Resolution Plan endorsement by the Complaints Panel
IOI’s Resolution Plan received Complaints Panel's (CP) conditional endorsement at the end of June 2018. The Resolution Plan consists of three stages:
1) Community Capacity Building,
2) Community Participatory Mapping, and
3) Negotiations for Final Dispute Settlement.
Resolution Plan socialization
The Resolution Plan was subsequently presented to all affected communities during a 7-day long visit on 30 June – 6 July, 2018. The main purpose of the socialisation exercise was to explain the Resolution Plan and seek communities’ consent. Grassroots, Pelita and an RSPO observer participated alongside IOI’s team in the socialization program.
Obtaining free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for Resolution Plan implementation
As of 1 October 2018, 6 out of 9 communities gave their consent. By November 2018, two more communities did so. However, the last remaining community, Long Teran Batu, gave their consent only in March 2019. Having secured the consent from all affected communities, IOI started the implementation of the Resolution Plan.
Regular engagement with other key stakeholders
From the very beginning IOI and Pelita have been regularly engaging other key stakeholders such as the Sarawak State Government and local NGOs to ensure their support for the resolution process. The Complaints Panel of the RSPO has been regularly updated and consulted.
Stage 1: Community Capacity Building
On 18 January 2019, IOI retained the services of the Community’s Information and Communication Centre (CICOM), a local NGO, to conduct Community Capacity Building program, which is the main component of Stage I of the Resolution Plan.
In February 2019, IOI and CICOM launched the Community Capacity Building program, the purpose of which was to do the following:
• Double check whether the communities have good understanding of a) RSPO Principles & Criteria on conflict resolution, b) Free, Prior and Informed Consent process, and c) Resolution Plan itself;
• Provide affected communities with any needed advice and technical expertise;
• Gather community grievances, on the basis of which the Community Participatory Mapping would be designed.
CICOM completed the Capacity Building Program at the end of June 2019.
Stage 2: Community Participatory Mapping
Equipped with the insights gained in the course of the Community Capacity Building, CICOM started the Community Participatory Mapping in August 2019. The purpose of this important task is to identify, map out and validate communities’ land claims and other grievances. All affected communities have an opportunity to be included in this exercise and have their land surveyed.
The outcome of this stage will be of critical importance for the success of the subsequent and the last stage of the resolution process: Negotiations for the Final Settlement.
Over the last several months, the Community Participatory Mapping has proven more challenging than expected. CICOM put a great deal of effort into making sure the affected communities understand the community mapping process and are ready to actively participate in it. Any community boundary mapping can raise communities’ concerns and cause tension. Therefore, CICOM had to address this challenge before the land survey (mapping) could start. Then the rainy season made the area inaccessible for a while. In a few cases, there were some community factions that initially did not want to participate. Further delays were caused by festive seasons (Christmas and Chinese New Year), unavailability of some community leaders due to illness, and difficulty in finding a convenient time for the community members to participate in training sessions and the land survey itself. Finally, CICOM experienced a severe shortage of its own surveyors to assist community members in the mapping exercise. As a result, the Community Participatory Mapping has been significantly delayed.
By mid-March 2020, six out of nine affected communities had their surveys done. Unfortunately, at that point, the coronavirus outbreak reached Sarawak and the government issued Movement Control Order. The Community Participatory Mapping had to be put on hold.
On 12 June 2020, CICOM resumed the Community Participatory Mapping process.
Two of the remaining three communities yet to be mapped, Long Jegan and Long Teran Batu, had some reservations about their participation in the Community Participatory Mapping. To address their concerns, a team consisting of the State of Sarawak’s Ministry of Modernization of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (MANRED), Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), District Office of Beluru, and IOI visited the two communities on July 20-21. As a result, Long Jegan and Long Teran Batu decided to participate in the mapping exercise. The mapping of these two villages was completed on 29 July 2020.
On 21 July 2020, the Penans of Long Lapok, which is another local community living outside the Provisional Lease area, submitted to IOI a request to include them in the Resolution Process. Based on the evidence submitted by the Penans, their community was subsequently included in the mapping exercise as well as the entire conflict resolution process.
Despite all the difficulties CICOM managed to complete the initial mapping exercise in line with the deadline of 31 July 2020. However, when CICOM proceeded to socialization and verification of the maps with the affected communities, a group of 48 LTKA farmers suddenly came up with new land claims, which required CICOM to conduct further land surveys and thus delayed the process of the Community Participatory Mapping.
On August 7th, the Berawan of Long Jegan sent a letter to the RSPO expressing their dissatisfaction with IOI Pelita and CICOM helping other communities with mapping their land claims without consultation with the leaders of Long Jegan who claim the entire area. IOI Pelita and the representatives of the State of Sarawak Government met on October 5th and obtained Long Jegan’s consent to continue their participation in the mapping process and delay the addressing of the overlapping land claims till the next stage of the resolution process, that is till Stage 3 – Negotiations for Final Dispute Settlement. The local authorities made it also clear that the intercommunal land disputes between various communities are beyond the control or authority of IOI Pelita and instead should be directed to their District Officer. During the meeting the elders of Long Jegan asked IOI Pelita and CICOM for help with additional mapping exercises. This will unfortunately further delay the completion of Stage 2 (Community Participatory Mapping), which is now expected to be concluded sometime by mid-November 2020.
Community Participatory Mapping Socialization Session in Long Teran Batu
Updated as of 19 October 2020