What Numbers Tell: Contribution of Vegetable Oils towards Sustainable Development Goals

Obaidee, Khaled and Assen, Bart W van and Mardiharini, M and Azahari, D H and Chaidirsyah, R M (2021) What Numbers Tell: Contribution of Vegetable Oils towards Sustainable Development Goals. Foreign Policy Strategy Agency Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta.

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The public discourse over the cultivation of tropical vegetable oils – in particular their potential threat to endangered tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems – has become strongly polarised. Professional spin-doctors flood social media with propaganda against targeted vegetable oils, and the negative opinions they generate result in ongoing calls for boycotts [1,2]. Yet, after decades of boycotting various commodities (among many others beef, palm oil, soybean and timber and wood fibre [3]) the spin-doctors have all but failed to conserve (let alone protect) the ecosystems they so highly value. The oversimplification required to argue for a boycott of a target commodity all but lead to the pursuit of yet another solution that was “clear, simple and wrong” [4]. For instance, the complex interactions between the numerous agricultural and forestry commodities and stakeholders [3,5,6] and must be ignored to argue for a false dilemma: vegetable oil “versus” conservation. Hence, boycotts of (mostly tropical) commodities mainly demonized the various private and public initiatives that aim to transform their cultivation and processing through “buycotts” [1,2] and – much more so – the vulnerable farmers cultivating these commodities. It is therefore necessary to reset the global debate with an objective assessment of the favourable and unfavourable aspects of the vegetable oil sector. This is more so the case, when considering the (potential) impacts of the vegetable oil sector on many (most?) Sustainable Development Goals. This means assessing all vegetable oil’s impacts on the various Sustainable Development Goals and untangling the polarised opinions regarding them [2] in a balanced, evidence-oriented and global setting. Only then can the discourse concerning the impacts of vegetable oils from tropical, sub-tropical and temperate areas achieve a level playing field and determine global partnerships and (f)actual strategies for transforming the whole vegetable oil sector. During 2021, the Indonesian Auditor Network continued its cooperation with the Foreign Policy Strategy Agency (formerly the Policy Analysis and Development Agency) of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to follow-up on its previous study on the impacts of vegetable oils on Sustainable Development Goals. The cooperation expanded the study to cover 24 indicators under 8 Sustainable Development Goals, and expanded its scope from four to twenty vegetable oil crops: 1) castor seed, 2) coconut drupe, 3) cotton seed, 4) groundnut, 5) hemp seed, 6) jojoba seed, 7) kapok fruit, 8) linseed, 9) melon seed, 10) mustard seed, 11) oil palm, 12) olive drupe, 13) poppy seed, 14) rapeseed, 15) safflower seed, 16) sesame seed, 17) shea nut, 18) soybean, 19) sunflower seed, and 20) tung nut. On this occasion, I would like to extend my gratitude and warmest appreciation to the various people who have enriched this study with their detailed contributions. In particular I wish to mention Dr. Siswo Pramono and Dr. Teuku Faizasyah (Director General and Acting Director General of the Foreign Policy Strategy Agency of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Dr. Rio Budi Rahmanto (Head of the Centre for Multilateral Policy Strategy) and Mrs. Rahmawati Wulandari (Coordinator for Economy and Development at the Centre for Multilateral Policy Strategy) and their expert support teams, as well as Dr. Khaled Obaideen (Advisory Board Member of the Indonesian Auditor Network) and Dr. Asep Suntana (Trustee of the Indonesian Auditor Network) for their invaluable support of the study. This study starts to map the multi-dimensional cloud of interactions and impacts between vegetable oil crops and SDGs. It identifies serious data gaps concerning the impacts on various SDGs, in particular 13 and 15 (Climate Action and Life on Land), suggesting that the environmental and – more so – the social impacts by the vegetable oils sector remain poorly understood. The study also identifies the current leaders and laggards amongst the vegetable oils with regards to their contributions to the SDGs. I hope this report entices the readers to further explore the intricacies of the global vegetable oils sector and to engage in joint dialogues and research on its impacts.

Item Type: Book
Depositing User: Mr Sahat Maruli Tua Sinaga
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2023 06:37
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2023 06:37
URI: http://repository.uki.ac.id/id/eprint/10977

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