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SOURCE: RRI

Support team helping with Komnas HAM National Inquiry
Support team helping with Komnas HAM National Inquiry 

The release of a new series of reports in March by the Indonesian National Commission On Human Rights (Komnas HAM), the government’s human rights agency, marks the first official process to examine the human rights impacts of land rights conflicts on Indigenous Peoples throughout Indonesia’s forest areas. The state-led “Inquiry,” which looks at 40 case studies of land conflicts across the country, is the result of a yearlong process which included public hearings, ethnographic studies, and discussions on the non-recognition of local communities’ customary land rights. According to RRI Collaborator AMAN (Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago), resolution of some of these 40 conflicts is just a matter of law enforcement. Following the National Inquiry, the situation has improved for Indigenous Peoples in some cases; however, violence has increased in others.

Forest zone determination started during the colonial reign of the Dutch East Indies, but 70% of Indonesia’s land was declared as “forests” during the Suharto Regime — without recognizing the rights of the thousands of indigenous communities who live in them. Vast areas of these forests have also been handed over to private companies as logging, plantation, and mining concessions, or declared as protected areas. The dispossession and exclusion of Indigenous Peoples from their own customary territories has led to an increasing number of conflicts; Komnas HAM estimates that as much as 20 percent of all complaints received by the agency relate to land disputes.

The Inquiry found that communities involved in these land disputes experience numerous abuses — including displacement, intimidation, violence, and takeover of traditional indigenous forests. Report findings also show that conflicts result from an array of factors: lack of legal certainty in recognition of indigenous territories; lack of standard police guidelines in handling natural resource conflict; and a state development agenda that is strongly biased toward protecting corporations over community rights.

The report was officially launched in mid-March in Jakarta, in the presence of state representatives from the Office of the President, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Anti-Corruption Commission. Teten Masduki, Chief of Staff of the Office of the President, welcomed the publication of the report results and reaffirmed President Joko Widodo’s commitment to respecting, protecting, and recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Despite this commitment, contradicting legal interpretations of a Constitutional Court decision that says adat forests are to be excluded from State forests has proved to be a major blockage to increasing protection for Indigenous Peoples’ territories.

The report’s concrete policy recommendations—including passage of the Law on Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and the establishment of an independent Task Force on Indigenous Peoples—have prompted calls for the government to enact needed reforms. RRI Partners and Collaborators continue to advocate for effective implementation of Komnas HAM recommendations across Indonesia and encourage prompt government action to recognize community rights.

The Komnas HAM report is composed of five books on the “National Inquiry on the Rights of Customary Law-Abiding Communities Over Their Land in Forest Areas”:

  • Book One: Provides an overview about the National Inquiry process, main findings and recommendations
  • Book Two: Addresses specifically the situation of Adat Women
  • Book Three: Goes deeper into each of the conflict cases, providing ethnographic information and testimonies
  • Book Four: Describes main lessons learnt from this National Inquiry approach
  • Booklet: A policy brief summarizing key findings and recommendations of this inquiry to improve laws and policies

The full reports are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

– See more at: http://rightsandresources.org/en/news/landmark-report-investigates-human-rights-abuses-suffered-indigenous-communities-affected-land-conflicts-indonesia/#.VylH54RcSkr

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SOURCE: SciDevNet

Asian indigenous groups bag UNDP awards

Copyright: Kemal Jufri / Panos

[JAKARTA] Indigenous communities from Indonesia have been awarded the Equator Prize 2015 by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for their struggle in advocating land rights and environmental restoration.

They are among the 21 community initiatives in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America that were given the UN prize on 21 September for securing land rights, protecting forests from destruction, saving endangered species and creating thousands of jobs for their localities.

During the press conference in New York announcing the winners, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres linked the importance of the upcoming UN climate change conference in Paris this December to the role of indigenous groups and local communities in assisting the world to reach its collective climate goals.

