Malaysia and Indonesia Decline to Vote on Contentious Green House Gas Proposal

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) and its counterpart, Indonesia-based GAPKI, have withdrawn from voting on resolutions to adopt the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission draft proposal into the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) existing principles and criteria (P&C).

They also did not vote on a resolution on land use at the RSPO’s 6th General Assembly (GA6) held here yesterday.

The controversial GHG emission draft was intensely debated on Monday in a seven-hour RSPO executive board meeting, which resulted in a proposal to form a new working group to look into the conversion of the GHG draft on a voluntary basis among RSPO palm oil producer members.

GAPKI executive chairman Derom Bangun said on the sidelines of the conference that GAPKI and MPOA would be working closely with RSPO on this issue.

“We are hopeful that the conversion of the GHG draft on a voluntary basis will provide more roles for palm oil growers to guide the CGG framework based on proven field tests and correct methodology,” he said.

“The GHG is the responsibility of all. In order to support the social and environment issues of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), the RSPO should develop GHG mitigation measures by all stakeholders of palm oil,” he added.

United Plantations Bhd vice-chairman and executive director Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen said global warming was not created by the palm oil industry alone but driven mainly by heavy fossil fuels consumption in the West.

“It is unfair just to single out palm oil. If you want to impose GHG criteria on palm oil then all the other world agriculture crops should also be subjected to the same treatment,” he said.

Of the seven proposed resolutions at GA6, those approved by RSPO members include:

● GAPKI and MPOA joint proposals for RSPO to develop a mechanism to ensure that all certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and certified sustainable palm kernel oil produced by member growers and millers are purchased and utilised by RSPO non-producer members like palm oil processors, traders, manufacturers and retailers;

● For RSPO to set up a working group to establish a system to share the cost of certification for smallholders;

● Wetlands International’s proposal for a working group to provide recommendations on how to deal with existing plantations on peatlands and for the recommendations to be ready for presentation at the 8th RSPO meeting in 2010; and

● A moratorium on land clearance in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem in Indonesia and a proposed Sumatran Orangutan Society.

RSPO secretary-general Dr Vengeta Rao told reporters after the closing of GA6 that despite some talk of a possible walkout by some disgruntled RSPO members, the meeting went smoothly and was conducted in a proper manner.

“As the the key issue on GHG emission draft was carefully handled much earlier at the executive board meeting prior to the general assembly, (this) has given RSPO members more room to deliberate on other equally important resolutions,” he said. Source: The Star by Hanim Adnan

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