Community Rights and REDD+ in Indonesia: Moving from Recognition to Implementation

Indonesia has a suite of policies and laws concerned with natural resource management, sustainability, and climate change.


Samdhana Institute

Implementation, however, has been weak, as demonstrated by the persistently high deforestation rate and prevalence of conflicts between communities and other interests.

A reason for persistent challenges to more sustainable natural resource management is the limited participation of indigenous and local communities who manage forest resources. Improving implementation requires working directly with these communities. 


The key indirect driver of deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia is weak governance of forest resources. Weak governance includes failure to recognise clear rights over forest resources sufficiently, the state’s challenge to protect rights holders, and failure to sufficiently combine technical knowledge on sustainable management of forests and economic development in ways that would empower communities to sustainably use forest resources.

The central problem that Samdhana and its partners seek to address through this program is, therefore, that recognition of local rights is necessary but not sufficient for sustainable forest management and reduced emissions. Questions of governance and community capacity need to be addressed to ensure that the outcome of this process is, in the long-term, positive for livelihoods and emissions reductions.


Norad intends to offer NOK 14 million in total for the period 2016-2020.

The project will help secure the indigenous peoples and local communities’ rights through building capacity and working with a range of relevant actors.

Samdhana Institute will work Indigenous and village leaders, including women and youth leaders who make decisions about land use at the village level. Samdhana Institute plans to back civil society organisations that support communities.

Plantation and forestry companies that hold (or plan to hold) licenses to land that is claimed by Indigenous and village communities are target groups for this project, and so are District Governments (and to some extent provincial Governments) which have the authority to recognise indigenous rights.

Finally, Samdhana Institute will also work with the Central Government Ministries charged with implementing the new Government’s commitment to reform and which have partnered with NGOs to pilot programs.

At the community level, the need to clarify and defend rights is strongly felt. This project is therefore designed to address these concerns by working in a flexible, multi-jurisdictional approach in which local community groups get direct assistance as needed by civil society organisations with specialist expertise.

The project will help demonstrating that in a variety of situations and locations communities can successfully plan and manage their resources, and thereby contribute to sustainable livelihoods.

Expected results

There will be three outcomes that expected as results of this 5 years project, they are

  1. Communities in at least eight high-potential districts in Indonesia have legal certainty over their rights to natural forests
  2. Household livelihoods in communities in at least eight high-potential districts in Indonesia are enhanced as a result of improved management of their indigenous forests
  3. The institutional and policy framework in Indonesia recognises and protects community rights while incentivising sustainable community-based forest management.

Samdhana Institutes will collaborate with the main strategic partners such as JKPP, BRWA, Epistema, AMAN, Life Mosaic and other national CSOs as advisory groups.

At district and site level, Samdhana will work closely with local partners (NGOs and CBOs) that facilitate capacity building community, as well as local governments to help them hold accountable.

About the project descriptions

The project descriptions give insight in the NICFI portfolio for civil society organisations supported by Norad. 

The descriptions presented are written by the project partners. Only minor edits have been undertaken by Norad. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

Published 09.06.2016
Last updated 13.06.2016