Community rights and REDD+ in Indonesia

Findings from a workshop on implementing safeguards in Jambi Province.

Safeguards introduced as part of the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) programme aim to address potential impacts on Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs). But how do these safeguards work, and what barriers may block them?

Safeguards have been conceptualized in different ways – from barriers against harmful impacts (‘do no harm’) to mechanisms that could catalyse improved well-being and livelihoods for IPs and LCs (‘do better’). Under CIFOR-ICRAF’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+), we are researching the design and implementation of REDD+ safeguards in Indonesia, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our goal is to understand how safeguards have been implemented, examine what barriers exist to their implementation, and provide lessons to address those barriers.

At the national level, we have reviewed legal documents and interviewed specialists to understand the state of the recognition and protection of rights of customary groups and local communities in the context of REDD+. At the subnational level, we are combining our long-term engagement with REDD+ in Indonesia with an exhaustive literature review and interviews with actors who have experience with safeguards related to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) initiative in East Kalimantan, and the BioCarbon Fund project in Jambi Province.

In Jambi, our interviewees included non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government actors, and university-based researchers, as well as representatives of groups that may be affected by REDD+ projects.

REDD+ safeguards in Jambi

Jambi was one of the provinces selected for REDD+ demonstration activities, with four locations by 2014: Berbak, Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Harapan Rainforest and Durian Rambun village forest. Jambi also become the location for voluntary carbon markets for REDD+ projects, including the Bujang Raba Payment for Ecosystem project (2014–2020) organized by NGO network Komunitas Konservasi Indonesia (KKI) Warsi, and Durian Rambun project (2013–2020), coordinated by Fauna and Flora International.

After the development of the REDD+ Safeguards Information System (SIS REDD+) at the national level in 2011, Jambi became one of the provinces to pilot SIS REDD+, following the subnational governments’ commitment to develop a provincial REDD+ strategy and action plan. The province also participated in an early trial of PRISAI (Prinsip, Kriteria, Indikator, Safeguards REDD+ Indonesia), in collaboration with KKI Warsi.

Currently, activities in Jambi under the BioCarbon Fund must align with its safeguard framework to be eligible to receive results-based payments. Jambi has a target to reduce CO2 by at least 14 million tonnes by 2026 for a total payment of USD 70 million. Unlike East Kalimantan, Jambi received pre-investment funding of USD 13.5 million for implementation of emission reduction activities. This has financed REDD+ readiness in the province, including technical support for compliance with the World Bank’s safeguard requirements. The support has included the development of a standard operation procedure on safeguards for project implementation, and guidelines for free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) implementation. To date, FPIC has been carried out in 170 villages, and 60 more will be included in the process in 2023.

As with other aspects of providing safeguards, Jambi is developing draft regulations for the recognition of customary communities, and has established a feedback and redress grievance mechanism. Additionally, although the benefit-sharing plan document has yet to be finalized, discussions are ongoing at the provincial level regarding the proportion of benefits and procedures for distribution for customary and local communities.

The workshop: How to support accessibility of benefits to IPs and LCs?

Preliminary research findings were presented in a workshop with REDD+ stakeholders in Jambi on 24 November 2022. The workshop facilitated exchanges on benefit-sharing as well as protection of the rights of IPs and LCs, including the impact of REDD+ on livelihoods. Organizations representing and allied with communities noted the importance of ensuring that benefits reach communities, and that the benefit-sharing mechanism is transparent and clearly explained to all stakeholders.

The head of the project management unit explained that specific areas such as national parks and some forest management units were selected as targets for the interventions. However, benefits will be accessible for relevant stakeholders at the jurisdiction level (including those villages that could not share their performance on emissions reduction during the interventions), as part of government  support to improve their livelihoods.

The next step for the programme is to conduct a capacity development process for its beneficiaries, focused on supporting their effective participation in programme design, and to develop and submit proposals for the activities that will be funded by the programme’s results-based payments.

Participants proposed the involvement of civil society organizations as independent monitors for the whole programme, as well as to support communities with the programme’s feedback and grievance redress mechanism.

Jambi has taken lessons from the implementation FCPF’s programme in East Kalimantan. Despite implementing similar safeguard standards, the East Kalimantan’s FCPF programme differs in regard to: the organization of the programme (e.g. the readiness phase was led by Dewan Daerah Perubahan Iklim multistakeholder forum); the operationalization of safeguards (e.g. FPIC was implemented by an NGO); and stakeholder engagement (e.g. lack of engagement by the private sector). Further research will also focus on the comparative analysis of the safeguard implementation between the two provinces.

Assessing the potential of safeguard standards

Our initial analysis of safeguards in the context of the BioCarbon Fund initiative in Jambi found potential to support further progress regarding social inclusion within the government system. For example, the programme has fostered a greater focus on gender equality in participation. The BioCarbon Fund initiative has also supported the development of a draft regulation on customary community recognition.

Our research on safeguards seeks to understand if and how they can support transformational change with regard to rights in forest-based initiatives. We will continue to update our analysis as part of GCS REDD+ engagement with safeguards, providing evidence-based recommendations towards a rights-responsive REDD+ that benefits forests and the people who are their stewards.


Global Biodiversity Information Facility

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