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Indonesia promises to address forest destruction

Indonesia’s new president sets himself a major challenge to clean-up bribery and corruption in the forestry industry.

By Patrick Anderson

In late November, after a month in his new job, Indonesia’s president Joko Widido (Jokowi), travelled to Riau Province, Sumatra, to see for himself the forest destruction that causes smoke and haze to blanket Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore.

UN OHCHR: UN rights chief Navi Pillay urges States to do more to respect treaties with indigenous peoples

"GENEVA (07 August 2013) –States need to do more to honour and strengthen their treaties with indigenous peoples, no matter how long ago they were signed, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said in a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.

“Even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State. They are thus of major significance to human rights today,” she said.

Australia Indonesia Partnership fails to respect Dayak rights

Australia and Indonesia have been working together for several years now on REDD+. Their main cooperation is the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) which seeks to rehabilitate 100,000 hectares of peat swamp in Central Kalimantan. The area is part of Soeharto's Mega Rice scheme which failed to grow rice but reduced the agroforestry systems of dozens of Dayak communities to burning peat wastelands. Now, with millions of dollars already spent on the REDD+ project, Yayasan Petak Danum, a Dayak community organisation from the area of the KFCP project, wrote a letter listing major concerns with the project, especially its failure to respect the rights of the Dayak communities in the area. Read Yayasan Petak Danum (YPD) Network’s Letter to the Australian delegation to Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, February 2011, regarding the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership pilot REDD+ project:http://www.forestpeoples.org/topics/redd-and-related-initiatives/publication/2011/letter-australian-delegation-central-kalimantan

Ensuring respect for ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’ in Indonesia

Working closely with partners in Indonesia, Forest Peoples Programme helped convene a global meeting of The Forests Dialogue about how to make sure that the right to ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)’ is respected in Indonesia. The four day field dialogue held in Riau Province on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, in October 2010, brought together over 80 participants from a great variety of backgrounds including indigenous peoples, representatives of local communities, non-governmental organisations, international financial institutions, government agencies and the private sector. The meeting was the first in a planned series of field dialogues which have the main aim of exploring how in practice government agencies, commercial enterprises and non-government organizations should respect the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent, as expressed through their own freely chosen representative organisations, to activities that may affect their rights.

9th RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, London, February 2011

The 9th RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, co-organized with Forest Peoples Programme, Tebtebba and Forest Trends, took place in London, UK on 8 February 2011. The Dialogue drew together a number of key actors involved in REDD, including representatives from Indigenous Peoples organizations, governments of UK Mexico and Norway, the banking sector, NGOs and researchers.

The consensus emerging from the discussion was that REDD should not proceed before clear safeguards are put in place. Gregory Barker, British minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change outlined that before REDD projects take place, it is crucial to assess drivers of deforestation, secure clarity of land tenure and ensure equitable benefit-sharing for Indigenous Peoples. To that end, he assured that the UK government will apply safeguards in bilateral REDD agreements with Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Despite this commitment he avoided mentioning whether the UK would push for stronger safeguards in the readiness processes of the World Bank’s FCPF initiative.

‘Unsafeguarded’ Norwegian money for REDD triggers controversy

The dismally slow progress in the intergovernmental negotiations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases prompted the Norwegian government, in May, to fast track its own money through a parallel ad hoc financing mechanism to pay developing countries for reducing their emissions from deforestation. The process was initially set up with minimal participation but, in response to protests, the Norwegian Government insisted that it would require respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and sound governance. These claims are beginning to seem increasingly hollow.

Bangladesh - Cyclone Aila: continued suffering one year on

Cyclone Aila hit the south-western coastal belt of Bangladesh, more specifically the Satkhira and Khulna Districts, on 25 May 2009, affecting almost 2.3 million people and immediately killing 325. The tidal surge, which measured 10-13m, inundated the region and washed away huge numbers of houses, livestock, crops and other resources within a very short time.

Indonesian government requested by CERD to safeguard indigenous communities' property rights in REDD procedures

In response to an urgent action request from Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), Sawit Watch, FPP and others, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has urged Indonesia to guarantee effective protection of indigenous peoples' rights while implementing reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

Read the response from CERD Read the NGOs' urgent action request