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Dispute Settlement Facility

The Dispute Settlement Facility is RSPO’s in-house facilitation service to support RSPO members (notably growers), local communities and other stakeholders to effectively use mediation as a means to help resolve disputes. It facilitates disputant parties to gain access to information, contacts, know-how and experiences to assist them to resolve palm oil production-related disputes in cases where at least one party is an RSPO member. It also aims to resolve disputes between companies and communities on matters specifically relating to RSPO Principles & Criteria 2.2, 2.3, 6.4, 7.3, 7.5, 7.6 (No 2).

DSF provides an impartial service to enable RSPO members, local communities and other stakeholders to achieve social, environmental, cultural and economic outcomes in accordance with RSPO standards, with the objective that negotiated settlements are agreeable and sustainable for all parties concerned. RSPO DSF strives for transparency in dispute resolution processes.


Confidentiality is an important feature of mediation and parties need to feel confident that their open and frank participation will not be compromised. Confidentiality will be discussed with the parties at the outset and will be included in the terms of reference for mediation and agreed by the parties.

DSF Advisory Group

The DSF Advisory Group supports the development of the DSF, helping it to carrying out its mission effectively. It does this by:

  • Analysing the relevance, effectiveness and impact of DSF policies, procedures and operating tools.
  • Providing strategic guidance, making recommendations and proposing adjustments to DSF policies, procedures and capacity, as appropriate.
  • Supporting outreach and promotion of DSF as a useful mechanism for RSPO members and affected groups alike to engage with.
  • Giving advice and guidance to DSF on case management
  • Reporting to the RSPO Board of Governors

The DSF Advisory Group in turn, is supported by the RSPO Secretariat.


Membership of the DSF Advisory Group is open to all stakeholder groups represented within the RSPO. Prospective members must be invited and/or nominated by its RSPO membership sector. Membership is on a voluntary basis and members are asked to serve for at least 2 years. They may also be called upon to serve on a DSF Ad hoc Expert Panel.

DSF Advisory Group members

Paul Wolvekamp
Co-Chair / Social NGO
Tang Men Kon
Co-chair / Grower Company
Piers Gillespie
Liz Crosbie
Daryll Delgado Social NGO
John Verburg
Social NGO
Marcus Colchester
Social NGO
Sin Chuan Eng
Grower Company
Peter Heng
Henry Chan
Environmental NGO
Agus Purnomo
Grower Company 
Raymond Lee

Meetings and Decision Making

The Advisory Group has a physical meeting at least once a year and by telephone and/or internet conferences periodically, all of which are coordinated by the RSPO Secretariat.

DSF Mediators

The engagement of mediators is carried out by DSF in accordance with a set of criteria.Each mediator shall have the demonstrated qualifications and/or credentials and experience. These shall be evaluated by the Secretariat or a duly empowered service provider, the criteria for decision (i.e., minimum acceptable qualifications) and approval specified in writing and employed consistently for all persons seeking approval.

Qualifications include but are not limited to:

  1. Training as a mediator, with adequate experience
  2. Availability to actually carry out the work
  3. Familiarity with the area/region wherein a dispute is situated
  4. Fluency in the (local) language relevant for the region
  5. Awareness of local culture and social realities, including but not limited to issues pertaining to Land Ownership Claims, Payments for Land Compensation, Ancestral Land and also its Divisions Amongst Descendants
  6. Familiarity with land use related issues
  7. Basic know-how of legal framework, national laws and legislation
  8. Knowledge of RSPO Statutes, By-Laws, Code of Conduct, P&C, Complaints System, and other relevant motions of the General Assembly, as well as RSPO communications mechanisms

Each mediator needs to submit a full declaration of interests and update this declaration at least annually and also as new interests arise. Moreover, each mediator must enter into an agreement with RSPO and with each of the parties involved in the dispute, to maintain confidentiality. DSF also provides guidance, training and capacity building for mediators to enable them to understand the context of mediating in land disputes between RSPO member companies and local communities.

List of DSF mediators

Reza Azmi
Agus Muliana
Ahmad Zazali
Ilya Moeliono
Mangarah Silalahi
Meri Geraldine Persch-Orth
Nani Saptariani
Yudi Agusrin Syahrir

Training on how the DSF works

RSPO, working with the DSF Advisory Group, enables RSPO members, local stakeholders and other parties’ awareness and understanding of how to use the DSF, including how to involve/commence a DSF mediation process, how a mediation process is conducted, what the requirements are, and how to prepare oneself.

Such a programme of education and awareness includes relevant publications and topics such as:

  • when and how to pursue mediation as an option,
  • how to notify the other side of a request for mediation,
  • how to notify RSPO of the desire to initiate mediation,
  • how to choose a mediator,
  • what to expect from the mediation process,
  • recourse when obstacles are encountered, 
  • the broader context of the DSF with respect to RSPO requirements, and
  • how to develop and disseminate communications related to participation in and outcome of the DSF process.

DSF Trust Fund

The DSF Trust Fund is set up to assist mediating parties (both members and non-members) requiring financial assistance in pursuing mediation within RSPO’s Dispute Settlement Facility. It can be used to provide assistance for the purposes of capacity building of the disputing parties and to realise the settlement reached and agreed between disputing parties. The financial assistance can include payment of mediators’/technical experts’ fees and related costs.

An individual or an unregistered organization would not be eligible to apply and/or receive financial aid under this Fund any such application will not be considered or accepted.

Email us to apply for the DSF Trust Fund