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RRI Quarterly Update: April - June 2011
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April - June 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It has been an active last few months for RRI – full of important events demonstrating why we created RRI 5 years ago and the emerging challenges that we face – including the International Conference on Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise, which helped local leaders catalyze a major shift in direction for government policy in Indonesia. This event was a powerful example of our coalition’s ability to listen to and support local initiatives, and then to convene, connect, and communicate their ideas and plans to advance tenure reforms. During the second day of the conference, the head of the Indonesian President’s Special Delivery Unit, Pak Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, announced the government’s intention to prioritize the needs of forest communities and to “recognize, respect and protect adat [customary laws and practices of the indigenous peoples of Indonesia] rights,” implementing legislation that has been on the books for ten years. The Ministry of Forestry also agreed to meet with AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara), the largest alliance of indigenous peoples in Indonesia, and other civil society groups beginning this month to develop a plan to implement this new vision.
In describing Indonesia’s century-long struggle over land rights, Pak Kuntoro said, "These conflicts are the result of an accumulation of past mistakes. We cannot let fear of making another mistake from preventing us from taking bold steps forward. Given the momentous task at hand, it will not be easy, but we have to start somewhere." This important declaration is a testament to the long and focused efforts of indigenous, community and civil society organizations including AMAN, HuMa (the Association for Community and Ecologically Based Law Reform), Epistema Institute, Kemitraan Partnership, and FKKM (Forum Komunikasi Kehutanan Masyarakat), supportive government leaders from the Ministry of Forestry, and RRI Partners active in Indonesia including Samdhana, Tebtebba, ICRAF, FPP, and RECOFTC, as well as Partners, Collaborators, leaders from MegaFlorestais and other RRI affiliates who came from around the world to play key roles in the conference.
In addition to the conference in Indonesia, the last quarter saw RRI engage with several government agencies in the US, Sweden and Norway, as well as the World Bank on streamlining land tenure in its programming, organize regional participatory mapping conferences in Colombia and Cameroon, and launch tenure awareness campaigns in Nepal.
Over the last few months RRI has also been continuing its "Rethink and Renew" process – the series of activities RRI is undertaking this year to help us assess where we've been, what we've done and learned, and how we should proceed in the coming 3-5 years. In May and June, RRI hosted two ʹBlue Skiesʹ exercises, bringing leading thinkers from outside our normal universe to discuss the key forces they see shaping the world between now and 2030. These discussions have already revealed that though the scale of pressure on forests and peoples from agriculture, mining, and infrastructure is increasing dramatically, so is the interest and openness for reforms by some governments and private investors. This input will be combined with what we are learning from our own programs via our annual monitoring and evaluation, as well as the formal Mid-term Evaluation which will be completed by the end of September. All of this will feed into a set of deliberations between Partners at the end of the year as we chart our program for the next phase of our work.
What has taken place in Indonesia shows us the scale and impact of our combined efforts and the Blue Skies meetings are telling us that both the need and demand for all of our work is growing. I look forward to your input over the coming months on what RRI has done in the past and how we can all improve and extend our work together in the future.
P.S. Click here for links to the suite of new research RRI released at the conference in Indonesia.
Posted By Jenna DiPaolo at 1:07pm on August 22, 2011
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