Tobelo, Maluku Islands, April 19, 2012 – The World Bank, the Japanese government and AMAN – the National Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago – are joining forces to strengthen the voice of forest-dependent people in forest policy dialogue. A new $3 million grant program launched today will work towards building the capacity of indigenous communities in key forest provinces. The grant is provided by the Japan Social Development Fund, and will be managed by the World Bank. AMAN, who for the last twelve years has fought to protect the human rights of customary or adat communities, had proposed this innovative grant program. AMAN will implement the grant funding for the benefit of Indonesia’s adat communities.
“Most of Indonesia’s adat communities live in state-claimed forest areas. Their livelihoods often depend on these forests yet they generally don’t have formal ownership of their land. However, they are aware of their customary rights,” says Juan Martinez, Senior Social Development Specialist for the World Bank in Indonesia. “This project recognizes that adat communities are often left out of forest policy discussions, and aims to build their capacity so that they can fight for their rights and concerns in these discussions.”
Through extensive consultations between AMAN and various indigenous communities, it was collectively decided that the best approach to building capacity would be to strengthen community governance, improve local adat institutions, and raise the income levels of indigenous peoples. Individuals will benefit directly from training, from small grant disbursements, from participation in land use planning and livelihood activities, and from the resulting positive impacts on rural livelihoods. This grant is expected to benefit nearly 250,000 people from 250 indigenous communities in Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Papua, West Papua, Jambi, South Sumatra, Aceh, Riau, and Central Sulawesi.
“We are very pleased to support this creative project conducted by the World Bank and AMAN. The Government of Japan is convinced that the project will contribute to community empowerment, as well as the poverty alleviation of indigenous communities in realizing sustainable growth in Indonesia,” says Yoshinori Katori, Japan’s Ambassador to Indonesia.
“The World Bank was the first multilateral development organization to introduce an Indigenous Peoples Policy. For the last 30 years, we have been working to promote indigenous peoples' development in a manner which fully respects the dignity, human rights, and uniqueness of their communities,” says Stefan Koeberle, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia. “We are very excited to work with the Japanese government and AMAN in this innovative project to help make Indonesia’s growth even more inclusive and sustainable, by bringing Indonesia’s highly marginalized into the development process.”
The Japanese government and the World Bank officially launched this grant program during AMAN’s fourth annual Indigenous People’s Congress in Tobelo, North Halmahera, Maluku Islands. The Congress runs from April 19-25 April, 2012.
Factbox: AMAN (the National Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago)
Founded in 1999, AMAN consists of 1,163 Indonesian adat community members and works to recover and assert the human rights and fundamental freedoms to welfare and dignity of all indigenous peoples. AMAN’s mission is to empower, advocate and mobilize indigenous peoples to protect their collective rights and to live in ways that protect the environment for current and future generations. Their programs meet local, national and global challenges by using their own indigenous values, knowledge and solidarity to promote social justice, ecological sustainability and human welfare. AMAN’s National Council consists of community members from across the archipelago, representing diverse ethnicities, languages, religions (including indigenous belief systems), and cultures. AMAN has long experience in managing projects funded by various donors including the European Union, DFID, USAID, NORAD, UNDP, ICCO, CORDAID, and Ford Foundation.