Scaling up in Indonesia through word of mouth and peer-to-peer exchanges

n 2015, the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) set out to test an idea with support from the Tenure Facility. Capitalizing on a 2013 Constitutional Court ruling that customary forests were not part of state forests and should be returned to customary communities, AMAN decided to use district-level legislation to secure indigenous land rights in five districts.

AMAN began in Lebak Regency district in Java, a conflict hotspot where Indigenous Peoples’ land rights were threatened by industrial mining and a national park. With strong local parliamentary leadership from an AMAN member, and support from civil society organizations, the district developed and adopted legislation recognizing five indigenous territories covering 66,300 hectares of land.

Based on this success, Lebak invited members of parliament from other districts to visit and learn from their experience, and inspired a movement that is spreading across the country. AMAN was able to meet the rapidly growing demand for support with flexible funding from the Tenure Facility. By the close of the project in October 2017, AMAN had assisted 32 districts in drafting regulations.

The results were remarkable. In just 29 months, AMAN advanced community tenure security over 1.5 million hectares of land using local legislation. This breakthrough equips indigenous communities with tools and networks to combat the displacement, intimidation, criminalization, and violence they experience when their territories are appropriated for industrial or conservation uses.

To learn more about the struggle to protect the land and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Indonesia, visit the Indonesia timeline.