TFT encourages all parties to come together to find common ground
TFT supported GVL to implement its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) on the ground in Liberia from April 2013 to August 2014. This support focused on High Carbon Stock (HCS) and the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process. Our guidance and GVL’s willingness helped improve its FPIC process.
It was challenging work, and there was a recognition that progress had been made but that more work needed to be done. GVL were motivated to do further work to improve, but we then had to withdraw our teams from Liberia in August 2014 because of the Ebola outbreak and haven’t gone back in the field since. This is why we cannot comment on the specific issues in the report by NGO Global Witness.
We have had exchanges with GVL about TFT returning to Liberia to support the company to implement its FCP. If we were to do so it would be necessary to have a re-assessment of the situation in the field.Our general impression is that the company is approaching the issues raised in the report by Global Witness with a positive openness and that there is common ground between the concerns raised by the NGOs and the intent shown by the company.
TFT continues to believe that it is only through further dialogue between the local communities, GVL, NGOs, and the Government of Liberia that progress can be made. Palm oil plantations can be of benefit to local communities; as a result, some of the local community are in favour of them, but there are others within those communities who are not in favour. This is why full dialogue between all parties is vital.