Date: August 9, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia

Funding Amount: $59,718

Details:

This initiative sought to provide strategic support to the Kendeng Communities in their struggle against the construction of a cement factory by PT Semen Indonesia in Rembang, Central Java. This local community opposes this project that will destroy the water sources of the Kendeng mountains area which are essential not only for their farming activities, but for their survival. Despite support from President Joko Widodo and a Supreme Court ruling to revoke the license of the cement company, the Central Java Governor issued a new license allowing PT Semen Indonesia to extract limestone and clay from the mountains of North Kendeng, whose water people depend on for their livelihood.

The Kendeng community, and in particular women, have been mobilizing against this project, setting up tents on the construction site, at the offices of the Central Java Governor, and cementing their feet in front of the presidential palace. The communities have a strong case, a favorable Supreme Court judgment, presidential instructions, and Komnas HAM (Indonesian Commission on Human Rights) recommendations. However, they are facing criminalization in Central Java for the actions taken.

This SRM helped to create a conducive environment to ensure the rule of law and use this conflict as a symbolic case to address key problems of collusion of interests and weak law enforcement. Through the SRM LBH provided legal support to Kendeng community members facing criminalization; developed a counter narrative using evidence of PT Semen Indonesia’s social and environmental impacts, combined with information on the company’s influence on political elites, media, and within universities; supported communities’ mobilization; and facilitated advocacy initiatives by the community regarding their rights.

Date: October 3, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Country: India

Region: Asia

Implementer: Vasundhara

Funding Amount: $25,498

Details:

This SRM addressed the serious threat posed by the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act of 2016 to the land and forest rights of tribals and other forest dwellers. The urgency comes from the fact that the rules for operationalizing the law are in process. The SRM sought to collect evidence on violations of the Forest Rights Act, land rights, and human rights by existing plantations and use this data to carry out advocacy to ensure that the CAF rules incorporate strong safeguards to protect the rights of tribals and forest dwellers including free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). The mobilization and advocacy sought to ensure that CAF rules respect the powers and jurisdiction vested in Gram Sabhas (Village Assemblies) by the Forest Rights Act.

Under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 and Supreme Court instructions, any agency appropriating forest lands has to pay a substantial sum to compensate for the forest diversion at the Net Present Value of diverted forests. This amount is presently between Rs. 4 and 10 lakhs per hectare (US$5,500-$16,000/ha), depending on the quality of the “diverted” forest and is deposited in a Compensatory Afforestation Fund. Over a decade, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund has accumulated about Rs. 42,000 crores (US$7 Billion). The Supreme Court has allowed release of small amounts from the CAF for the last seven years but has insisted that the government of India enact a new law to unlock the whole fund.

This proposal sought to support the CSOs and grassroots movements in their struggle to ensure that the CAF rules incorporate safeguards including FPIC; protection of rights and powers of Gram Sabhas and right holders vested under FRA; and control of Gram Sabhas over the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds. The window of opportunity was small as the first version of the CAF rules was already drafted—however, timely advocacy by the CSOs with Members of Parliament and with media led to withdrawal of the rules. The SRM successfully held national-level consultations with forest rights groups and drafted a report on CAMPA and CAF rules and policies.

Date: October 3, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Yayasan Hutanriau, Indonesia

Funding Amount: $9,900

Details:

The SRM activity, approved in October 2017, strategically responded to the immediate and sustained threat to adat and local communities’ traditional lands and forest, and rich biodiversity posed by the expansion of palm oil in Riau Province on Sumatra within the Bukit Batabuh Forest Reserve. Riau Province is home to over 24 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations and is also the same area that is home to the Sumatran tiger, which is currently listed as critically endangered. In Indonesia, during a period of 15 years (2000-2015) there has been an estimated 55 percent of forest loss within concession areas, and an estimated total loss of more than 6.7 million hectares within and outside of concession areas. This forest-loss has caused adat and local communities to lose their livelihoods and their traditional lands and forests, as well as the wildlife and plant diversity that has been sustained by the primary forests.

