ROME – Building on a high-level meeting between Indonesia Minister and Pope Francis just two weeks earlier, Vatican sponsored an international conference on palm oil in mid May 2018 in Rome, Italy, insinuating The Holy See support for the most productive vegetable oil.

The conference entitled ”Eradicating Poverty through Agriculture and Plantation Industry to Empower Peace and Humanity” gathered a wide range of stakeholders from different countries and disciplines, including Members of the Diplomatic corps, Prelates of the Holy See, policy makers, think thanks, academia, and non-governmental organizations, held in Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy.

The conference recognized the importance of palm oil cultivation in addressing poverty and achieving the 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while underlined the importance of fostering dialogue to overcome the divisive debates opposing economic development and the environment.

His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A Turkson, of the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, delivered the opening address to represent Vatican. Other keynote speakers include H.E. Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia) and H.E. Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok (Ambassador of Malaysia to Holy See).

Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) acted both as event-director and participant. CPOPC Executive Director, Mr Mahendra Siregar, was invited as a resource person of the second session, discussing palm oil roles in SDGs achievement of developing countries – Southeast Asia experience. ‘’It is evident that regions with palm oil expansion have higher poverty eradication level than other regions and national,’’ told Mr Mahendra while adding that more than 10 million people in Indonesia were out of poverty thanks to palm oil expansion. (ed: CPOPC)