Indonesia and RECOFTC expand collaboration on community-based forestry
The Indonesian government and RECOFTC have renewed their partnership to continue to tackle the challenges that face the country’s forests and the communities that depend on them.
To formalize the collaboration, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), through the Extension and Human Resources Development Agency (EHRDA), and RECOFTC signed a memorandum of understanding on 18 November 2020 in Jakarta.
It is the third memorandum between MoEF and RECOFTC, following previous agreements signed in 2012 and 2005.
Gun Gun Hidayat, the Head of Program and Collaboration Division at the EHRDA Secretariat, said he hopes the partnership will lead to a wider, structured and flexible governance to cope with various challenges and needs in the field.
“This collaboration is expected to enhance the quality of forest management in achieving ecological sustainability and improve the welfare of people whose lives depend on forests,” he said.
RECOFTC will contribute resources and capacity for training and extension programs over the next five years. The programs will be designed to build the knowledge, skills and capacities of national and provincial government officials, civil society organizations and local communities on community forestry. The memorandum also provides for the development of a model for collaboration for forest farmers’ groups.
In 2010, RECOFTC supported the establishment of a community cooperative in South Sulawesi Province. Led by a group of local farmers, the Akar Tani Cooperative now has more than 20 members and provides better access to markets and stable income for local farmers. RECOFTC continues to build the capacity of cooperatives members to improve operations and mobilize resources. RECOFTC will use this model to replicate similar cooperatives in other communities across Indonesia.
The cooperative system, such as the one in South Sulawesi, will also strengthen community forest enterprises. By linking enterprises to markets, communities living in and near forests can improve their livelihoods and manage forests in a sustainable way.
Gamma Galudra, Director of RECOFTC Indonesia, said the program’s success will depend on strong partnerships with local communities, government representatives and partner organizations.
“President Joko Widodo frequently highlighted the importance of support after farmers receive social forestry licences,” said Galudra. “Facilitation and capacity building have been RECOFTC’s main objectives over the past decade working in Indonesia. The MoU between RECOFTC and EHRDA is responding to this need.”
RECOFTC’s initiatives in Indonesia fall under three major interventions: developing training and extension programs; developing capacities and skills of trainers and farmers; and developing social forestry models.
Those three major objectives are in line with the Indonesian government’s target of dedicating 12.7 million hectares of forest lands to community forestry. This goal requires improving the skills and knowledge of facilitators and farmers in social forestry, forest management and smallholder entrepreneurship. RECOFTC works closely with EHRDA to achieve that goal.
Since 2005, RECOFTC has collaborated with more than 45 local, national and international organizations across the country. It helped facilitate the process to obtain nine social forestry permits and supported the establishment of 10 social forestry entrepreneurship groups. It also provided training on sustainable natural resource management for more than 5,000 people, a third of which are women.
RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).