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WCC 2016 Res 061 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
Period covered: 
Geographic scope: 
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Secretariat: 
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
Convene stakeholders/NetworkingThe Task Force prepared a proposal for a workshop at the IUCN Congress 2020 to disseminate the outcomes of the task force's activities between 2017 and 2020. The proposal was accepted and the Task Force is currently working on a more detailed program for the two-hour workshop. On-going
Convene stakeholders/NetworkingThe launch of the Indonesian translation of the Situation Analysis on Oil Palm and Biodiversity resulted in a large number of Indonesian articles that used the findings of the Situation Analysis to justify further expansion of the oil palm sector in Indonesia, especially because of its relatively high yields compared to other oil crops and the potential negative impacts of a trade ban on palm oil for biofuel from the EU. This media attention raised significant concerns among Indonesian NGOs and in May 2019 a one-day meeting was organized to discuss these concerns and find common ground between the objectives of the Task Force with regarding to conducting independent scientific research on global palm oil impacts and the advocacy objectives of Indonesian palm NGOs with regard to social and environmental impacts in Indonesia.Completed
FundraisingThe Task Force initially received funding from the IUCN project “Global Commons: Solutions for a Crowded Planet”, funded by the Global Environment Facility, which was used to produce the Situation Analysis. Subsequently, the Task Force has been trying to raise additional funds to conduct the studies that the members prioritized: 1. socio-economic impacts of oil palm; 2. comparative studies of palm oil and other vegetable oils. Fundraising discussions are ongoing but no funding has been secured as of yet.On-going
Policy influencing/advocacyThe Task Force's Chair conducted meetings with the Indonesian government about the publication and launch of the Indonesian translation of the Oil Palm and Biodiversity Situation Analysis. The final translation was presented to the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs and its findings discussed in a media even at the Ministry.Completed
Scientific/technical activitiesAs a spin-off from the research conducted for the Situation Analysis on Oil Palm and Biodiversity, several further research programs were developed. This included the development of a scientific review paper summarizing the key findings of the Situation Analysis (to be submitted to a high impact journal in 2020). Furthermore, several Task Force members had requested more attention to evaluation of socio-economic impacts of oil palm and oil palm certification. Several studies were subsequently implemented led by Dr Truly Santika, one of the Task Force members, resulting in the publication of several high impact papers. While this not strictly under the mandate of the Task Force, these studies are of considerable interest and in line with the objectives of Resolution 061.On-going
Please report on the result /achievement of the actions taken: 
Since the publication of the Situation Analysis on Oil Palm and Biodiversity there has been a notable change in the discussion about banning palm oil from certain markets or for certain uses or at least reducing its import. The tone in media has changed and it appears that the polarization in the oil palm debate has reduced somewhat. Prominent figures like Sir David Attenborough have spoken out publicly about palm oil sustainability and the unintended side effects of reducing palm oil production through the increase production of other vegetable oils. Politically, however, the stand-off between especially the European Union on the one hand and Indonesia and Malaysia on the other, continues. We cannot claim causality but the coincidence of the publication of the IUCN report and subsequent changes in media and public opinion is noteworthy.
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
A lack of follow-up funding has limited the ability of the Task Force to function effectively. We were unable to organize full task force meetings, although several meetings with some Task Force members were held. This has limited the effectiveness of the Task Force functioning, especially because the palm oil debate is complex, polarized and high emotive and it is not easy to find consensus.
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Convene stakeholders/NetworkingThe key objective for the Task Force going towards the IUCN Congress 2020 is to decide whether the Task Force should ask permission from the IUCN Commissions to continue for another quadrennium or whether it has achieved its main objectives and should be disbanded. This issue will be the focus of internal discussions in 2020 and a final decision will be made at the IUCN Congress.