Honduran palm oil sector commits to zero deforestation

25 July 2019

On 10 July government agencies, private and social companies, Solidaridad, and civil society organizations (CSOs) signed a zero-deforestation agreement with the palm oil sector, and are already working on a plan for its implementation. The aim is to restore and protect vulnerable ecosystems and biodiversity, such as the Mesoamerican Reef and protected areas, while increasing sustainable production and ensuring market uptake.

Representatives of government agencies, private and social companies and CSOs make up the Honduras zero-deforestation implementation committee
Representatives of government agencies, private and social companies and CSOs make up the implementation committee. Pictured left - right: Juan Baquedano (FENAPALMAH), Javier Carías (Hondupalma), Iris Aquino (ICF), Alejandra Muñoz (ASAPALSA) Ivany Argueta (FUCSA) Dubail Rosa (Solidaridad), Nelbin Bustamante (PROLANSATE)

Private and social companies take action

The agreement is the result of a public-private negotiation led by Solidaridad to help producers, traders and buyers to fulfill their commitments to deforestation-free supply chains. It also aims to support the Government of Honduras to facilitate better growth through sustainable rural development in partnership with civil society.

Flavio Linares, Technical Director of Programmes for Solidaridad Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean region said:

It’s a good sign to see that the sector is so highly committed. Let’s remember that in the case of Honduras, oil palm is a social crop grown by thousands of smallholders. One of the signatories, Hondupalma, is made up of 30 cooperatives or associated groups, and hundreds of independent partners and producers. This agreement has been possible with the will, confidence and transparency promoted by Solidaridad and other local actors.

Implementing a national agreement

This agreement represents a solid foundation that will create an important link between multiple stakeholders. The focus is on intersectoral co-responsibility for the sustainable production of palm oil and consumer products that are environmentally-friendly, thanks to the protection of Honduras’ forests and other vulnerable ecosystems. 

Signatories of the zero-deforestation agreement and participants in the first training workshop
Signatories of the agreement and participants in the first training workshop

 

The signatories of the agreement pledged to participate with individual and joint actions to avoid tropical deforestation associated with palm oil. This includes the implementation of a monitoring protocol provided by the Honduran National Institute for Forest Conservation and Development, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF).

ICF’s Information System for Forest Management and Monitoring (SIGMOF) is a platform that aims to manage information from the forestry sector in a complete, accurate, transparent and efficient way. The platform will be used to centralize, analyze, document and operationalize the zero-deforestation monitoring process accurately and dynamically.

All signatories are being trained by ICF to use the monitoring protocol and communication system. The aim is to make the process transparent and set a foundation for the remediation and compensation mechanisms for the restoration of oil palm growing areas and forests.

Background

In Latin America, Solidaridad has supported the implementation and monitoring of similar sector agreements in Colombia, including palm oil, beef, and dairy.

In Honduras, the palm sector has been working towards a more sustainable agricultural production. Dubail Rosa, Program Officer for Solidaridad said:

Some companies are already implementing plans to identify and preserve of areas of high conservation value. They’re working on forest restoration, biodiversity monitoring and the establishment of biological corridors that facilitate the mobility of ocelots, monkeys, and birds in partnership with universities and local and international CSOs. Our hope is that this becomes the rule rather than the exception.

Learn about the history of palm oil production in Honduras

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