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agrofuels reports: latin america, asia and europe

Rising oil prices coupled with the need to cut down the energy dependency from politically unstable oil producing countries, has pushed northern nations to boost the production of large scale biofuels, also known as agrofuels. This is severely impacting vulnerable communities and ecosystems in the South. Land grabbing by large companies happens to the detriment of local livelihoods, forests and human rights.

fuelling destruction in latin americawhat happened?

Friends of the Earth groups around the world are waging campaigns against destructive agrofuels plantations. Two major reports on this issue were issued in 2008 by Friends of the Earth groups from various pats of the world.


In September, Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) launched a report on the increase of agrofuel production in Southern and Central American countries to meet domestic and export demands for diesel and gas. The report exposed major European banks for funding agrofuel production in Latin America, leading to large-scale deforestation and increasing human right abuses.


In October, a coalition of Friends of the Earth groups (Malaysia, Netherlands, and EWNI) launched a FoEI report on palm oil in Sarawak, Malaysia. The report, Malaysian Palm Oil: Green Gold or Green Wash? warned that attempts to use certification schemes to reduce the widespread environmental and social problems caused by growing crops for fuels and animal feeds are bound to fail.


There was substantial media interest in both reports. The Latin American report was covered on the front page of the International Herald Tribune and quoted in TIME magazine, among many other news sources. The Asian report was picked up by Reuters and other news media. Both reports have been downloaded thousands of times from the FoEI website since their launch.     


The reports were also important on the political level. For example, FoE Malaysia’s advocacy work based on the report meant led to questions being raised in Parliament and the Sarawak State Assembly. According to Meena Raman of FoE Malaysia, whilst the answers given were unsatisfactory, the publication has been an important contribution to debunking the myth that the cultivation of oil palm in Sarawak is sustainable.


FoE Netherlands sent the Malaysian report to members of the European Parliament who were invited to a lobby breakfast organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council office in Brussels, and received a reaction about the report from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.




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