“The agreement governments will reach in Paris will be a crucial catalyst for sustainable development in the twenty-first century — everyone from governments, cities and companies to local and indigenous communities have an interest and everyone has a role to play in reducing emissions and building resilient societies,” she said.

“These winners show what is possible when indigenous people and local communities are backed by rights to manage their lands.”

By Helen Clark, UNDP administrator

One of the winners is Komunitas Adat Muara Taen, an indigenous group in East Kalimantan which has replanted 700 hectares of forests with traditional wood and fruit trees. They have also been struggling for land rights in Muara Tae since the 1970s to protect their land from the government and private companies which are trying to claim these.

Hairudin, information head of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), the umbrella group of Indonesian indigenous groups, tells SciDev.Net that the people of Muara Tae are a unique community compared to other indigenous groups in Kalimantan because of their persistence in asserting their rights.

“The people in Muara Tae have kept on struggling and they have secured 4,000 hectares of traditional forests,“ he says.

Other winners from Indonesia are Peoples in the Heart of Borneo, an Indonesia-Malaysia indigenous peoples’ alliance championing land rights and improved livelihoods, and Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung, an environmental group in Belitung island, Sumatra which has restored coral reefs and fishing zones devastated by tin mining.

Three other winners in the Asia-Pacific are the Prey Lang Community Network in Cambodia, an alliance of indigenous Kuy communities that have protected 500,000 hectares of lowland forests through forest patrols and geo-referencing technology; the Yunnan Green Watershed Management Research and Promotion Center in China, a model for indigenous self-organisation which has protected over 1,300 hectares of mountain forests; and the Wanang Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea, an alliance of ten indigenous groups which has protected 10,000 hectares of forests from commercial logging and operates a research station.

According to UNDP administrator Helen Clark struggling for land rights is good for the climate and sustainable development because forests and wildlife are protected, water is secured, jobs are created and local people are empowered.

“These winners show what is possible when indigenous people and local communities are backed by rights to manage their lands, territories and natural resources,” she says.

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SOURCE: UNDP

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Indonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are plagued by bad production techniques. Photo: UNDP in Indonesia

The Financing for Development summit in Addis is a decisive point in the process towards the post-2015 development agenda. World leaders, high-level policy makers, funders and finance ministers, among others, are expected to deliver the political will, policy reforms, and financial investments required to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Agriculture and nutrition is one of the four key focus areas at the summit, along with sustainable infrastructure, social protection and technology. Already at the core of much of what UNDP does every day across the globe, this reinforced agriculture as a key pillar of our poverty reduction efforts in over 170 countries.

The production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, and cocoa, plays a pivotal role in global efforts to improve livelihoods across the globe. Sadly, agriculture is also the main driver of deforestation today, and is threatening to devastate the very environment upon which we depend to survive.

UNDP is engaged in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to improve the lives of millions of farmers through its Green Commodities Programme (GCP).

If smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, are to be lifted out of poverty, we need to improve the economic, social, and environmental performance of our key agricultural commodity sectors. By 2020 UNDP’s GCP aims to contribute to enabling eight million farmers, managing 20 million hectares, to improve the sustainability of their practices and as a result, their livelihoods.

Smallholder farmers mainly seek out a living by using outdated and poor production practices. Improving these production techniques will lead to increased efficiency, higher yields, and improved product quality. This in turn means increased household food security and higher household income, especially when money is saved through less fertilizer and pesticide use. There will also be a positive environmental knock-on effect.

The expansion of smallholder coffee farms in Peru, a direct result of low productivity and poverty, has contributed to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the highly sensitive Western Amazon. Indonesia’s palm oil smallholders, who produce about 40% of the country’s palm oil, are also suffering, plagued by bad production techniques. This perpetuates the deforestation cycle as farmers seek to boost productivity by carving out even more land from the pristine forests of the archipelago.

