The fifth Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Taskforce takes place this week in Central Kalimantan. The organisers anticipated that more than 200 people would take part in the three day meetings. The GCF is a carbon trading REDD deal between 15 states and provinces from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and the USA covering more than 20% of the world’s forests.
On 16 September 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, and Teras Narang, Governor of Central Kalimantan province. The MoU outlines the cooperation between the federal and provincial governments to develop REDD programmes in Central Kalimantan province, which is a pilot province under the US$1 billion Indonesia-Norway REDD deal.
On the first day of the GCF meeting came the announcement of a US$6 million Governors Climate and Forests Fund, for states and provinces to set up REDD projects.
Kuntoro could not take part in the GCF meeting, because he was in New York for the UN General Assembly. However, he produced a video welcome speech. Here are some extracts:
“Any successful approach to REDD+ and low carbon development cannot succeed without state and provinces… By testing new approaches and serving as pilots for new initiatives GCF states and provinces are providing important opportunities for proof of concept on REDD+… What matters now is implementation, implementation and implementation… Economic growth can be achieved hand in hand with emission reductions. This is a kind of paradigm shift that we are trying to bring about in Indonesia.”
Predictably though, Kuntoro steers clear of the various controversial REDD projects that are already underway in Central Kalimantan. He could, for example, have talked about the problems that the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership is running into with the concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. He might have mentioned the Rimba Raya project, where the investor Todd Lemons of the company InfiniteEarth recently said, “The Rimba Raya case calls into question the true level of Indonesia’s commitment to REDD.” And if he had been feeling really adventurous he might have attempted to explain how a Malaysian palm oil company was documented clearing forest without the necessary permits in Central Kalimantan on the very day that the moratorium was announced in Jakarta.
UPDATE – 22 September 2011: On 20 September 2011, activists from the Peoples’ Alliance for Climate Justice demonstrated in Palangkaraya against REDD, hanging a banner with the slogan “Forest for People, not for sale”. In a speech, Chandra, the coordinator of the Peoples’ Alliance for Climate Justice said, “The REDD scheme is nothing more than an attempt to close access to forest communities to benefit from the forest.”
Another view of the GCF meeting comes from communities living in and near forests in Aceh, Papua, Central Sulawesi and Kalimantan provinces in Indonesia. In his speech, Kuntoro mentions the importance of safeguards and forest governance: “This includes building a strong map and data with integrity through public participatory process and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights.” The indigenous people and local communities who signed the statement below focus squarely on their rights. They list six demands to the officials present at the GCF meeting in Central Kalimantan:
We are representing communities within and in the vicinity of the forest and peat land being present here from Aceh, Papua, Central Sulawesi, and Kalimantan, herewith convey our demands on the implementation of low carbon development or other climate projects to Donors, Governors, Heads of the States, Regents, and other Officials present.
First, in regard to peoples’ participation, there should be a guarantee on peoples’ full involvement and representation in every process and stage, especially in the projects’ decision‐-making processes. Peoples should be guaranteed the same rights as other parties. To be able to consider every step of the process, people have the right to elect a trusted expert. And (every involved party) should respect peoples’ decision to approve or disapprove the project.
Second, with regards to information – from the planning and implementation until the project evaluation – rights and access to complete and comprehensive information should be conveyed with a language that we understand, without reducing the real meaning. For instance, information covering the project implementation plan, program, finance, and also the monitoring and evaluation report.
Third, regarding the status of the land or indigenous territory, we urge for acknowledgement and respect so that it will remain as our territory. The legal status of the forest areas that is to become a pilot project of any low carbon development scheme or program, should be clear, without impeding our rights, especially our rights to utilize the resources within the area.
Forth, with regards to land rights, we claim the right to posses, to manage, and to utilize the forest and resources within it, which we have inherited from our ancestors.
Fifth, in reference to conflict settlement, the project implementer should proactively facilitate conflict settlement among people and/or between people and other parties related to the project, including conflicts about borders, natural resources conflicts, and conflicts of authority. The effort to settle the conflict should not use coercive state apparatus, civilians (preman) or any other forms of violence. In fact, state apparatus, such as TNI and POLRI, is obliged to protect the people. Ultimately, the people have the full authority in appointing a representative for conflict settlement, voicing their demands, and also to choose a suitable mechanism. Therefore, there should be a neutral body that is agreed upon by parties in accommodating the people’s complaints or demands.
Sixth, related to the benefits of the project, every decision concerning the benefits for the people should be defined by the people themselves, shall it be about the mechanism or the types of benefit. Thus, any products from low carbon development or other climate projects should ensure the added value principle, and ought to be in line with the local wisdom.
Herewith we demand to have our rights acknowledged and respected, so that we can be the masters on our own land! (Kami jadi Tuan di tanah kami sendiri!)