The EU REDD Facility and Sebijak Institute analysed Indonesia’s legal and policy framework on forest governance, with a focus on forest conversion and restoration. They assessed the extent to which policies and regulations help reduce deforestation, accelerate restoration, and empower indigenous peoples and local communities.
In many parts of the world, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have no legal recognition of their rights over the forest land they live on, despite the fact that when they do, they are better able to conserve it, bringing climate, biodiversity and development benefits.
At the EU REDD Facility, we have gathered experience in working closely with partners in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia to find innovative solutions to enhance local communities’ and smallholders’ legal security over their lands.
Securing land certificates in wooded areas of Côte d’Ivoire
Based on the experience of the REDD+ project in the Mé region of Côte d’Ivoire, the Facility is supporting the delivery of individual or collective land certificates. These certificates are an official recognition of the customary rights over land. The project covers 2500 hectares of wooded areas threatened by agricultural production and logging.
In support to the GIZ programme Forests4Future, these activities also enable:
Farmers, especially non-Ivorians, to secure access to land through the signing of lease contracts with land certificate holders.
The implementation, with private operators, of innovative rural reforestation or agroforestry models. These models can secure private investments in other people’s land and related benefits, such as timber production and carbon sequestration.
To significantly increase rural populations’ resilience by:
Enabling the full reintroduction of trees (and associated benefits) into farming systems when climate change impacts are increasing
Securing the activities of vulnerable groups (women and youth), especially those dedicated to harvesting of non-timber forest products
This approach met the interest of the World Bank, which is integrating the lessons learnt from this ongoing pilot into a new major project dedicated to the free delivery of land certificates in 16 regions of Côte d’Ivoire, with a focus on wooded areas and women’s access to these certificates. Given the affordable cost related to this operation (EUR 20 per hectare), this new approach could also be extended through public-private partnerships involving cocoa and timber stakeholders.
Analysing the legal basis for customary forestry in Indonesia
Over the past decade, decentralisation and reformation efforts in Indonesia have increased the role of communities in forest management, in which land tenure plays an important role. The Social Forestry policy aims to redistribute 12.7 million ha (around 10%) of state forest area to local communities through several mechanisms.
Recently, we analysed changes brought about by the issuance of the sweeping Job Creation Law and its impacts on indigenous or customary peoples’ rights. This analysis suggests that the Job Creation Law generally strengthens the status of social forestry and provides an affirmative policy for indigenous communities. Nonetheless, it has not simplified the procedures that customary communities must follow when applying for official recognition of their customary forests.
The Facility is also supporting the implementation of the Indonesian Government’s social forestry policy through support to a group of oil palm smallholders in South Sumatra currently applying for a social forestry permit. The policy provides groups of farmers with secure tenure permits to continue farming on state protection forest land, provided that they switch from oil palm monoculture to agroforestry within one plantation cycle, to restore the area. The Facility’s Land-use Planner tool will be used to support the smallholders in identifying their agroforestry options.
Local land tenure for global benefits
These are examples of how work on improved land tenure can have benefits that go far beyond those to the local communities and environment. You can read more about how tenure security helps address climate change, conserve biodiversity and advance sustainable development in our related blog post “Securing land rights: one stone, three birds”.
Alice leads the EU REDD Facility’s legal work on land allocation and forest conversion. She also provides technical support on the national climate plans of the Facility’s partner countries.
Before joining the Facility, Alice worked as an environmental lawyer in London. She then followed the international climate change negotiations for over ten years, and consulted for various international NGOs and the United Nations. Alice teaches climate change negotiations at ESADE University in Barcelona.
Satrio provides technical and analytical support for the Facility’s work on forest and land use governance in Southeast Asia. He is based in the European Forest Institute’s office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Satrio previously worked on forest and ocean issues at World Resources Institute Indonesia, where he managed projects and conducted research on forest and landscape restoration, social forestry, and sustainable ocean and coastal ecosystems. He has a background in climate science, environmental studies, and international relations.
https://euredd.efi.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/stakeholder-mapping-excercise-oil-palm-smallholders-Sumatra-Indonesia.jpg6281200Romuald Vaudryhttps://euredd.efi.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/EU-REDD-Facility-logo-tagline.svgRomuald Vaudry2022-11-30 11:46:482022-11-30 14:06:04Enhancing land security: lessons from Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia
These numbers are all the more sobering when the top climate scientists recognise that strengthening land tenure security is central to transition to a green economy. Similarly, biodiversity scientists have found that deforestation is lower on land managed by Indigenous Peoples. Securing land rights also increases sustainable productivity, securing livelihoods and fighting poverty. All in all, tenure security comes with significant climate, biodiversity and development benefits: three birds with one stone. However, when looking at the national climate plans of major forest countries, more could be done to foster the securing of land rights.
Why does land tenure security matter?
Land tenure insecurity is a key driver of deforestation and land degradation. In various African countries, farmers burn down forests as a means to secure more farmable land. Without land security, farmers and local communities have no incentive to protect valuable tree species that take years to mature into marketable timber resources.
Increase carbon sequestration – the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, thereby reducing climate change
In Ghana for example, cocoa farmers that hold a land certificate have an income per hectare that is on average 15.5% higher than those without. Being a legal landowner increases productivity by 21.9% on average, all other variables being equal. Knowing that poverty is a key deforestation driver, securing land rights, and thus farmers’ income, can play a significant role in fighting forest loss.
Furthermore, having documentary evidence of legal land ownership will enable operators in increasingly regulated markets to carry out their due diligence obligations. It will also enable smallholders and farmers to demonstrate legal compliance, thereby helping them access sustainable supply chains and international markets. This access typically means they will be able to sell their products at a higher price than on domestic markets, thereby increasing their income and rewarding their sustainable and legal practices.
The multiple benefits of secure land tenure are not only well known among the international community. An EFI-led project in the Republic of the Congo found that 100% of women and youth identify the need for legally securing their access to land as their number one priority. The strong link between land tenure and the fight against climate change calls for assessing whether national climate plans have given land tenure security the attention it deserves in their national climate plans.
Land tenure in climate plans
Ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015, countries were invited to submit their ‘intended’ post-2020 climate plans, known as their intended nationally determined contributions (NDCs). A brief by the Rights and Resources Initiative, “Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Tenure in the INDCS,” reviewed 130 or so intended NDCs. It found that only 21 countries, representing 13% of tropical and subtropical forest area, had made a clear commitment to implement Indigenous Peoples and local communities tenure security or community-based natural resource management.
In 2022, ahead of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference or COP26, Parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change were invited to review their NDCs. This provided them with an opportunity to address tenure security or strengthen their existing pledges. In a 2021 blog post, “Taking stock of national climate plans: what’s in it for forests?”, we reviewed 19 NDCs of forest-rich countries in 2021 and found that limited progress has been made:
Bilateral and multilateral climate financing mechanisms should ensure the USD 1.7 billion promised at COP 26 in Glasgow to recognise indigenous and local community land rights is disbursed and spent.
Countries should be encouraged to include specific and measurable tenure and natural resource rights goals for Indigenous Peoples and local communities in revising their NDCs in 2023 and/or in their implementation plans.
Parties should monitor the development and resulting climate benefits of community-based tenure systems and share their experiences and lessons learnt.
Romuald leads the Facility’s work on sustainable land-use policies in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. He also contributes to the Facility’s work on public-private partnerships promoting sustainable agricultural production, landscapes and supply chains in Central and West Africa.
Romuald was previously based in Africa, coordinating REDD+ projects for the French NGO Nitidæ. He has also served as a forest technician for the Regional Office for Private Woodland in Normandy, France. He has a background in forestry and integrated land-use planning.
https://euredd.efi.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/secure-land-tenure-cote-ivoire.jpg6281200Alice Bisiauxhttps://euredd.efi.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/EU-REDD-Facility-logo-tagline.svgAlice Bisiaux2022-11-30 10:58:572022-11-30 12:00:15Securing land rights: one stone, three birds
About the EU REDD Facility
The EU REDD Facility supports countries in improving land-use governance as part of their efforts to slow, halt and reverse deforestation. It also supports the overall EU effort to reduce its contribution to deforestation in developing countries. The Facility focuses on countries that are engaged in REDD+, an international mechanism that incentivises developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their forest and land-use sectors. The Facility is hosted by the European Forest Institute and was established in 2010.
This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union and the Governments Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. The contents of this site are the sole responsibility of the European Forest Institute’s EU REDD Facility and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of funding organisations.
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