The SRM proposed to provide support to the Air Buluh community and the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve who have been the custodians of the lush forest—home of the critically endangered tiger—for centuries, to secure their rights to these forests and develop a sustainable community-led forest based enterprise model unique to a protected area. This can set an example of community resistance to government and private sector encroachment on customary land.

RRI support provided the resources for the mapping of the management area with Bukit Betabuh in order to complete the main stage in obtaining the Social Forestry permit from the local administration, while simultaneously developing sustainable crop commodity plans for the jernang that would create an initial border around the community forest land. The proposed activity supported the communities within the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve and trained them in the titling processes involved in Social Forestry permits. These activities not only created income-generating activities for the Air Buluh community but allowed them to have rights over their forestlands and help preserve the pristine tiger ecosystem.

Read more: Photo Essay | Protecting the Forests, Protecting Dragon’s Blood

Date: October 27, 2016 - May 31, 2018

Country: Nepal

Region: Asia

Implementer: Green Foundation, Nepal

Funding Amount: $44,955

Details:

2,000 FECOFUN and Green Foundation members were elected in Nepal’s first federal elections. These representatives now hold positions such as mayors and deputy mayors in local, state, and federal governments. This SRM activity builds on this momentum to both advocate for a new Forest Rights Law in Nepal as well as facilitate a high-level visit of Nepali parliamentarians, policymakers, and influential civil society leaders to Mexico. These leaders will be instrumental in advocating for a new Forest Rights Law that is inclusive of Community Forest Enterprises, and thus the visit highlighted the positive social, economic, and political gains from Mexico’s rich community forestry experience.

The members of parliament were particularly interested in Community Forestry Enterprises in Mexico and the successes observed there, where nearly 80 percent of forests are ejidos or community forests and as a result, communities generate substantial revenue from the forests, much of which is reinvested into the ejido. The high-level visit added value to existing activities currently being undertaken to pass a new Forest Rights Law in Nepal and garnered support from parliamentarians for the proposed Forest Rights Law. There is an unprecedented opportunity to create a coalition of allies and champions who support community forest rights in this beginning stage.

This exchange visit is innovative as the high-level exchange between Nepal and Mexico represents the first time RRI facilitated a comprehensive attempt to unify various locally elected government officials to learn from the experience in Mexico to create more sustainable, economically viable, and climate friendly policy. There is a complete shift in government structures—and for the first time Nepal will have a federal government and moreover, for the first-time local governments and decision makers will be responsible for creating rights-based forest policies.

Read more: Blog | How can Nepal’s local communities benefit economically from their forests? Mexico’s “ejidos” model could open new doors

Date: February 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Rakata Alam Terbuka Organization (RAKATA)

Funding Amount: $65,004

Details:

RAKATA sought to develop and pilot a viable collaborative framework in four national parks pilot sites. These pilot sites will become the model for upscaling in the 74 national parks and protected areas in Indonesia. There are 33.6 million hectares of protected areas in Indonesia, with almost 5,000 villages located inside or close to them that lack legally recognized rights over their customary lands or forests. RAKATA seeks to work with Parks Authorities, CSOs, Indigenous Peoples and local communities inside parks and protected areas, and local entrepreneurs to create co-management systems through Integrated Site Planning Agreements (IPSAs).

This SRM takes advantage of a small and critical window of opportunity recently opened with a champion of rights based approaches, and built on one of the major outcomes of the RRI supported October 2017 Tenure Conference held in Jakarta (hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Consortium for Agrarian Reform or KSP, and various CSOs). This opportunity to set an example for collective, community led co-management systems in protected areas is time bound and contingent on the favorable policy environment arising out of the Tenure Conference and the tenure of the current Director General.

The objectives will be achieved through: helping the Ministry of Forestry Conservation Unit Directorate (KSDAE) establish model partnerships, co-management systems, and collaborative and collective management procedures; conducting an assessment of existing co-management systems in four priority sites and designing viable and up-scalable models for Integrated Site Planning Agreements (ISPA); conducting trainings, workshops, and e-commerce trainings collaboratively with KSDAE Units, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, local governments, and other groups signing up for Integrated Site Planning Agreements (ISPA); and strengthening/establishing active “Learning Centres” and “Knowledge Management of Culture, Forestry Conservation and Tourism Education Centres” for customary forests and village forests.

Date: April 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018

Country: Nepal

Region: Asia

Implementer: Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal

Funding Amount: $48,812

Details:

As of 2017, Nepal is operating as a federal government and now that local governments are in place, the complex process of reworking laws, regulations, and governance institutions on the local level is getting started. This presents a unique window of opportunity to support local rights-based forest and natural resource governance and influence the future “status quo” of policymaking in Nepal. The biggest opportunity for impact emerges from the remarkable fact that almost 2,000 members of FECOFUN, Nepal’s national community forestry federation—this SRM’s proponent—have been elected into local governments, with many elected as mayors and deputy mayors. These, if organized, can become powerful instruments of changes in favor of community forestry, including for favorable laws and regulations.

The SRM proposes to convene, train, and orient the local government representatives on the community forestry issues to ensure that the interests of community forest user groups (CFUGs) are protected and enhanced in the local government regulations and policies; and work closely with selected local governments to create model community forest laws to empower CFUGs, remove regulatory barriers, and initiate implementation of the model laws within their jurisdiction.

The activity will build capacity of local government representatives (especially those who are members of FECOFUN) to protect and enhance the interest of CFUGs in local government laws and policies. By supporting the creation of a model or template “Community Forest Law,” the proposed activity will directly seek to ensure a favorable regulatory and policy regime for community forestry at local government levels.

Date: March 1, 2017 - December 31, 2018

Country: Lao PDR

Region: Asia

Implementer: Village Focus International

Funding Amount: $48,936

Details:

The National Land Law in Lao PDR (Laos) is currently undergoing revision, presenting a brief window of opportunity for Lao civil society and development partners to influence the revision process. The Land Information Working Group (LIWG) identified two periods for policy dialogue and advocacy: from February to June 2018 as the Land Law is being drafted, and from July to September 2018 when it will be under the scrutiny of the Lao National Assembly. The final law is due to be tabled in October 2018. Together with Village Focus International (VFI), members of the LIWG and the LIWG Secretariat are working to seize this political window of opportunity to engage in land-related policy dialogue and advocacy. The main aim of this proposed SRM is to form a Focal Group comprised of civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners who have been working on responsible investment and community land rights in Laos, to develop a policy brief that can feed into the Land Law revision process.

With support from the SRM, civil society is engaging in land-related policy dialogue and advocacy while the National Land Law is undergoing review. This will be achieved through mobilizing members of various government departments and organizations such as the Ministry for Planning and Investment, the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environment, the Mekong Region Land Group, and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), as part of the Land Sub Sector Working Group (LSSWG); reviewing relevant literature, policies, legal and regulatory frameworks, and initiatives; and producing and disseminating a summary of Turning Land into Capital (TLIC) reports’ key findings. Through this SRM, the LIWG seeks to guarantee the National Assembly is well informed about this topic when deciding on the Land Law in late 2018. The Focal Group ultimately aims to incorporate provisions into the land law that ensure respect for community land rights and sustainable land-based investment.

For reference:

Turning Land into Capital: Assessing a Decade of Policy in Practice

Date: August 22, 2017 – May 31, 2018

Country: DRC

Region: Africa

Implementer: Innovation et Formation pour le Développement et la Paix

Funding Amount: $45,022

Details:

Innovation et Formation pour le Développement et la Paix (Innovation and Training for Development and Peace, or IFDP) which serves the Walungu, Kabare and South Kivu provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), created and advocated for a local legal framework to recognize and secure the land rights of local communities and Pygmy Indigenous Peoples in South Kivu province. This framework will be implemented at the provincial level; however, it is also a powerful tool that will support future reforms in other provinces and at the national level.

Entitled “Decree to support mechanisms to recognize and secure land rights for local communities and Pygmy Indigenous Peoples in South Kivu Province,” the legal framework was a collaborative effort involving CSOs, provincial government officials, and local communities. Following the drafting of the framework, the final version was approved by officials from the provincial land minister’s office as well as members of the land sector coordination committee in South Kivu.

IFDP will continue to work with provincial government officials to pass the final version of the decree, and to implement the new law. With grassroots support from communities who are actively seeking ways to secure their land, IFDP has ensured buy-in for local-level land reform during the national-level land reform process in the DRC, which is ongoing.

Date: April 17, 2017 - December 31, 2017

Country: Mali

Region: Africa

Implementer: HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Mali

Funding Amount: $49,338

Details:

In 2017, the Mali Minister of State Lands and Land Affairs launched a property and land policy reform process parallel to the ongoing agricultural land reform process. Unfortunately, when it was unveiled, the government’s policy adoption process did not include a participatory process of consultation with local communities or robust analysis ensuring respect for community land rights. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Mali and the Advocacy Network for Securing Agricultural Land Rights (RP SéFA) identified a prime opportunity to engage in the creation of this new policy; at the same time, they saw a significant risk to communities’ customary rights if the policy was written and adopted without local communities’ input.

Knowing that the stakes were high, HELVETAS Mali and RP SéFA conducted an analysis of the proposed property and land reform policy, and led a nationwide effort to consult communities about the new policy, garner their feedback, and, lastly, to work for the inclusion of their feedback in the land reform process and eventual policy. They held workshops in five different regions in Mali, gathered the insights and recommendations of those who participated, and synthesized the recommendations and concerns into a Memorandum. The Memorandum highlighted the increasing prevalence of land speculation, land grabs by big business and Malian elites; moreover, it recognized that, without a pro-community national land policy, there his high risk of conflict over land rights. Furthermore, it advanced the argument that securing customary land rights for local communities through the new land policy would bolster the goals of the 2015 Mali Peace Agreement by promoting stability related to land and natural resource rights.

When the Memorandum was finalized, HELVETAS-Mali and RP-SéFA facilitated a national-level workshop to highlight the results of the regional consultations. Furthermore, they conducted nationwide advocacy around the Memorandum, targeting politicians, civil society, and the media in the Fall of 2017. Each regional consultation had been covered by local TV, and this added momentum to the overall advocacy and coverage around the property and land policy. Following the final workshop in October 2017, HELVETAS-Mali and RP-SéFA sent the Memorandum to the Minister of State Lands and Land Affairs. They were notified that the Ministry is interested the findings of their consultations. Unfortunately, with the change of government in Mali on December 31, 2017, the Ministry of State Lands and Land Affairs was abolished, and these responsibilities have been transferred to the Ministry of Finance. This means that the reform process is ongoing, however, the National Land Policy adoption process is stalled.

Despite the current delay, by seizing this unique opportunity to contribute to the creation of a new policy, HELVETAS-Mali and RP-SéFA have laid the groundwork for future advocacy when the discussion resurfaces.

Download the project’s resulting memorandum, “Memorandum from civil society and local communities on the National Property and Land Policy in Mali,” here.

For more information, see the following news articles in French:

Processus d’élaboration du projet de document de Politique nationale domaniale et foncière : La société civile et les communautés à la base souhaitent leur implication

Pour une loi foncière agricole : RP-SEFA plaide pour l’implication de la société civile et les communautés à la base

Sécurisation des terres agricoles au Mali : Le RP-Séfa réclame une politique nationale domaniale pour alléger les contentieux fonciers

Date: October 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Yayasan Hutanriau, Indonesia

Funding Amount: $9,900

Details:

The SRM activity, approved in October 2017, strategically responds to an immediate and sustained threat to adat and local communities’ traditional lands and forest, and rich biodiversity posed by the expansion of palm oil in Riau Province on Sumatra within the Bukit Batabuh Forest Reserve. Riau Province is home to over 24 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations, and is also the same area that is home to the Sumatran tiger which is currently listed as critically endangered. In Indonesia, during a period of 15 years (2000-2015) there has been an estimated 55 percent of forest loss from within concession areas, and an estimated total loss of more than 6.7 million hectares within and outside of concession areas. Indonesia has been losing its forests at a rapid rate for decades, and in turn, adat and local communities have been losing their livelihoods and their traditional lands and forests, as well as the wildlife and plant diversity that has been sustained by the primary forests.

RRI support will provide the necessary resources to support the mapping of the management area with Bukit Betabuh in order to complete the main stage in obtaining the Social Forestry permit from the local administration, while simultaneously developing sustainable crop commodity plans for the jernang that will create an initial border around the community forest land. The proposed activity will help empower the communities with the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve and train the communities in the titling processes involved in Social Forest permits. These activities combined will not only create income-generating activities for the Air Buluh community, but it will allow them to have rights over their forestlands and help preserve the pristine tiger ecosystem.

The SRM proposes to provide support to the Air Buluh community and the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve who have been the custodians of the lush forest – and home of the critically endangered tiger – for centuries, to enable them to have secure rights over their forests, to create sustainable forest enterprise by developing a community-led forest based enterprise model unique to a protected area and to set an example of community resistance to both Government and private sector encroachment on their land.

Date: September 2016 - February 10, 2017

Country: DRC

Region: Africa

Implementer: Center for the Support of Sustainable Tropical Forest Management (CAGDFT)

Funding Amount: $78,235

Details:

Centre D’Appui à la Gestion Durable des Fôrets Tropicales (Center for the Support of Sustainable Tropical Forest Management, or CAGDFT), in partnership with Réseau CREF and FODI, undertook a project aimed at identifying and using tools to implement community forestry, coupled with an educational campaign to raise awareness about these issues in the provinces of Nord-Kivu and Equateur. They conducted trainings with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and local and provincial authorities around the provisions for Local Community Forest Concessions (LCFC) stemming from Decree 14/018 and Ministerial Order 025. The LCFC are plots of land granted to communities by the government, to be owned and managed by the local communities and Indigenous Peoples who receive the titles. Under each LCFC granted by the provincial government, concessions are allocated in perpetuity to the local communities and Indigenous Peoples, so long as the title holders respect the rules governing sustainable management. Through this SRM, CAGDFT, Reseau CREF, and FODI were able to support four communities in their applications for the LCFC, potentially securing 174,000 hectares of forest. During the project, CAGDFT identified several opportunities to develop and extend the project to more provinces in the DRC, and the initial projects in North Kivu and Equateur will serve as models for future work to secure community forests.

Read about this project in our blog post, “An unprecedented community forestry initiative in DRC.”

Date: Ended February 2017

Country: Cambodia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Inclusive Development International (IDI)

Funding Amount: $27,560

Details:

Inclusive Development International, with support from SRM, continued its support to fourteen Cambodian villages, containing some 15,000 people, whose land and forest rights have been violated by one of Vietnam’s largest companies. The company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, was granted almost 50,000ha of land for rubber plantations over large swathes of Ratanakiri province, which overlapped considerably with the ancestral lands of the Kachok, Tampuon, Jarai and Kreung indigenous communities. As the company began developing its plantations, the communities lost residential, farming and forestland as well as many scared areas.

In 2014, IDI supported the communities to file a complaint to the International Finance Corporation’s CAO, an independent accountability mechanism. The company and communities agreed to try to resolve the issues through CAO- facilitated mediations. In a major breakthrough in 2015, the company agreed to refrain form any further development of its plantations and to return remaining land, reducing their total concession area to under 14,000ha.  It also agreed to a joint-mapping exercise with the company and government to determine which areas of additional land it should return or compensate for.

With support from SRM, IDI and local partners assisted the community in preparing for and participating in the joint mapping exercise, and pushing for recognition of their claims in the mediations. This included training and workshops on tenure options, customary land registration, GIS mapping exercises, and a valuation of losses, among other activities. As a result, the company has now agreed to return further significant tracts of land, including 20 spirit mountains and other areas with spiritual and traditional value to affected villagers. The mediations are ongoing.

Date: August 2017 - February 2018

Country: DRC

Region: Africa

Implementer: Innovation et Formation pour le Développement et la Paix (IFDP)

Funding Amount: $45,022

Details:

This SRM was approved in August 2017. Its objective is to create a provincial legal framework to secure community land rights, especially the rights of women and Indigenous Peoples, which will reduce land-related conflict in South Kivu.

