The Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) is TFA 2020’s first Signature Initiative. Its goal is to help transition the palm oil sector in West and Central Africa to become a sustainable driver of long-term, low-carbon development in a way that is socially beneficial and protects the tropical forests of the region.
The APOI process engages on a regional and national level, focused on three phases of engagement towards implementing. Of the 10 countries engaged with the APOI, each one is at a different stage, but they are all following the same process.
- Form engagement team.
- Engage with government, local civil society and private sector representatives.
- Form country team: including facilitator, government focal point and private sector representative.
- Organise national workshops to develop national principles and a national action plan.
- Form national platform – comprising of the country team and other stakeholders.
- Implement national action plan.
To date, APOI has hosted two regional workshops in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, gathering together representatives from all the engaged countries and providing an opportunity for exchange and learning across nations. Through this regional process, the countries jointly negotiated the text of the Marrakesh Declaration, a regional pledge by seven African governments to shift towards sustainable palm oil production. The undertaking will simultaneously help improve smallholder incomes and drive greater action on tropical deforestation. By signing this pledge at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh on 16 November 2016, the African governments endorsed an unprecedented new regional market for sustainable palm oil production across the region. They vowed to work with partners to fully implement national development plans for sustainable oil palm development, guided by the declaration’s underlying principles in favour of sustainability, good governance, transparency, recognition of community and human rights, partnerships, and the equitable sharing of benefits.
TFA 2020 Partners are playing a vital role in supporting the implementation of APOI national action plans, as well as exploring potential synergies with other groups and commodities – such as cocoa – in order to accelerate progress towards deforestation-free commodity supply chains in West and Central Africa.
The Africa Palm Oil Initiative is coordinated by Proforest on behalf of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, thanks to financial support from UK DFID through the Partnership for Forests Program.