Declaration of the Third Indonesian Forestry Congress, October 2001

DOWN TO EARTH, October 2001

The Third Indonesian Forestry Congress took place in Jakarta from 25th-28th October 2001. The Congress, held every ten years, is a prestigious meeting involving the Indonesian forestry ministry, the forestry industry including logging companies and technical consultants, academics and a small number of civil society organisations.

In the past civil society organisations have only had a token presence. This year was different in that around 200 people living in and around logging concessions attended. Several representatives of forest NGOs and AMAN (Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago) presented papers.

The Congress declaration benefited from their input. This talks about recognition and restoration of Indigenous Peoples' rights, the need for a change in the forest management paradigm, and the need for a logging moratorium in natural forests while a new forest policy is devised.

The declaration was signed and presented at the end of the Congress. However, its status is now said to be a "draft" by the organisers.

(The declaration has been translated into English by DTE.)

The Declaration

Jakarta, 25-28 October 2001

By the grace of God we, the participants of the Third Indonesian Forestry Congress -stakeholders in Indonesia's forests - hereby state that:

  1. Various parties have not had the courage or honesty to admit the many shortcomings that exist in forest policies and practices to date.
  2. The result of these shortcomings is that our forests are now badly damaged. