Date: October 2016 – April 2017
Implementer: HuMA & Epistema Institute
Funding Amount: $49,479
This SRM has catalyzed the first instance where communities of Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia have received formal titles over their customary (adat) forests. This success follows a 2013 constitutional court decision driven by AMAN 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 with AMAN, helping to achieve formal titles for 9 indigenous communities over 13,000 hectares of forest lands on December 30, 2016. President Jokowi personally handed out the titles.
This success has set a precedent for further recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples communities across Indonesia.
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
Implementer: ILEPA (Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners)
Funding Amount: $24,550
The SRM played an instrumental role in enabling ILEPA to quickly secure land rights over 700 acres for an indigenous pastoralist community. Following ILEPA’s advocacy efforts and a series of community consultations, the National Land Commission 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, and set a national precedent for the Land Commission to defend the collective rights of pastoralist communities.
Date: March – December 2016
Region: Latin America
Implementer: Forest Peoples Programme
Funding Amount: $100,000
With this SRM, the Peruvian Indigenous Peoples community Santa Clara de Uchunya defended its traditional lands in the Amazon against the immediate threat of land grabbing and deforestation by Plantaciones de Pucallpa, a company within the Melka Group. Complaints were submitted to the RSPO, and both the Peruvian government and the RSPO ordered the company to stop operations, which it eventually did.
The actions of the project proponents 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
Implementer: 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
Implementer: Ekuri Initiative
Funding Amount: $52,000
The Ekuri community in Nigeria, with support from the SRM, successfully campaigned to protect over 180 forest communities in Cross River State from the construction of a highway that would cut through their lands and forests. In February 2017, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State reversed the former notice, issued in January 2016, on the government acquisition of 10 kilometers of land on either side of the 206-kilometer superhighway.
Through this SRM, the Ekuri Initiative catalyzed national and international pressure to challenge the Cross River State government with unprecedented mobilization of forest communities and Nigerian CSOs, which included rights trainings of women and youth, non-violent protests, media engagement, awareness campaigns, and a petition with over 250,000 signatures. Though the notice has been reversed, the government remains committed to constructing the superhighway despite the implications for other forest communities.