Improving land governance to protect forests and communities in Indonesia

Grounded in analysis of the political economy, SETAPAK combines work with national and local governments with support to civil society. The program aims to improve transparency and accountability, strengthen policy making, the rule of law, and the recognition of community rights. It also works to increase knowledge and understanding in the land use and forestry sector.

This approach, which considers both supply of services to government and demand for them from civil society organizations and communities, results in initiatives and institutions that are more accountable and responsive to the public. A collaborative strategy helps build synergies, develop partners’ capacities for effective advocacy, and encourages innovation.

SETAPAK works in regions with abundant forest resources and peatlands that are vulnerable to rapid land use change. The first phase of the SETAPAK program ran to May 2015, and the second phase runs from 2015 to 2018.

Globally, and in Indonesia, it is recognized that weaknesses in governance contribute to forest loss and degradation. Poor governance underpins the loosely regulated logging and mining, and the rapid expansion of oil palm and paper pulp plantations that are damaging Indonesia’s environment, as well as uncontrolled forest fires and illegal encroachments by agriculture.

Indonesia’s 22 million ha of peatlands are particularly at risk. Over the coming decades, almost all of Sumatra and Kalimantan’s peatland carbon could be released. This represents about 40 billion tonnes, or half the entire carbon stored in the Amazonian rainforest.

Improving the governance and management of forests and peatlands will contribute significantly towards mitigating global climate change, reducing the incidence of land conflict, increasing state revenues, and generating sustainable prosperity for millions of people in Indonesia.