With the ambition of developing a sustainable palm oil sector, Congo committed in 2016 to the African Palm Oil Initiative (APOI), this flagship initiative of Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020. The TFA involves 10 countries in West and Central Africa, as well as key palm oil consumers, businesses, traders and producers, civil society, and groups representing local communities and indigenous peoples.
Supporting the TFA APOI Congolese platform
- Year: since 2018
- Country: Republic of the Congo
- Partners: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), TFA APOI Congolese platform members
- Budget (2021): EUR 50 000
- Funded by: EU REDD Facility
In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP) and with Proforest and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which facilitates the Congolese platform, the objective is to support the TFA APOI platform in defining legal and sustainable palm oil, as well as other forest-risk commodities, such as cocoa, rubber and cashew. Such a definition would then enable the collection of information on associated key performance indicators, thereby measuring the sustainability of commodities. These measurements could in turn inform governance reforms.
GTC plantations in savannah areas.
Pool department, Republic of the Congo.
The oil palm sector is rapidly expanding in the Republic of the Congo. At the same time, at the regional and international level, initiatives are emerging to reduce deforestation due to the production of agricultural commodities, including oil palm, cocoa, soy, rubber and others.
During the first Congolese TFA APOI workshop in August 2017, platform members validated the 10 national principles of the TFA2020 Action Plan for the development of a sustainable palm oil sector in the Republic of the Congo. The APOI platform was institutionalised by Ministerial Order of 1 October 2019.
The challenge for the next few years is to find solutions to ensure that this development is part of the country’s commitments, particularly on climate change, on the fight against the loss of forest cover and on the way to implement the decision to direct agricultural expansion to the savannah areas.
- Enhance the understanding of platform members with issues related to forest-risk agricultural commodities and the concerns / priorities of actors involved in those supply chains.
- Support the development within the TFA APOI platform of legality and sustainability indicators for some forest-risk agricultural commodities, based on agreed definitions, assess links to sustainability standards (such as RSPO for palm oil) explore options for monitoring compliance and performance.
- Once the legal and sustainable agricultural productions are defined, support TFA APOI members in developing proposals and amendments to clarify legal frameworks related to palm oil production and where possible other forest-risk commodities, and enhance their implementation.
- Upon request, provide legal support to the MAEP to mainstream climate priorities throughout the revision of laws and regulations related to agricultural commodities.
GTC oil palm plantation
Pool department, Republic of the Congo
Results and impacts
At the request of the stakeholders of the TFA APOI process, we supported a study of the legal framework for sustainable palm oil development and production in the Republic of the Congo. The study was presented and validated at an APOI workshop on 18 October 2019.
We then supported the development of a roadmap for the development and production of legal and sustainable palm oil in the Republic of Congo (2020-2021) and a scoping note on the jurisdictional approach for legal and sustainable palm oil in the Republic of the Congo (May 2020).
In June 2020 and July 2021, we organised two workshops that brought together around 50 members of the platform. At these events, we presented possible options to defining legal palm oil in the Republic of Congo and we agreed on developing a jurisdictional approach in the Pool Department and in close collaboration with private sector actors whose economic models are relying on satisfying national demand first.
These workshops also provided the opportunity to present the results of the socio-economic impact assessment of land-use scenarios in the Plateaux, Pool and Cuvette-Ouest departments. Conducted in close collaboration first with WRI, then with Kinomé, this study is based on the last version of the Land-Use Planner. The study showed that it was entirely possible to meet the growing demand for palm oil on the national market by concentrating production in the savannah areas.
- Blog post from the TFA website: Towards Sustainable Palm Oil in Africa
- Socio-economic impact assessment study of land use scenarios in the Plateaux, Pool and Cuvette-Ouest departments (2021, in French)
- Study of the legal framework for the development and sustainable production of palm oil in the Republic of Congo (2019, in French)
- Scoping note on the jurisdictional approach (2020, in French)
- Jurisdictional approach in the Pool Department: Defining and monitoring the sustainability of commodities at risk of deforestation (CRD) (presentation at the July 2021 workshop, in French)