Local communities in Indonesia and Myanmar are reclaiming land rights and securing community access to forest management

The Samdhana Institute and its partners have assisted local and indigenous communities in Indonesia and Myanmar to reclaim and secure land tenure rights and forest licenses through community mapping and spatial planning, and have built local capacity to improve forest management.


The Samdhana Institute

The purpose of the project was to assist indigenous peoples, local communities, community based organizations and local NGO`s to participate effectively in REDD+ and climate change mitigation analysis, methodology development and implementation in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Why did Norway decide to support this project?

Through this project, The Samdhana Institute aimed to strengthen the opportunities for local people to play a decisive and economically productive role in the development and implementation of forest policies in Indonesia and Myanmar, with a special emphasis on low emission rural development strategies.

The Samdhana Institute reported low compensation for local communities for losing land to pulpwood and oil palm plantations. The organization further reported that this situation led to increasing marginalization of local communities in their own environment, poverty and conflict between local villages, large-scale plantation holders and government security forces.

This project aimed to address the underlying causes of poverty and conflict by expanding opportunities for and capabilities of local people to become active and central players in low emissions rural development.

Due to Samdhana Institute’s competence in working with civil society in Indonesia and Myanmar and in REDD+ processes, Norway decided to support this project. The project focused on achieving the following outcomes:

Outcome 1.

Civil Society and local communities engage effectively with government agencies to ensure that land use change planning and large scale plantation licensing avoid or reduce carbon emissions through approaches that are acceptable to local communities.

Outcome 2.

Civil Society and local communities engage effectively with forestry and plantation license holders to ensure that private sector efforts to reduce carbon emissions include agreements with affected communities on the use of community lands.

Outcome 3.

Communities secure rights over and manage their landscapes to avoid or reduce carbon emissions. Please find The Samdhana Institute`s final results report to Norad on these outcomes in the PDF file <here/in the box to the right>.


The project has delivered some satisfactory results regarding outcome 1. Communities across the districts in Indonesia are claiming their land tenure rights through information produced by participatory mapping. This has led some local governments to recognize community`s sustainable land use plans and forest licenses. In Myanmar, it is positive that a number of forestry unit groups applied for, or have received, community forestry certificates for their villages.

The achievement of outcome 2 has been partially satisfactory. While the project has furthered some collaborative networks between civil society organizations and private companies, the engagement with the private sector to enter into agreements on the use of community land, as set out in the project document, was less successful.

Regarding outcome 3, results examples show that this outcome had significant effects in some targeted landscapes. Norad finds it positive that The Samdhana Institute supported a youth social movement in the creation of an Eco-Village in the regions of the SUKMA islands in Indonesia.

In the final report, the organization indicates a series of lesson learned in Indonesia to take into account for future activities and which would be useful for other civil society organizations working with community mapping.


The result descriptions are based on the information provided by the organisations. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad. Norad has not verified all results reported.

Published 22.10.2013
Last updated 20.06.2018