To date, IFDP has held 15 consultations in South Kivu with 378 participants. Photos from several consultations are available below, courtesy of IFDP:

Date: August 2017 - March 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (LBH). LBH is a member of AMAN

Funding Amount: $59,718

Details:

This SRM was approved in August 2017 and is on its beginning stages of implementation. It is a test case to illustrate whether rule of law and respect for Indigenous rights would prevail over industrial and a critical effort to overcome a culture of impunity and to make the Company as well as the Governor of Java accountable to law, including the laws protecting Indigenous rights.

Date: 2017 (contract end date extended to 30 November)

Country: Regional (Africa)

Region: Africa

Implementer: Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)

Funding Amount: $9,900

Details:

This SRM aims to facilitate the final adoption by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) of a General Comment on land and property to the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights in 2017 by supporting a convening of key partners and Commissioners to finalize and agree upon the text.

Date: June - December 2017

Country: Cambodia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Funding Amount: $9,800

Details:

This SRM was approved in late June 2017. Its objective is to protect land and forest rights of Cambodia’s Kui Indigenous communities affected by 36,000 hectares of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) granted to sugarcane plantation companies in Preah Vihear. An update on progress will be provided in December 2017.

Date: 2017 (to end on 31 October)

Country: Mali

Region: Africa

Implementer: HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Mali (HELVETAS)

Funding Amount: $49,338

Details:

This SRM was approved in April 2017, and aims to support the socialization of Mali’s National Land Policy, ensuring both an improved participatory process for its development and improved content that better addresses the needs, expectations and vision of local communities in Mali’s five regions.

Date: 2017 (ended 30 May)

Country: Brazil

Region: Latin America

Implementer: Instituto Socioambiental (ISA)

Funding Amount: $38,213

Details:

The activity supported via this SRM approved in April 2017 has been very successful.  In light of the proposed Constitutional amendment and legislative reforms that could affect historical gains on collective tenure rights, 3,200 Indigenous leaders assembled in the Brazilian capital as part of the Free Land Camp mobilization to advocate for the respect of the territorial rights. Some highlights include:

  • Participants conducted a well-publicized march to Congress to present their demands.
  • Indigenous leaders were also able to meet with the president of the House of Representatives who promised to take their needs into account as Congress debates Constitutional and policy reforms.
  • Indigenous peoples organized committees to follow up negotiation with the government in the coming weeks.

In addition to successfully elevating Indigenous Peoples concerns with respect to their rights, the event strengthened the relationships between RRI’s affiliated networks AMPB, COICA, AMAN and the Brazilian indigenous organization AIPB, all of whom have agreed:

  • to integrating their advocacy efforts into the international movement for collective rights.
  • on a common messaging strategy, and to hold a panel on “Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Climate Change Funds” at COP 23 to demonstrate that international grants are not reaching Indigenous communities.

Finally, the event opened avenues for further collaboration with indigenous and women’s organizations in Brazil and work with new Partner ISA to conduct legal analyses and map indigenous territories.

Please find below clips related to the event:

Sting and Chief Come Together Again for the Preservation of Indigenous Lands

Free Land and Global Solidarity

In Brazil, Indigenous Latinos Protest Offensive Against Their Lands and Rights

The Indigenous Struggle in Brazil (Video)

Indigenous protests clash with police in Brasilia – in pictures

Date: 1 Oct 2016 to 30 Apr 2017

Date: October 2016 – April 2017

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: HuMA & Epistema Institute

Funding Amount: $49,479

Details:

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: 1 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016

Date: May – December 2016 (to be extended)

Country: India

Region: Asia

Implementer: Sahjeevan

Funding Amount: $49,900

Details:

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: 1 Apr 2016 to 31 Dec 2016

Date: April – December 2016

Country: Kenya

Region: Africa

Implementer: ILEPA (Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners)

Funding Amount: $24,550

Details:

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: 1 Mar 2016 to 31 Dec 2016

Date: March – December 2016

Country: Peru

Region: Latin America

Implementer: Forest Peoples Programme

Funding Amount: $100,000

Details:

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.