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Assessing Oil Palm Companies Compliance with FPIC Obligations

This review is the result of several years of fieldwork by the Liberian civil society organisation Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev), in partnership with the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and is part of a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded project that examines putting into practice in Liberia the FAO Technical Guide entitled ‘Respecting free, prior and informed consent, Practical guidance for governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples and local communities in relation to land acquisition’1 This Technical Guide is the third in a series that has been developed to support implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012, since when they have received approval from various forums, including the G20, Rio+ 20, and the United Nations General Assembly. The other FAO technical guides in this series include guides to: responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure; improving governance of forest tenure; and, improved governance of tenure in fisheries.2

The FAO in Liberia and Rome has been particularly helpful during the first steps in this project through helping facilitate meetings with key figures in the UN (UN Development Programme and World Food Programme) and the Government (the Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Land Commission), and we would like to express thanks to the FAO, as well as the above-mentioned offices of the UN and Government of Liberia. Most of all, thanks are due to the thousands of community members spoken to in the course of developing this report, as well as the hugely committed civil society organisations working with those communities without which this review would be an impossibility. The FAO Technical Guide to Respecting FPIC summarises the principle by highlighting that it is concerned with enabling communities to be at the centre of the process by which decisions concerning their rights and interest are made, as well as playing a decisive role in the outcomes of that decision-making process:

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