“Improving Forest Governance
Civil Society Common Platform
to Save Indonesian Forests
and the Global Climate
We, Civil Society Coalition to Save Indonesian Forests and the Global Climate, comprising of sixteen organizations, have been involved in and monitoring efforts to improve Indonesian forest governance. Based on our experience, especially with regards to community rights and in the light of large-scale extraction and exploitation of forests for mining, industrial timber plantation, oil palm plantation, and megaprojects such as those under the Master Plan for the Expansion and Acceleration of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI), we strongly demand that the Indonesian Government adopt the following principles, criteria, and indicators that we consider very important and non-negotiable in improving Indonesian forest governance.
Indonesian forest governance must be based on the following principles to make it healthy, just, sovereign, mandiri 1 and sustainable.
Healthy is what we consider commensurate to the concept “good.” A “healthy” condition is a goal while also reflecting the opposite condition of the current Indonesian forest governance, which we consider ill. It also contains the notion of affirmative action, especially for those who have been left out and disadvantaged in terms of rights to and control over forests and forest governance in Indonesia.
Just and fair means that control of forest resources prioritizes the security and prosperity of indigenous and local communities based on recognition of their rights while integrating gender justice, including intergenerational justice, in forest resource management.
Sovereign means that control of forest resources put Indonesians, especially the indigenous and local communities, as “masters” in their own land. Policies and practices of extraction and exploitation of forest resources should respect the rights of indigenous and local communities, including the right to express their views or positions; either to reject or accept a policy, program, or project; based on free prior and informed consent principles.
Mandiri means that every effort to strengthen forest governance in Indonesia, including by addressing forest tenure inequality, implementing conflict resolution, as well as other forestry programs, must empower all parties, especially communities, so that they will be self-reliant and not otherwise dragged into conceptual traps that undermine their autonomy.
Sustainable utilization of forest resources means that the interests of present and future generations should be considered. Each generation is the guardian of all available resources in the forests for the benefit of the next generation as well as the beneficiaries of the previous generation.
Based on the abovementioned principles, we highlight three main themes that we consider very crucial in the efforts to improve forest governance in Indonesia: Community-Based Forest Management, Moratorium, and Forest/Climate Financing that respects the rights and prioritizes the security of communities, all of which must be considered by the Government and other stakeholders that are promoting forestry-related policies, programs, and projects.
Community-Based Forest Management2 (CBFM)
1. CBFM must become an integrated part of sustainable development policies that respect the ecological functions of an area as well as recognizing, protecting and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Community forest management system should ensure the welfare of the people which includes cultural, economic, social, and political aspects;
2. The Government must integrate Moratorium into government policies as well as environmental protection initiatives based on systems that are practiced among indigenous peoples and local communities;
3. The Government must protect structures, patterns, and spatial functions as well as the diversity of governance systems prevailing among indigenous peoples and local communities with approaches and models of forestry programs tailored to local characteristics.
1. Forest management policies and practices by the government must respect, protect and accommodate the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their unique cultural identities and their right to determine the direction of their own development;
2. Government forest management policies and practices must respect governance systems of indigenous peoples and local communities that traditionally view natural ecosystems as an integral part of their life and livelihoods and that guarantee the integrity, sustainability, and productivity of forest management;
3. The Government and other parties must uphold ethics, respect for life and protect indigenous peoples and local communities.
1. The rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to access and control over forests and forest resources are guaranteed;
2. There is legal recognition of and support from policies and programs to the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to determine the kind of development deemed appropriate for their own people;
3. There are follow-ups with regards to the people”s constitutional rights to land and natural resources, including forests, in the form of policies and operational regulations, among other regulations to implement the Constitutional Court”s decision No. 35/PUU-X/2012 and to elaborate agrarian reform mandated in MPR IX 2001;
4. There is a recognition of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ forest governance as a part of government development policies that recognize, protect and respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities;
5. There are maps of indigenous peoples and local communities-managed area that are integrated into the moratorium map and spatial planning.
