Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Background to the Films 4 Forests Project

As international demand for palm oil increases, Indonesian rainforest is being cleared at an ever-increasing rate to make way for plantation expansion. Many plantations in Indonesia are subject to conflict over land rights disputes. Thousands of indigenous people who rely on natural forests for their home and survival are finding that they are powerless to stop the conversion of their land. The new demand for palm oil as a biofuel (perversely an “environmentally friendly” alternative to fossil fuels) is a further reason for urgent action. The escalation of these problems is imminent.

There is, however, reason for hope – the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is an industry and NGO forum that is making great steps forward in the regulation of this industry. Last year our “Orangutan and human: Conflict mitigation training video” was adopted by many RSPO members both on the production side and in the NGO sectors, this film in turn was funded by the UK supermarket ASDA. This project provided a great insight into how better communications between the often vocally opposed sectors could bring benefit to all. It is with this in mind that we formulated the Films4Forests project concept and believe it will prove a valuable addition to dialogue at RSPO RT5.

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