Collaboration for rights recognition

CIFOR facilitates multistakeholder processes to support recognition of customary rights in Indonesia

The decision in 2012 of the Indonesian Constitutional Court (no. 35/2012) opened a space for customary groups to demand recognition of their rights to manage traditional forest lands. This decision clarified that customary forest must be recognised, yet the mechanisms for doing this in practice were uncertain.

For the Kajang people in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, achieving these customary rights has been a long process. The strong demand among the Kajang people for recognition of their forest rights was mirrored by broad support from civil society and government stakeholders in Bulukumba, which gave the process a strong start.

“The making of district regulations in the future should adopt this process, which is fully participatory. Although it is a long process, the product and the results are accountable and legitimate.”

Through the AgFor Sulawesi Project, CIFOR facilitated a multistakeholder process to develop a district regulation or PERDA that would formalize the Kajang’s customary rights. Working with a local NGO, Balang, CIFOR contributed stakeholder analyses, research on institutional arrangements, capacity building and discussions aimed at conflict resolution to help stakeholders arrive at an agreed PERDA.

Late in 2015, the lengthy efforts of many stakeholders paid off, and the PERDA was approved by the District Legislative Assembly of Bulukumba, formalizing the Kajang’s customary rights. This is a significant achievement, not only for the Kajang people, but also as an important model for other communities across Indonesia as they contemplate similar processes to gain recognition of their customary rights.

area of Indonesian Forest Zone which Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) claims is controlled by customary groups
proportion of forest zone registered to customary groups
time between the Government of Bulukumba initiating the process and final signing of the PERDA