What is your community engagement strategy?
We envision ourselves as part of the local communities. As such we are committed to protecting the environment and working harmoniously with local communities. Our concession areas are being defined acre-by-acre in a process known as Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC). We work directly with communities to determine what land should be developed and what land should remain untouched.
We are committed to using the most up-to-date technology to map and record protected areas within our concession. This will ensure the safety of sites sacred to the culture and traditions of our hosts. We shall also preserve all original forest and the most bio-diverse areas.
This involves mapping, surveying and signposting areas of High Conservation Value, High Carbon Stock, sacred areas, gravesites, riparian reserves, wetlands and concentrations of endangered species, as well as farmlands and other livelihood areas. When communities invite us to use their land, we compensate farmers for crops in accordance with the Ministry of Agriculture guidelines and directives.
What is the purpose of the GVL Community Affairs team?
Our Community Affairs teams have the responsibility to engage the community with regard to our operations and involvement in the FPIC process. Our procedure for any potential area of operations dictates that we respect and adhere to the principles of FPIC. Our Community Affairs team follows a rigorous monitoring and filing system with 20 verifiers. Those verifiers include:
- Evidence of a social survey to identify local communities that live in or near areas of proposed concession / plantings.
- Land tenure study or survey showing the company has sought to understand local systems of land ownership (especially where lands are mainly held by custom or under informal tenures and not through statutory land titling).
- Minutes or reports of meetings with local communities to identify which institutions they are choosing to represent themselves.
- Evidence or letter of agreement showing company has accepted the self-chosen representatives as representing the communities.
- Participatory maps showing the extent of customary lands.
- Survey lists of landowners, based on customary rights.
- Participatory ESIAs.
- Participatory High Conservation Value Assessment.
- Evidence (letters etc.) showing that communities were provided participatory maps, SEIAs and HCV assessments in a timely fashion prior to negotiations.
- Evidence that neighbouring communities (not those directly involved) have endorsed boundaries of land claims of affected groups.
- Evidence that the affected communities have endorsed the maps and the findings of the SEIA and HCV assessments.
- Evidence (e.g. signed agreement, letter of intent or Memorandum of Understanding) that the self-chosen representatives have agreed a process for FPIC-based negotiation.
- Drafts of negotiated texts showing there has been iterative engagement with the communities involved.
- Signed agreement of acceptance by self-chosen representatives of negotiated outcome.
- Documents showing lists of rights-holders who are entitled to compensation or other agreed benefits and payments.
- Evidence that agreed compensation, payments and benefits have been made to these rights-holder.
- Evidence of that benefit sharing payments is being made and/or other elements in signed agreement.
- Documents showing company has legal rights to operate in the area.
- Standard Operating Procedures and/ or other documents, which show that the company has a mechanism to address and resolve disputes.
- Signed agreement or other proof that communities accept the conflict resolution mechanism.
Does GVL sign written contracts with each of the communities with which it intends to work? Isn’t this a terribly cumbersome endeavor?
We are committed to respecting the sovereignty, culture and traditions of our hosts and preserving their sacred heritage and economic rights. For local communities, working with us must be a matter of free, prior and informed choice. As a matter of policy, GVL would always sign written agreements with communities and will never enter into a community area without a written invitation.