UNDP, through the GCP and its global network of country offices, is working with government, private sector, civil society, and the farmers themselves, to improve production practices, yields, and product quality while protecting the environment. In other words, all the stakeholders are working together to identify, understand, and really implement solutions to the major challenges. This will take time, as all long-term strategies that really want to have an impact on our planet must. But this type of collective action – that could catapult the development agenda into the post-2015 era – is what we need to see in Addis.

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SOURCE: RAPPLER

Southeast Asia’s rice, fruits, and seafood are threatened by global warming. What can the ASEAN community do to avert a food security disaster?

MANILA, Philippines – Did you know that unabated global warming can harm humanity’s supply of food?

Southeast Asia, a region that produces much of the world’s most important crops, is in particular danger.

It’s located near the equator, meaning temperature increases will be most felt in the region. ASEAN countries lie near the Pacific Ocean, a major generator of strong typhoons. Several parts of Southeast Asia are also low-lying, making them vulnerable to sea level rise.

International development group Oxfam recently published a report on how climate change will affect food security and economy in ASEAN.

Here are some key findings and recommendations of the report:

Sources:

“Harmless Harvest” report by Oxfam, Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, International Rice Research Institute, Asia Development Bank, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

– Rappler.com

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SOURCE: Earth Security Group

Air pollution from haze is a serious public health concern in Singapore. The haze primarily originates in Indonesia’s forest fires that are used to clear land for agriculture. Singapore will be increasingly pressured to act to reduce air pollution as health risks undermine the quality of life of its population and its ambition to be a leading global commodities hub. Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo has made poverty-reduction the centrepiece of his term’s vision. Forest fires affect the health of Indonesian rural communities and undercut his presidential pledge, resulting in his recent pronouncement against mono-crop corporate agriculture.

Adding to the complexity is the contestation of land tenure in Indonesia, a major obstacle to clarifying responsibility for forest fires. The future position of companies listed in Singapore and Malaysia is threatened, particularly given Indonesia’s desire to limit foreign land ownership. In this web of political complexity, concession permits for large palm oil, paper and timber companies in Indonesia will be increasingly scrutinised, despite over 50% of fire alerts originating outside concessions. Companies that have made public commitments to ‘zero burning’ and ‘zero deforestation’ have the most at stake, as they will not be able to deliver on their commitments without decisive government action.

Strategic Opportunity 1

For companies with land concessions in Indonesia

Companies that have made public commitments to zero deforestation and burning, to help fill the gap that exists for robust and uniform transparency, disclosure and the development of a land monitoring system for use by public policy makers’ and the private sector.

Strategic Opportunity 2

For the government of Indonesia

Encourage Indonesia’s own legal schemes for sustainable palm oil and wood products The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) system, and the Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK) to directly address the haze issue through coordinated independent verification of certified plantations for compliance with no-burning policies.

Strategic Opportunity 3

For the governments of Singapore and Malaysia

Quantify the economic and health costs that forest fires in order to make more informed political decisions about its impacts. Accelerate the development and implementation of disclosure and transparency guidelines for companies listed in their stock exchanges or privately held in their jurisdictions that operate large land assets in Indonesia.

Strategic Opportunity 4

For ASEAN policy-makers

ASEAN has the goal to strengthen regional economic integration in 2015. The existing ASEAN Business Advisory Council has a role to play in driving the effectiveness of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution. The creation of an ‘ASEAN Business Working Group on Transboundary Haze’ is an opportunity to consolidate the business voice across these countries regarding policy priorities and implementation.