1. Moratorium is not an end goal, but rather a process to achieve “zero deforestation” and improve forest governance in a comprehensive manner that goes beyond carbon;
2. Moratorium is a period to address inequality of forest tenure and forest management;
3. Moratorium period is not limited by time, but by the fulfillment of basic preconditions as measured by clear criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, which takes into account the fulfillment of environmental and social safeguards;
4. Moratorium is not only applied to new licenses, but also accompanied by a comprehensive review of existing permits followed by suspension or cancellation of logging/plantation/mining permits based on such review in the context of law enforcement;
5. Moratorium is an initial step towards total protection of the remaining natural forest (both primary and secondary), biodiversity, and peat ecosystem.
1. No conversion in the remaining area of natural forests, intact forest landscape and peat swamp for industrial/commercial interests;
2. No overlapping area functions in the spatial planning;
3. Rights to access and control of areas managed and governed by indigenous peoples and local communities in and around forest area are guaranteed;
4. No permits granted on areas with important ecological values, high conservation value, and high carbon value;
5. Areas with protection function are restored. Permits of restoration and conservation must be given in a transparent manner based on the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent;
6. Community Forest Management Systems directed for the welfare of the people, which include cultural, economic, social, and political aspects are empowered.
1. There is one clear map in the context of natural resource management that becomes a common reference and that is cross-sectored in nature, covering Forestry, Agriculture, and Mining Sectors as well as Community Based Forest Management Systems;
2. There is a forestry database system that is accurate and easily accessible as a common reference in the management of forest resources;
3. There is a strong policy on forest conversion threshold to prevent going beyond forest carrying capacity to save the forests and protect the sources of people”s livelihood;
4. There are grievance and dispute resolution mechanisms that are effective and easily accessible, operated by a credible entity to enforce them;
5. There are policies to support community-based forest management and land reform measures;
6. Participation of communities and civil society organizations in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of forestry policies and programs is ensured and specifically stipulated and regulated in the Forestry Law.
7. There are clear and unequivocal sanctions for violators of the moratorium, covering not only administrative but also legal sanctions (including administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions).
1. Climate change/forestry-related financing should be managed by the State under the principles of transparency, participation, accountability, sovereignty, justice, and autonomy;
2. Initiatives from indigenous/local and other communities regarding forest protection should be considered as internalities;
3. Climate change or forest-related investments should not be used for offsetting and/or green washing;
4. International aid to save Indonesian forests and/or address climate change should not be in the form of loans;
5. Economic development model should be based on the principles of environmental justice to reduce the negative impacts of economic activity to the climate.
1. The government guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to forest resources;
2. The government ensures that funds related to climate change in the forestry sector are used in an appropriate manner and actually reach their targets to improve forest governance, build the capacity of the community, and ensures that such funding is accessible to people in need;
3. Funding in the form of grants should not be based on conditionality and should be earmarked for improvement of forest governance that are previously planned using participatory bottom-up approach;
4. Funds from the private sector should be used to increase the capacity, autonomy, and self-reliance of communities and not merely to finance “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR activities of companies that destroy forests;
5. Forest governance must focus on systematic improvements that maximize the effectiveness of revenues generated from the forestry sector itself rather than relying on external investment funds/grants.
1. There are clear safeguard policies that can ensure that the rights of communities and the environment are not violated in all climate change/forestry-related funding schemes;
2. There is an effective and accessible audit and grievance mechanism in financing schemes of program/projects related to climate change in the forestry sector;
3. Programs and projects related to climate change in the forestry sector are developed using a participatory process carried out not only among stakeholders, but also (and must give priority to) rights-holders by using bottom-up approach;
4. The government does not rely only on funding schemes derived from investment and grants from outside, but also from domestic sources;
5. Economic development model based on the principles of environmental justice starts from priority sectors such as clean energy development, sustainable agricultural development, and reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Endorsed by Civil Society Coalition to Save Indonesian
Forests and the Global Climate
1 Mandiri implies a great extent of self-reliance and autonomy as opposed to dependence on other actors.
2 System in CBFM System refers to an integrated unit created in a given environment that is managed directly by the people. It includes the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, maintenance, and development activities. Community-based contains the notion of democratization of natural resources management. Here “communities” are the main actors (subjects) in natural resources management instead of mere objects of development driven from outside. Such system is called CBFM in the sense that it refers to natural resources (including forest) management that also includes knowledge management in a democratic (equal/just) condition. Its meaning should be understood in a wider context that refers to holistic natural resources management by communities as an inseparable entity that consists of not only forests, but also settlement and all its supporting areas.