The Palm Scribe Content Manager, Bhimanto Suwastoyo, was selected by the UNDP’s Good Growth Governance initiative to visit Peru with other journalists around the world to see how Peru is coping with the growing palm oil. This article is one of a series of reports from him.

 

LIMA, Peru – As The Good Growth Conference Opens on Monday in Peru (13/5), Indonesia was praised for advances made in the global battle against deforestation and unsustainability.

In her keynote speech at the conference, Naoki Ishii, the CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) said that the world was facing massive challenges related to the degradation of our natural environment but added that there was also some “wins” here and there.

“Take the Brazilian Amazon soy moratorium. It has reduced deforestation in this critical biome. Indonesia has also seen a drop in its forest loss for two consecutive years thanks to the moratorium,” Ishii said. A biome is a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat.

The GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues, including through the provision of grants and mobilization of co-financing schemes.

“In Indonesia and Liberia, we are working with the ministries of agriculture, environment, and local governments to step up sustainability standards. We are also helping to train and share knowledge with smallholders so that they can shift their practices,” she said.

Speaking on smallholders, Ishii told the Palm Scribe that while her organizations and other institutions were dealing with the environmental aspects related to smallholders, it fell on the governments to assure that these small-scale farmers get what they need to have a better life through sustainable practice, including on dealing with land tenure issues and access to financing.

“I think this is where governments have to play a greater role,” Ishii said, adding that finance plays a critical role in taking care of nature and that ways should be sought to bring financial regulations and practices into the discussions in a more meaningful way. On top of that, Ishii thinks that efforts should be made to turn communities and smallholders into agents for change, including by helping them deal with the problems they face.

Ishii called on the conference to try and look into how to do a better job supporting the government and private sector to align their interest so that momentum could be built ‘to go over the tipping points’, “Only by working together we can and will win this battle,” she said.

UN representative for Peru, María del Carmen Sacasa told the same conference that the challenges of sustainability and climate change “requires leaving aside business as usual” and that no single country could address the challenges on their own.

“A collective action, from our own perspective, is fundamental” Sacasa said.

Peruvian President Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo, addressing the same occasion said that to fight deforestation there was a need not only for cooperation and coordination between institutions in Peru but also with neighboring countries, as the country has the second largest expanse of natural forest in the Amazonian basin after Brazil with some 73 million hectares of forest. He told the conference that up until 2017, the country had already lost 10 percent of its forest coverage.

“There are measures that we need to take inside our country, there are measures that need to take along with our fellow countries… we need to work with Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, all the countries with which we share borders so that our measures do not stop at the border,” Vizcara said.

“A strategic alliance between all of us is the only way to stop and revert the situation,” he said referring the loss of forest coverage.

The one-day conference will be followed by a four-day visit to parts of the Peruvian Amazon to learn firsthand about local cultivations, production chain and local wisdom in managing the environment.

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