ASEAN’s agreement: a foundation for trans-boundary cooperation

The Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution is a regional treaty signed by 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia) that came into force in 2003. Indonesia only ratified the treaty on 16 September 2014. The agreement requires parties to develop and implement prevention, monitoring and mitigation measures, respond to information requests made by affected states, and take legal or other measures to implement obligations under the agreement.ASEAN cannot sanction parties that fail to comply with its provisions and parties have significant leeway in how to meet their obligations. Greater transparency and exchange of technical information, such as concession maps, is essential, but Indonesia argues that the disclosure of concession maps is in contravention with its laws. Intergovernmental cooperation has been limited to Ministries of the Environment, with weak coordination with other ministries responsible for key areas of the economy, finance and industry or with other strategic areas of ASEAN’s agenda on economic integration, food security and agriculture.

Indonesia

Forest fires undermine the government’s rural development goals

In 2013, Indonesia ranked as the top producer of palm oil in the world (28.4 MT) as well as the largest global consumer of palm oil, accounting for 23% of global consumption. Top importers of Indonesian palm oil are India (28%), China (15%) and Malaysia (8%), reducing the effectiveness of western market led sustainability certifications. Globally, Indonesia is the 10th largest paper and paperboard producer and home to APP, the largest company in the global market. Illegal burning for oil-palm and pulpwood plantations has had devastating effects domestically, where haze has caused hundreds of schools and local airports to close, and respiratory infections in thousands of people.

Malaysia

Malaysia chairs ASEAN in 2015

Malaysia holds the chair of ASEAN in 2015: Malaysia is now the second largest producer of palm oil (19.2 MT in 2013) after Indonesia and the 5th largest consumer of palm oil. Primary importers of Malaysian palm oil are China (19%), India (15%), and Pakistan (8%). While Malaysia is not currently a significant player in the global market for pulp and paper, the sector is poised to expand. Malaysia is itself responsible for some haze episodes, but it is the prevailing westward winds carrying the haze pollution from Indonesia as far north as Kuala Lumpur that can push air pollution above the level considered hazardous. In 2013, Malaysia’s Air Pollutant Index (API) reached ‘hazardous’ levels around the capital, closing airports and schools, and a state of emergency was called in Johor State.

Singapore

Health and business disruption costs in a global commodities hub

Many of the region’s most significant palm oil, pulp and paper and timber companies are domiciled or listed in Singapore, an increasingly significant global commodities hub that supports trade and financing in both sectors. While Singapore has effective plans and policies in place to manage its dependencies on food, water and energy imports, it is increasingly exposed to health and economic impacts from transboundary haze. At the height of the 2013 haze crisis, record air pollution in Singapore was classified as hazardous to human health, damaging Singapore’s reputation as an attractive business and financial hub renowned for its high quality of life.

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Source: Yale Environment 360

The villagers of Setulang in Indonesian Borneo have enlisted a new ally in their fight against the illegal clearing of their forests for oil palm plantations: aerial drones.

Setulang lies within a forest conservation area managed by the indigenous Dayak people, who have fostered a thriving tourism industry based on the rainforest’s rich biodiversity and their own cultural heritage. After successfully ousting an oil palm company operating illegally in their territory, the Dayaks are now hoping the drones can help them protect their land.

Dayaks and Drones,” a video produced by Handcrafted Films, chronicles how the villagers teamed up with an Indonesian nonprofit to learn how to program and operate drones. Equipped with GPS technology, the small drones photograph the forest and monitor the area for illegal activities, especially plantations and mines. The villagers will use information gathered by the drones to create a detailed map of their land, which will help in future conservation efforts.

“The international community must help Indonesia accelerate the recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples,” Abdon Nababan, an Indonesian indigenous rights leader (AMAN), tells the filmmakers. “

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ILC Asia members participated in the International Federation of Surveyors’ (FIG) Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 16-21 June. Armando Jarilla (TFM) and Dewi Kartika (KPA) attended a Training of Trainers for Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) organized by FIG, the FIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN) and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN).

STDM (1)

Ms Kartika also represented ILC Asia in two panels, on Surveying Profession and Grassroots-led initiatives (19 June) and on Improving Women’s Access to Land and Property (17 June), presenting on “Gender Justice in Land Management and Governance”STDM (2).

 

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