WASHINGTON, March 17, 2017 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $6.25 million grant to help Indonesia’s indigenous and local communities secure land rights, manage forests and improve their livelihoods.
Forestry is an important source of income for many of Indonesia’s rural and poor communities. About 20 percent of the communities depending on tropical forests to make a living live in poverty, which doubles the national average. The grant from the global Strategic Climate Funds aims to help them address deforestation and forest degradation, and more broadly, natural-resource management in more sustainable ways.
“Local and indigenous communities that depend on forests face uncertainty over their rights to land and how they can use it, which keeps them in poverty. As the government, with support from development partners, tries to address this challenge, this World Bank grant will boost community participation in the policy dialogue and help their clarify land tenure rights, improve forest governance and strengthen their stewardship of forests,” said Rodrigo Chaves, World Bank’s Country Director for Indonesia.
Following President Joko Widodo’s pledge to strengthen the rights of indigenous peoples, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has set a target of transferring 12.7 million hectares of forest land to local and indigenous communities by 2019.
“Indigenous peoples and local communities are at the heart of the future of Indonesia’s forests. We look forward to them playing a bigger role in managing the forests that they know so well. This grant enables them to do just that and more, and that is good news for sustainable landscape management in Indonesia,” said Nus Ukru, Head of the DGM National Steering Committee for the Dedicated Grant Mechanism project.
The project will also help indigenous and local communities map their land and improve their access to technical support for achieving tenure security in Indonesia. It will also help indigenous and local communities access services and markets and boost their participation in the use of village funds allocated by the central government.
“Support for securing land rights, complemented by assistance to improve livelihoods, can help lift rural households out of poverty. The Dedicated Grant Mechanism project will support the efforts of indigenous and local communities to have their rights to forest land recognized, while also helping them obtain the skills, technology, and knowledge needed to improve food security, manage natural resources, and participate in the marketplace,” said Diji Chandrasekharan Behr, World Bank Senior Natural Resources Economist and the project’s team leader.
The Samdhana Institute Indonesia will be the implementing agency for the project, which is expected to run until 2021. The institute is a regional network of experts with experience in community mapping, community forestry development, and advocacy for the rights of local and indigenous communities.