The Steering Group Objectives

Provide overall governance of the current HCS Approach and oversee the further development of a methodology designed to achieve no deforestation including refining its definition, its objectives and its relationship to other approaches to halting deforestation.

 Scope of work:

Development and review of the methodology

  • Standardise a methodology for identifying and maintaining viable areas of natural forest in the tropics
  • Oversee an ongoing science and expert review, revision and validation processes
  • Where possible, develop the methodology to be complimentary to existing processes (RSPO, FSC, RED, REDD+, and others)
  • Develop mechanisms / protocols to coordinate, and where practical, integrate the HCS methodology with other related social and environmental assessments including High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments and the protection of human rights and livelihoods, including the right of communities to FPIC
  • Promote and distinguish the methodology from narrow carbon calculation and accounting approaches and tools, while ensuring that the HCS analytics can be used and applied complementarily to other GHG reporting requirements
  • Consider how the methodology can help guide identification of restoration priorities that strengthen ecosystem function and resilience, and contribute to the application of the “protect, respect and remedy” framework of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in plantation holdings
  • Ensure the overall approach is supported by key local stakeholders, including local communities and Governments
  • Research, develop and promote incentives and support schemes so that communities and small farmers are assisted and supported to identify and maintain HCS areas

Guiding implementation of the methodology

  • Oversee trialling and future field trials, and further development and refinement of the methodology for different geographies and contexts, including in high or complex forest cover landscapes, with smallholders/farmers or different socio-economic settings
  • Invite other parties or sectors with broadly similar objectives to share learnings and to be involved
  • Oversee and agree on the methodology and any changes or adaptations that are recommended as a result of the revisions, trials and further development
  • Establish qualified oversight or review expertise to ensure implementation of quality assurance
  • Promote training and effective application of auditing tools

Communicating and engaging on the methodology

  • Promote formal recognition and endorsement of the methodology by key user groups including certification schemes to help deliver commitments to halt deforestation
  • Adopt and demonstrate best practice for stakeholder consultation and transparency to ensure the Approach respects local stakeholder rights and includes input from other relevant stakeholders

Developing governance model for the methodology

  • Explore and evaluate options for governance of the methodology and related research, and propose institutional arrangements
  • Establish ongoing governance, stakeholder input and oversight including satisfactory mechanisms for overseeing / registering qualified expertise practitioners and reviewing / registering assessments
  • Propose options for quality assurance, monitoring, and verification
  • Propose and ensure working mechanisms for capturing and addressing complaints and grievances at the local and international level

Download the full Terms of Reference for the HCS Approach Steering Group.