Date: October 2016 – April 2017
Implementor: HuMA & Epistema Institute
Funding Amount: $49,479
While certain activities under this SRM are still ongoing, it has achieved the first instance of indigenous communities in Indonesia receiving formal titles over their customary (adat) forests. This success follows a 2013 constitutional court decision that recognized adat forests as separate from state forests, as well as the election of President Jokowi in 2014, after which new commitments were made to recognize the land and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples. Over a 3-month period, RRI Collaborators HuMA and Epistema Institute coordinated advocacy efforts, resulting in 9 indigenous communities receiving formal titles over 13,000 hectares of forest lands on December 30, 2016. Indonesian President Jokowi personally handed out the titles. This success has set a precedent for further rights recognition for indigenous communities across Indonesia. Guidelines are now being drafted for the management of these community lands.
Date: May – December 2016 (to be extended)
Funding Amount: $49,900
In response to the state government of Gujurat, India, announcing it’s willingness to back titling for pastoral communities in the Banni region, 47 communities worked with RRI Collaborator Sahjeevan to secure formal titles for 2,500 square kilometers of grazing lands using India’s landmark Forest Rights Act. With Sahjeevan’s assistance, over 40 communities are planning how they will systematically regenerate grasslands, protect wildlife and biodiversity, remove invasive species, and protect and promote viable livelihoods for community members. Regeneration efforts have begun in four pilot plots, while advocacy campaigns continue, despite significant political shifts.
Date: April – December 2016
Implementor: ILEPA (Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners)
Funding Amount: $24,550
With RRI support, ILEPA succeeded in securing land rights over 700 acres for pastoralist communities. Following ILEPA’s advocacy efforts and a series of community consultations, the National Land Commission (NLC) and Ministry of Lands halted the illegal acquisition of land on the Maji Moto Group Ranch, returning land titles to their rightful owners. Group Ranch officials who had engaged in the illegal land acquisition have been suspended, and a peaceful change of leadership is underway. Accused ranch officials have surrendered their titles to at least 700 acres of land. This has had significant impact on communities’ livelihoods: the suspended ranch chairman surrendered 3 title deeds to 200 acres of public utility land, including a school, commercial center, and water point. This move effectively ensured access to education for future generations of the group ranch.
Date: March – December 2016
Region: Latin America
Implementor: Forest Peoples Programme
Funding Amount: $100,000
RRI provided support to the Peruvian indigenous community Santa Clara de Uchunya in their struggles against oil palm expansion by Plantaciones de Pucallpa, a company within the Melka Group, on their traditional lands in the Amazon. Complaints were submitted to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and both the Peruvian government and the RSPO ordered the company to stop operations, which it eventually did. The actions of RRI Partner Forest Peoples Programme and Collaborators Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali (FECONAU) and the Institute of Legal Defense (IDL), have led to the delisting of the stock of United Cacao Limited SEZC, another company within the Melka Group operating in Peru, in the London Stock Exchange as well as the Lima Stock Exchange. Dennis Melka, the managing director of United Cacao Ltd SEZC, has resigned, and the company announced that it would be reducing its staff at the plantation in an effort to keep it in business. Santa Clara de Uchunya has become an emblematic community in the struggle of indigenous communities against the increasing expansion of palm oil in Peru, and across the world. This case has also contributed to the formal request for titling of additional Santa Clara lands.
Date: September – November 2016
Implementor: HAK Foundation
Funding Amount: $54,868
Criminalization persists as a major challenge facing indigenous communities in Indonesia. To address the issue, HAK Foundation capitalized on a newly opened dialogue between Indonesian civil society and security forces by conducting trainings in 3 provinces for over 40 members of police and security agencies on human rights, alternative dispute resolution, and the legitimate claims of communities over their lands and natural resources. These efforts were the first of their kind and uniquely engaged security units on how they interact with local communities. After these trainings, police leadership requested an expansion of the program to other provinces prone to conflict.
Date: April – November 2016
Implementor: Ekuri Initiative
Funding Amount: $52,000
RRI supported the Ekuri community in Nigeria as they campaigned against the construction of a highway that would cut through their lands and forests. The Ekuri Initiative also supported a court case challenging the government’s revocation of the 36,000 hectares of community land needed to build the highway. Despite an unfavorable court ruling in December 2016, the SRM achieved an unprecedented level of mobilization in the area, including rights trainings of women and youth, non-violent protests, media engagement, awareness campaigns, and a petition with over 250,000 signatures. At present, the government remains committed to constructing the superhighway in spite of the implications for the forest communities.