The primary goals of IDH in South East Liberia include promoting investments in community oil palm outgrower communities, working to set aside forest for conservation, and building community capacity in governance, land use planning, food security and income diversification, as well as forest protection and monitoring. IDH also aims to bring stakeholders together to develop a vision on the future of the landscape that can be laid out in a green growth plan.
The landscape in southeast Liberia is centred around the palm oil concession held by Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL). Liberia is one of the least developed countries in the world, with high levels of undereducated and unemployed youth and few opportunities for economic development. The southeast of the country where GVL obtained concessionary rights to develop 220,000 hectares for oil palm in 2010 is particularly undeveloped. Also, the southeast is especially densely forested, responsible oil palm development is key.
GVL partnered with IDH and the Liberian Forestry Development Authority to raise capital for investing in community oil palm farms, and leveraging on the investment to incentivize forest conservation. This is part of IDH’s Production Protection Inclusion approach. The partnership will introduce Production–Protection Agreements (PPAs), as a form of public–private–community forest protection governance. Through these PPAs, the communities, the Forestry Development Authority and GVL agree to conserve and actively monitor and manage community owned forests and biodiversity, in exchange for access to investment capital raised and technical assistance to establish community oil palm farms and diversify income sources. The investment model includes an annual conditional income paid to the community, which is conditional to compliance with the Forest Protection plan.
The partnership’s first round investment will be for 4,000 hectares of community oil palm farm land spread over 6-8 communities in the south east of Liberia, leveraging at least 20,000 hectares of HCV/HCS forest conservation. Key investors include the Investment Fund for Production Protection that was launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2017, and GVL as the concession holding company.
The initiative builds on the key lesson that for effective forest conservation, it is essential that all concerned parties work within an agreed and consistent framework. The strength that GVL brings is its community engagement and forest monitoring, and coordination with communities and with the Liberian Forestry Development Authority, as organization mandated to monitor forest conservation. IDH role is working with Government of Liberia and the concession holder (GVL) to raise the investment capital, and support the community and government with technical assistance and capacity building in the field of community governance, land use planning, food security and income diversification and forest protection and monitoring.
EcoAgriculture Partners and IDH present a “How to... guide” for promoting effective coordinated private, public and civil sector investments in sustainable natural resources management.
The Government of Liberia, the palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), and IDH are reaching out to rural communities in a series of workshops to engage them in our collective forest protection and livelihoods improvement program. The program, which is structured in a public-private and community partnership and involves investing in community oil palm outgrower farms, requires the free, informed and prior consent (FPIC) of the community. To explain the investment opportunity and to ensure a strong FPIC-based decision making process, the partners have developed a community poster and FAQ booklet.
We invite you to check out the rich insights collected during the IDH Forum, 8-9 February, on Driving Business Solutions for Sustainable Landscapes.
Organizing free, prior & informed consent for communities that want to grow palm oil and food crops and conserve forests
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