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More than 111 million Indonesians live in rural areas, comprising nearly half of the total population. To improve their lives and livelihood, these communities face significant challenges. They need to have a voice in the decision-making processes that impact them and often lack basic services and protection from their local governments. Many local communities have unclear statutory rights. For those living on forestlands, the Ministry of Forestry has not yet delineated their territory. As these are often the areas where new oil palm and forest plantation permits are granted, conflicts occur between local communities and companies over land and access to natural resources.

WRI is working with local NGOs and civil society groups to empower communities by:

  • helping them understand how the new Freedom of Information Act, passed in 2009, allows them to access to information about the environmental impacts of a company’s activities and to flag issues with government, media, and other oversight actors who can help change the situation.
  • helping them map their community land boundaries as part of the work to shift company activities to areas without forests and to respect local community needs and rights.
  • helping them understand forestland decision making processes and to speak up for their rights.
  • developing systems to strengthen their abilities to protect their rights when the land on which they live on is being claimed for other activities, such as oil palm, mining, or REDD+.

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