13 Dec 2016, in Palm Oil - In 2016 IDH decided to move from focusing on segregated commodity supply chains to using a landscape approach to address sustainability at field level. We decided to do this because it became increasingly clear that many challenges such as legality, water management and forest conservation are common across commodities, especially in the forestry sector, and that working together would be the most effective way forward.
While IDH continues to work with partners throughout the supply chain, the landscape approach is increasingly recognized as a valuable tool in overcoming challenges at production level, especially for those challenges that cannot be overcome by any single party alone (such as legality or maintenance of wildlife corridors). Building on our existing progress, IDH focuses on three landscapes (in the provinces of Aceh, South Sumatra and West Kalimantan). Since that time, we have been working hard to support, facilitate and bring a variety of stakeholders together including private sector and local and national governments to articulate needs and expectations for the way forward, and build the necessary foundation for action. As the end of year is approaching, what have we achieved and what have we learned in 2016?
While use of the terminology landscape approach has become commonplace, there is no single, widely accepted definition. IDH has worked with its partners to define the landscape approach within our programs as taking an holistic and inclusive approach to overcoming environmental and social challenges in a particular area. This means building consensus among all stakeholders (regardless of whether they are private sector, different commodities, public sector, NGO, communities, etc.) for a long term goal for the area and the specific actions required to achieve that. For example, under the issue of water management in peatland no two neighbours can be successful in managing water if one is seeking to flood the land and the other to drain it. The landscape approach seeks to overcome this by bringing stakeholders together who have the ability, interest and expertise to resolve the problem. Under the landscape approach, natural boundaries (e.g. a river, watershed etc) are typically used to define the limits of the focus area. In common with others, IDH has been using the term jurisdictional approach to refer to landscape approaches where the working area is defined by political boundaries (e.g. province or district). Other concepts, such as supply sheds or defined sourcing areas are based on similar approaches, but are delineated by the supply chain (e.g. from a specific supply chain or group of companies working in the same commodity).
In December 2015, IDH collaborated with world leading experts in agriculture and natural resources to produce the Little Sustainable Landscapes Book. This book aims to clarify and disseminate sustainable landscape management methods, and to catalyze their implementation across private and public sectors worldwide.
Following on from the South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin’s declaration in late 2015 that South Sumatra will work towards jurisdictional certification under the Roundtable for sustainable palm oil (RSPO), IDH has been working closely with the government and other key stakeholders to build the support required for implementation and identify specific steps. IDH and partners have also worked with the government to commission a green growth plan for the province, which will inform policy decisions and development planning for the future. The plan will be completed in early 2017, and will be integrated into government plans. In the meantime, IDH is continuing to convene private sector stakeholders on private sector action plans, such as mapping farmers, HCV, fire prevention and peatland management.
IDH and partners have continued to work closely with the West Kalimantan Governor and his team on the concept of green growth, with the plan to commission the development of a green growth plan in partnership with the government early next year. In 2016, we successfully developed strong and promising partnerships with a number of private sector companies including Bumitama and ANJ. In November, IDH officially started the collaboration with PT CUS to improve conservation in their concession, including support for sustainable management of 10,000 ha HCV forest.
After the commission of a study of the province to identify potential areas for support and intervention in relation to sustainable development and several meetings with key private and public parties (including major buyers and local leaders), IDH has developed several promising leads for partnership projects under the concept of landscape approach. We also started to support Kabupaten of Aceh Timur to develop and implement green growth policies. We are pleased that Aceh Timur expressed the intention to implement jurisdictional certification.
It has been a year of significant change for IDH as we have consolidated our approach to commodities using the landscape approach. While we have made significant progress in building the foundations for action, much more work is needed, and in 2017 our focus will be on moving towards debilitation and action on the ground.