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08 IASC | Understanding conflict under decentralized forest governance
Lessons from Indonesia and Vietnam
Yurdi Yasmi, John Guernier - RECOFTC
The past decade has seen unprecedented change in South East Asia. Countries in this region have been undergoing rapid socio-political, economic and environmental changes. Indonesia, the largest and most populous country in the region, emerged as a new democratic country following the collapse of Soeharto’s totalitarian regime. In the decade since, Indonesia has been working progressively towards decentralizing almost all sectors, including for forestry. The results of forest decentralization in Indonesia have been rather mixed. While progress has been made in terms of more space being available for local actors (i.e. district government, local communities) to engage in decision-making, well-functioning forest governance systems are largely absent. A persisting problem is increased stakeholder conflict, some of which become severe and debilitating; resulting in distrust, resource degradation and violence. The principle reason for this escalation is the inability of conflicting parties to address the conflict in a timely manner and make effective use of available resources to address conflict. We argue that conventional conflict management approaches do not allow appropriate capacity development of conflicting parties as most conflict management interventions are externally driven. In other words, little attention is paid to maximizing internal actors’ capacities in addressing the conflict. After all, these stakeholders know best their situation and are therefore in a stronger position to maximize the use of and improve their capacity, which is a central component in addressing conflict. Therefore, addressing an escalated conflict constructively through the development of conflict capability is the central theme of this paper. Drawing upon the results of a case study from Sumatra, Indonesia, this study examines how forestry conflict under decentralization processes escalates and to what extent conflict capability can be developed. Our case describes a conflict between a logging company and local communities. We analyze how such a conflict arose and what factors led to its rapid escalation. In the discussing this case, we point out a number of actions related to building conflict capability that are worth considering if we intend to address such conflict constructively. Learning from this case, we also discuss the specific need for capacity building of NRM actors as a pro-active approach to addressing conflict. We share RECOFTC’s experience in capacity building and generate lessons as to how such capacity building activities may contribute to tackling NRM conflict in Indonesia and Southeast Asia in general. Finally, we draw some general conclusions and recommendations.
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|Release Date:||September 2008|
|File Size:||317 KB|