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Forest Tenure Reform in Indonesia: Learning From The Past Experiences Designing for the Future

RECOFTC
A number of tenure experts and practitioners in Indonesia gathered in Jakarta to discuss tenure reform in Indonesia, learning from the past for better planning in the future along with the end of the National Medium Term Development Plan 2014-2019.
Talk of the Forest
tenure workshop in Jakarta
© RECOFTC

Social Forestry and Agrarian Reform in Indonesia 

Indonesia has a forest area of around 127 million ha. Of the 82 thousand villages in the of Indonesia, as many as 25 thousand villages or more than 30 percent are located in around or within the forest areas, with a total population of 10.2 million poor people or 36.73% of Indonesia's total poor population (MoEF Statistics December 5, 2017). On the other hand, there are imbalances in land tenure and access to forest resources between communities and corporations with percentage 3 percent to 97 percent, which encourage potential social conflicts. High deforestation rates which is 684,000 ha per year (2010 - 2015), has caused around 64.5% of the forest area to be damaged. 

In the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) Year 2014-2019, the Government of Indonesia allocated 12.7 million ha for Social Forestry (SF) activities and 4.1 million ha for Agrarian Reform (AR) within the forest area. This initiative is a way for more inclusive and equal local development, because it can increase people's access to productive assets and resources.
At the end of the RPJMN, it takes a reflection and learning from past practices of Social Forestry and Agrarian Reform so that it can be used to design better programs in the future. This reflection and learning was discussed for a full day with the experts and practitioners of Social Tenure and Forestry in Indonesia in a workshop held by RECOFTC and partners on Thursday, November 22th, 2018. This activity is part of the joint activities of the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) and the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) in Indonesia supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

In this workshop, the resource persons are Ir. Erna Rosdiana, M.Sc (Director of Social Forestry Area Preparation); Ir. Mariana Lubis M.M (Head of Forestry Extension Center); Sigit Nugroho (representative from the Directorate of Planning for the Use and Formation of Forest Management Areas); Prof. Supratman (Hassanudin University); Hasbi Berliani (The Partnership), and Dahniar Andriani (HuMa). The discussion was also facilitated by expert facilitators in the tenurial field which are Yando Zakaria (RAPS National Secretariat), Suwito (The Partnership), and Emila Widawati (WG-Tenure).

Achievemment and Lessons Learned of Social Forestry and Agrarian Reform in the Forest Area

In the presentation and discussion, it was stated that several achievements in social forestry by the end of the year 2018 are as follows. The first achievement is that the social forestry is considered to contribute in reducing economic inequality, one of which is to reduce Indonesia's gini ratio by 0.41 (WB, 2014) to 0.39 (BPS, 2018). The second achievement is the arrangement of regulations that provide a variety of social forestry schemes for communities to be able to manage state forest areas. The Minister Regulation Number P.83/2016 provides an opportunity for the community to be able to manage forest areas through five schemes, namely: community forestry, village forest, community plantation forest, customary forest, and environmental partnership. Especially in Java, social forestry is regulated through Minister Regulation Number P.39/2017 concerning the Permit for Utilization of Social Forestry Forests. In addition, there is also the Minister Regulation Number P.32/2015 concerning rights forests, which also regulates customary forests. The third achievement is until 12 November 2018, around 5097 SF permits have been issued covering 2,173,063.46 ha for 497,925 households. The fourth achievement is the mapping of forestry extension workers, amounting to 3035 extension agents spread across 32 provinces.

However, the above achievements are still limited to policies in the SF scheme, the number of HutSos permits, and the mapping of community groups that need assistance. Some challenges that still need improvement are as follows: 1) weak synchronization and coordination of the regional and rural development along with the plans for FMU management with the SF activities and the assistance; 2) the lack of understanding and strategy for assisting SF conducted by the SF Working Group in the regions; 3) budget and staff limitations to carry out the acceleration of the SF program to reach 12.7 million ha; and 4) clash of policies and institutions in the issuance of SF permits on peatlands, 5) the number of forestry extension agents is not comparable with the extent of the location of the targets and the distribution in each FMU is not evenly distributed.

For the agrarian reform activities in the forest areas, the target of achieving agrarian reform in the forest areas is 54% or 2,363,405 ha of the target of 4,195,685 ha in 88 regencies/municipalities in 26 provinces. It is also targeted to allocate 20% for the community from the release of forest areas covering 426,355 ha. However, with the agrarian reform program in the forest area, the community tends to choose and expect their managed areas to become agrarian reform area rather than following the SF scheme. 

Recommendation for the Future

From this workshop, several recommendations have been made to improve the SF and AR programs in the forest area. First, it needs optimization of cooperation opportunities and synergy of SF between sectors, such as Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions snd Transmigration; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs; BUMN; and Private Sectors. It needs assistance and facilitation from the government for the locations of SF permit issued.  This can be done if cooperation and synergy between ministries and sectors can be optimized and synergized. Second, the decentralization of the authority of the process and the flow of bureaucracy to the provincial level. The provincial government has the authority to independently verify the SF working area and assistance needs at the regional level, and coordinate all of these needs together with the ministries at the central level. Third, prioritizing the role of the facilitator of the SF, rangers, and forestry extension agents in the implementation and acceleration of the Social Forestry and Agrarian Reform.