Webinar Series "Managing the Remaining Forests" series# 11 Village SDGs and Strengthening Village Natural Resources Governance

Webinar Series "Managing the Remaining Forests" series# 11 Village SDGs and Strengthening Village Natural Resources Governance

Indonesia - 10 December, 2020

After the previous webinar was successful, the 11th webinar series "Managing the Remaining" was held again by Tropenbos Indonesia with the theme "Village SDGs and Strengthening Village Natural Resources Governance” on 5 December 2020. More than 300 participants participated in this webinar which presented resource experts Samsul Widodo, Director General of Development of Disadvantaged Regions (PDT), the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, Hunggul Yudhono, Researcher of BP2 LHK Makassar, and Director of Tropenbos Indonesia, Edi Purwanto.

For the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, mainstreaming SDGs, which is a measure of global development, is currently also the focus at village level. The SDGs are expected to be a measure of the achievements of village development. Then how can the SDGs improve the management of village natural resources, which has a very big impact on forest and land sustainability? Or, how can the various weaknesses that occur in village natural resource management be overcome by mainstreaming the SDGs at the village level?

From the number of villages in Indonesia, which currently reaches almost 75,000, according to Edi Purwanto, more than 30% are forest villages. Unfortunately, according to him, no less than 10 weaknesses still occur in the management of village natural resources to achieve the village SDGs. One of them, for example, is village planning that has not yet cover all village administrative areas. In Laman Satong, for example, about 70% of the village area consists of oil palm plantations, so the village management area is very limited. This also happens in many other villages where village management land is limited due to being concessionaires of oil palm, mining, or industrial timber plantations. After becoming company concessions, many villages that usually use wood and non-timber forest products have lost their source of raw materials.

To overcome these weaknesses, Edi proposed several things, such as the implementation of the Village Law which needs to be accompanied by strengthening the support of various related parties, strengthening the issue of conservation in national development politics, strengthening the facilitation of improving village government performance in improving natural resource governance, and strengthening the indigenous people institutions and strategic groups to perform public control function. In addition, the management of village natural resources also requires strengthening, including by increasing the quality and binding of village regulation products, especially those related to village development planning, strengthening village partnerships with village business institutions to build environmentally friendly businesses, and strengthening village access to natural resources.

In his presentation, Samsul Widodo showed a table where the use of village funds for 2015-2019 distributed by the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration was focused on two things. First, to facilitate community economic activities such as infrastructure development including village roads (23,709 km), bridges (1,327,069 m), and irrigation (65,626 units). Second, improving the quality of life of rural communities through the construction of sports facilities (25,022 units), clean water facilities (993,764 units), drainage channels (36,184,121 m), and construction of wells (58,259 units). These are accumulative achievements so that they cannot be a comparison of successes between villages. The success of village development, although real, is difficult to measure.

That is why the 2021 village fund management priority approach according to Permendesa No.13/2020 has changed with the focus on SDGs. "There are 17 criteria for the global and national SDGs, and the village SDGs will be added with one more criteria, i.e. dynamic village institutions and adaptive village culture. This is to accommodate diversity, community religiosity, mutual cooperation, etc.," said Samsul. Based on these criteria, each village can choose the focus of their respective SDGs criteria such as “villages without poverty”, “villages without hunger”, or SDGs related to environmental issues such as “villages that are responsive to climate change” or “villages that care for the marine environment”, depending on the situation of each village. Thus, the performance of village assistants, sub-district heads, regents, or governors can be compared from one region to another. "This is in accordance with the President's mandate so that village funds can reach people who are the poorest or most marginalized," explained Samsul. With an approach like this the community will get better ‘service’ from the government.

After managing village funds using the SDGs approach, the next step, according to Samsul, is to convince stakeholders including government, private, NGO partners, and others to also use the SDGs as the same basis when carrying out development connected to village development. Samsul said, currently the village SDGs action contributed around 74% to the achievement of the national SDGs, and village funds to support natural resource management in villages that cared about the marine environment have been used for mangrove planting, coral reef rehabilitation, or provision and socialization of the use of environmentally friendly fishing gear. The use of village funds in villages that care for the land environment is for reforestation and rehabilitation of forests/peatlands, training and socialization of land clearing without burning, as well as restoration of damaged land through the creation of a village forest that is managed sustainably.

Meanwhile, Hunggul Yudhono explained on village-based micro watershed management in supporting the achievement of village SDGs. Starting from forestry challenges such as stopping the rate of forest and ecosystem damage, and making efforts to restore damaged ecosystems while developing natural resources to increase the prosperity of the people. "Because even though the forest and the environment are good, if the prosperity of the people is not guaranteed then there is inequality, and vice versa, even though the people are prosperous, if the forest is damaged, the environment is damaged, then their prosperity will also unsustainable," he said.

With micro watershed management based on environmental, socio-economic and institutional aspects, large watershed problems in the downstream will be resolved if the upstream micro watershed problems can be resolved. It is where the 4 important pillars play a major role, namely the community as the owner of the agenda, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry as the area manager and development research, NGOs that accompany and strengthen the institutions and stay with the community day by day to provide assistance, and the local government that provides policy support and follow-up development such as the Social Agency, the Industrial Agency, the Cooperatives and SME Agency, and various other institutions that collaborate with the four pillars.

So far, Hunggul admitted, the four approaches taken in building a micro watershed directly adjacent to forest areas are the involvement of multi-stakeholders in all stages, from planning to operations to maintenance and utilization. In addition, there should be technology application suitable for local resources so that the leap is not too high and the community can understand, maintain and manage properly. Furthermore, the transfer of knowledge and development of small-scale industries in technical and institutional matters should be carried out as well as capacity building of both individual and institutions.

"While managing village natural resources, the community must know what the results are for," Hunggul reminded. Spring and river, for example, are important for agricultural irrigation and to produce electricity. People need to realize that electricity exists because of water; water is available because the forest is preserved; their welfare is maintained because of the good forest. "But forests are not enough, there needs to be good economic activity, so that people no longer need to enter the forest and carry out destructive activities," he said.

The presentations available for download HERE

Watch the recording of webinar: