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NGOs demand Malaysian Timber Certification Council acknowledge certification scheme’s shortcomings and take action

As the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) attends the members’ meeting for the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International this week, a group of civil society organizations has sent a scathing letter to the MTCC, arguing that the body has failed to ensure its own standards. The letter points to stalled complaints proceedings and the mishandling of a lawsuit against GLA Malaysia partner SAVE Rivers, which call into question the reputation of the MTCC and MTCS (Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme). The letter suggests the MTCC is urgently in need of reform to maintain its credibility.

Escazú Agreement and gender inequality: ‘important first step'

‘The agreement is a historic step forward, but we must critically approach it from the gender perspective. There is still a lot of work to do.’ With these words, IUCN NL’s environmental justice expert Liliana Jáuregui closed the event Reading the Escazú Agreement from a gender perspective: challenges and opportunities. The panel discussion was a side event of the agreement’s first Conference of the Parties that took place from April 20th through April 22nd.

What makes the Escazú Agreement historic for conservationists?

Every week, people around the globe are killed because they stand up for nature. An even larger group is being silenced through violence, arrests, intimidation or lawsuits. Environmental human rights defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean are suffering severely from these violations. In 2021, the region took a historic step by bringing the Escazú Agreement into force. This article explains how this binding treaty makes a difference to the rights of conservationists.

Header photo: Colombian Amazon Rainforest (c) Mariel Cabero / IUCN NL

State of the World’s Forests 2022: Indigenous and local communities have leading role in protecting and restoring forests

According to FAO’s latest State of the World’s Forests, action to halt forest loss is urgently needed to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5°C, conserve biodiversity, reduce the risk of future pandemics and ensure food security. FAO’s newest publication explores the potential of three forest pathways for achieving green recovery and tackling environmental crises.

Header photo: Forest in Cambodia (c) Kouy Socheat / NTFP-EP Cambodia

Women’s access to land tenure rights: key steps towards climate justice in DRC

480 women advocates in DRC were trained to change the land and forest law to guarantee land tenure rights for women, via policy dialogues at the province level and participatory mapping in forest communities. All thanks to an amazing woman, Dorothee Lisenga, who, along with the NGO CFLEDD, organised dialogues on women’s inheritance rights between customary chiefs, local and indigenous women. This resulted to huge successes in women’s access to land and forest rights of women in the provinces of Equateur and Maindombe of DRC. In 2018 she was the winner of the Gender Just Climate Solutions Award in the category Transformational Solutions.

Briefing paper: Community forestry as a lever for sustainable rural development in the Democratic Republic of Congo

As part of a multi-country review of community forest rights, Tropenbos DR Congo conducted a review of the CFCL model in DR Congo. The study meant to find out the extent to which CFCLs have had the desired outcomes in terms of rural development, and to identify the main barriers, as well as the conditions for success (in terms of improvements to livelihoods, self-determination and forest conservation).

ING withdraws from complaint against the bank’s involvement in the palm oil sector

The Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) for the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published the final statement on the complaint from Friends of the Earth groups and supporters against ING bank. The complaint was supposed to deal with adverse impacts of three of the bank’s palm oil clients, ranging from human rights and labour rights violations todeforestation. ING withdrew from the complaint, leaving the communities affected by the oil palm plantations empty handed.

Dutch companies (in)directly involved in human rights violations in the Global South

Every five years, the UN Human Rights Council assesses the human rights situation in a country. This year, the Netherlands will be assessed. IUCN NL, Milieudefensie and Stand Up For Your Rights submitted a joint report to draw attention to the human rights violations taking place in the value chain of Dutch businesses. We are asking for recommendations that will require Dutch businesses to investigate potential human rights violations and damage to nature in their (international) value chain.

Header photo: Fishermen in Waza National Park, Cameroon (c) Hans de Iongh

RSPO certificate for Socfin in Sierra Leone despite blatant land conflict

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified the Socfin subsidiary in Sierra Leone in January 2022, in spite of numerous land conflicts, violence against human rights defenders and grievances on pollution and other forms of environmental harm from affected communities. This certification is next in line of a number of highly controversial certifications of the SOCFIN group in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. RSPO is totally biased in favour of the industry and is not fit for purpose to guarantee sustainability and respect for human rights in palm oil supply chains.