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Advancing Sustainable Business and Ancestral Land Recognition

Access to and control over land and natural resources is causing conflict between private companies and local indigenous communities in the Riau Province, Indonesia. The program empowers indigenous and forest dependent communities (55,329 people in 40 communities) in the Riau Province, Indonesia, to protect their communal and cultural rights through peaceful dialogues and negotiations between communities, public authorities, and private sector. At

  • Location
    Indonesia Riau
  • Start project
    2015
  • Projectstatus
    Active
  • ID: NL-KVK-56484038-C_005185
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Background

The program Advancing Sustainable Business and Ancestral Land Recognition towards Peaceful Arbitration in Communal Territories (ASBALR-PACT) empowers CSOs, local authorities and corporates, which benefit 5,621,443 people living in40 villages.

There have been many reports by NGOs and the media regarding pulp and paper companies committing human rights abuses in the Riau Province, Indonesia, seizing land of local communities, intimidating villagers, and prohibiting villagers' access to previously public areas. According to the National Human Rights Commission there were 1,119 cases involving business-related human rights violations in 2010 and 1,068 cases in 2011.

Frustrated with a slow-moving justice system and the persistent unresponsiveness of the state to their complaints, villagers have protested, in many cases obstructing company operations in order to get the company and government's attention. These community protests include harvesting of plantation trees, land reoccupation, charging "tolls" for use of village roads, or setting up road blockades, and at times have included seizure of company vehicles and equipment. Such actions have been met with violent attacks by organized mobs of hundreds of club-wielding company enforcers, trained by and sometimes accompanied by state police.

The exploitation of forests and peat lands by pulp and paper companies at Riau province has directly driven to the escalation of conflicts and resulted in fatalities of indigenous people. But also to endangering indigenous and endemic species. including 140 species of mammals identified by the World Conservation Union as threatened, and 15 identified as critically endangered like the Sumatran Tiger and Orangutan. Deforestation and the destruction of peat lands also make Indonesia the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The program Advancing Sustainable Business and Ancestral Land Recognition towards Peaceful Arbitration in Communal Territories (ASBALR-PACT) addresses these issues. Its general objective is to empower affected peat land residents of Riau Province to protect their communal and cultural rights through peaceful mechanisms. Specifically, the action aims to
1) strengthen and capacitate forest and indigenous peoples communities in protecting their livelihood and rights as rightful owner and dwellers of forest and peat lands,
2) catalyze local advocacy campaign of civil society by raising awareness for sustainable business and alternative dispute regulations,
3) formulate guidelines for claiming community forest and peat lands as part of their ADAT land (ancestral) in a participatory process by communities, CSOs, national and local government and the private sector.

The program will concentrate on the following activities:
- Organizing and strengthening the current multi-stakeholder network.
- Research, seminars and workshops on livelihood, forest conservation and sustainable practices.
- Mapping and audit of land use, occupancy and human rights violations.
- Campaign on peaceful co-existence for sustainable economic opportunities.
- Summit on Good Business Practices.
- Research to find a legal scheme for claiming communal land.
- Consultation with authorities on guidelines for claiming ancestral rights and the issuance of a Governors Decree on claiming ancestral rights.

The program is facilitated by ICCO in partnership with local NGOs HUMA and Scale Up and in affiliation with Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development/IBCSD. Partner organization ScaleUp promotes conservation principles and responsible business to the private sector.
Advancing Sustainable Business and Ancestral Land Recognition

Initial situation

Since the 1980s, the Indonesian government has been re-allocating land for economic maximization, while not recognizing cultural land. This generated conflicts, which have led to business-related human rights violations of the communities (2,187 cases in 2010-11). Communities responded with protests to reclaim their ancestral land. Until this day, there is a communal conflict about the ownership, use, conservation and restauration of (ancestral) land and natural resources. These conflicts influence negatively the exertion of rights and livelihood possibilities of communities, and sustainable business operations of the private sector.

Target group

Indigenous and forest dependent communities (55,329 people in 40 communities) in the Riau Province, Indonesia.

Sustainability

The sustainability of the program is in the multistakeholder cooperation between the partners. Partners focusing on conflict resolution (land conflict), peaceful reconciliation and sustainable forest management, and good business practices. Bringing together both NGOs, CSOs, village organizations, governmental institutions (Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Ministry of Forestry and Environmental Affairs) and a network of businesses to advocate good business practices.

Also, village organizations receive organizational capacity building as well as an economic resilience program.

Goals overview

- Strengthened and unified network of CSOs and local authorities with technical and operational capabilities to resolve conflicts, protect livelihoods, and gain access to and control over forest and peat lands.

- Signed unity statement and conservation principles of forest and peat lands by stakeholders in the program.

- Development of a land use and occupancy map, and a human rights audit tool.

- Companies active in the area are capacitated on the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights*, Corporate Social Responsibility, environment conservation and alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.

- Adoption of guidelines and a Governors Decree in claiming ancestral land.
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