FROM WEST AFRICA TO EVERYWHERE ELSE – PLANTATIONS ARE NOT FORESTS! OUR FOREST IS OUR LIFE
Friends of the Earth Africa URGEs ECOWAS TO put in place a moratorium to New Land Based Concessions for industrial plantations.
“Our struggle against the corporate takeover of our forest and land for industrial plantation expansion by corporations is not a fight against development but a struggle to prevent further human rights violations, environmental damage, biodiversity and livelihoods loss; as well as promote the development of millions of indigenous peoples and local communities, with a focus on women and youths, who depend on forests and farmlands for their day-to-day well-being”- Rita Uwaka, Coordinator, Forest & Biodiversity Programme, Friends of the Earth Africa (FoE Africa)
The first African Peoples Tribunal on Industrial Plantations organized by Friends of the Earth Nigeria(FoEA), which featured ten (10) cases of violations across 10 countries in Africa was a turning point for affected local communities and civil society in Africa to build collective solidarity against corporate capture of their land and forests by agrocommodities company. It called upon governments to hold national and international companies and financiers accountable for the impacts of their plantations and to provide access to justice for affected communities and environmental human rights defenders.
Impacts of industrial plantations include deforestation, landgrabs, workers’ rights violations, violence, harassment of environmental human rights defenders and loss of livelihoods. The key economic sectors responsible for those harms are timber, oil palm, rubber, eucalyptus and cocao.
|Policy Recommendations to ECOWAS Parliament
We call on ECOWAS Parliament to:
1. Support Economic Partnership Agreements that respects the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples in Africa and protect and restore the environment.
2. Build policies and finance that promote people powered solutions like Community Forest Management & Agroecology, that are built on peoples sovereignty and participation in decision making.
3. Reject false solutions such as voluntary certification schemes and nature based solutions for the climate crisis, that commodify nature greenwash bad practices, license forest destruction and violate human rights.
4. Halt the criminalization and harassment of environmental human rights defenders and provide access to justice for defenders and affected local communities.
5. Support policies that install a moratorium on expansion of monoculture industrial plantations.
6. Redirect investments from largescale agrocommodities expansion in Africa by shifting government and private finance, research and technical support towards community-based forest management and agroecology.
7. Stop trade deals that empower companies to influence legislation through special rights and provisions at the detriment of public interest.
8. Work with foreign governments and institutions to halt the international trade and finance of forest and ecosystem risk commodities, including the recent European Commission anti-deforestation proposal.
9. Promote access to justice with a strong UN Binding Treaty for business and human rights.
10.Protect women’s rights and access to land.
11.Ensure to have a periodic forest dialogue with forested countries on policy intervention they can take to halt deforestation and land grabbing for large scale plantation expansion in Africa especially within the ECOWAS member states.