitment three years ago that it would respect community rights and resolve conflicts with them. In the three years since that commitment, it has made a small amount of effort and it has not fully resolved any of the conflicts," Patrick Anderson, FPP's Policy Advisor to Indonesia, told on last Wednesday (Feb 10) in Jakarta.

He was responding to questions from on the extent to which APP had successfully managed to address social conflicts during the three years of the FCP’s implementation. Patrick said that his organization was disappointed with the implementation of the FCP over the last three years, in particular as regards its capacity to address social conflicts related to APP’s operations.
He also said that APP had only achieved a little progress in resolving conflicts related to community rights. "For APP to the make change, they need to recommit and they need to put significant resources into this, and they need to make clear what are the steps they will take for resolving conflict," added Patrick.

As an example, he pointed to the participatory mapping process that maps the areas of the communities, including their customary lands. That process, Patrick said, includes redocumenting what were the economies, livelihoods, their cultural values that were damaged when they became acacia (pulpwood plantations) so that these things can become part of a negotiation for compensation.
Patrick stressed that APP needed to publically commit and to make a big investment from their own staff and management time, and to take issues related to community's rights seriously. Otherwise, he said, these conflicts will go on and on. "I'd give them (APP) a failed grade if I look at what they have managed in three years. It's a very small effort considering the size of their problem," Patrick said.
In a press release issued to mark the third anniversary of its Forest Conservation Policy, APP said that during 2015 it had continued to work to resolve social conflict in its supply chain, while also strengthening the implementation of its Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) policy.