Epistema Institute is a research and knowledge management centre on law, society and the environment established by Epistema Foundation on 1 September 2010 in Jakarta. 


The creation of centres of learning about law, society and the environment in order to support the movement toward the establishment of a national legal system based on democratic values​​, social justice, the environment and cultural pluralism.


1. Encourage the formation and development of networks and nodes of learning (learning circles) to promote various flows of study pertaining to law in societies across various areas of Indonesia.

2. Develop research to promote learning about different schools of law and social studies.

3. Develop centers and information management networks about the various streams of study of law and supporting communities.

Promoting eco-social justice to develop democratic and just state law in Indonesia

Main programmes:

1. Learning Circles for Social and Environmental Justice (LESSON-JUSTICE)


The development of learning circles and alternative education activities related to eco-social justice involving civil society organisations and activists, academia, and national and local policy makers who can influence the discourse of legal reform.


  • Learning circles studying the flow of legal thought;
  • Country level study circles on law and indigenous peoples;
  • Learning circles studying law, natural resources management and climate change;
  • Discussion of thematic state law, indigenous peoples, law and management of natural resources and climate change;
  • Training in legal aspects of climate change and REDD; perspective of legal pluralism in the preparation of local legislation;
  • Lecture series on legal philosophy and legal theory and society.


2. Interdisciplinary Research on Community Rights to Better Livelihood, Just Social Traditions and Sustainable Environment (IN-CREASE)


Development of interdisciplinary legal studies that use and test the concepts of eco-social justice to provide recommendations for policy changes and become references for the maturation of the discourse of social movements.


Cluster on law and society research:

  • Research on models of legalisation of public rights over land and natural resources in national and regional legislation: recognition, integration or incorporation;
  • Comparative study on state recognition of indigenous peoples and their rights over land and natural resources in Southeast Asia;
  • Research on the substantive and formal elements of state law in court decisions related to the recognition and protection of community rights over land and natural resources.
  • Research on strengthening tenurial security for communities in various conflict resolution models regarding land and natural resources in Indonesia: is legal pluralism a supporting or inhibiting factor?

Cluster on legal research and environmental justice:

  • Mapping disharmonies in land law and natural resources;

  • Research on local knowledge systems to support low carbon development in the national legal system and normative systems within communities;

  • Research on the preparation of government policies and institutions at the national and local government level and with communities in implementing REDD readiness 2010-2012;

  • Research on the legal and institutional framework of the post-Kyoto Protocol at the national and local levels;

  • Research on REDD and poverty: a policy analysis and case studies of two years of implementation of REDD in Indonesia.


3. Resource Centre for Social and Environmental Justice (RE-SOURCE)

Increased diversity of media studies and widespread use of such media to promote social and environmental justice in policy advocacy activities and learning processes by various educational institutions and communities.


  • Preparation of a database;
  • Publication of a book (series on Indonesian socio-legal system, series on law and climate justice, series on law, justice and society, series on legal figures), working papers, e-journal;
  • On-line library and network;
  • Preparation of films and interactive CDs on law, the environment and society

4. Institutional Development (IN-DEV)

The development of Epistema as an independent accountable and professional agency, as well as a wide-spanning network at the local, national and regional levels.


  • Planning, monitoring and evaluation of standards development work;
  • Capacity-building of Epistema staff and community members;
  • Independent fundraising.
Research Methodology Training
Discussion at Petak Puti, Indonesia