The Ministries of Environment and Agriculture of Ecuador and RSPO recently co-hosted a full-day workshop that focused on “Ecuador’s readiness for a Jurisdictional Approach (JA) in RSPO”. The event, held on 27 September, was attended by RSPO CEO Datuk Darrel Webber, and gathered over 100 key players involved in achieving sustainability across Ecuador’s palm oil supply chain, as well as participants from Peru, Mexico and Colombia.

Ecuador marks the first country to launch a jurisdictional approach to certification at a national level – a process that has been in the works for over two years and is taking form with ProAmazonia’s leadership. The Amazon Integral Program for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Production (PROAmazonía) is an initiative of the Ministry of Environment (MAE), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

PROAmazonía seeks to link national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the priority agenda of the country and the policies of the productive sectors to reduce the causes and agents of deforestation, as well as promote sustainable and integrated management of natural resources.

The event included over 10 interventions, all shedding light on the diverse and complex challenges that make up a jurisdictional approach, as well as the main achievements that Ecuador has made thus far.

High-level representatives from the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture shared the Ecuadorian government's vision on sustainable palm oil production. UNDP talked about the role of international cooperation to foster production of deforestation-free commodities, while RSPO CEO Darrel Webber and Latin America Director Francisco Naranjo presented the organisation’s vision of the jurisdictional certification. 

Prominent NGOs, such as Conservation International and Forest Peoples Programme presented on “regional conservation opportunities for compensation mechanisms at the jurisdictional level” and the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) approach respectively. Other key private stakeholders who participated were Bunge’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Megan Weidner, who presented on the company’s sustainable sourcing policies, as well as Ecuador RSPO certified companies DANEC, Rabobank, and many others.

According to RSPO Latin America Director Francisco Naranjo, “Ecuador has achieved a significant advance in its jurisdictional certification programme. This advance has been led by the commitment and active participation of various stakeholders, such as growers, millers, civil society and NGOs, in coordination and under the leadership of the Ecuadorian government. Collaboration among these actors has become the main strength of the Jurisdictional initiative in Ecuador,” he said.

Environmental lawyer, sustainability specialist, and member of the JA Working Group and Sustainable Palm Consultant for ProAmazonía – UNDP, Maria Amparo Albán said, “The RSPO Jurisdictional Certification for sustainable palm oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon region offers the possibility of integrating all small and medium producers in a sustainable production chain, with zero deforestation that will become a model for several agri-food chains in Ecuador.” 

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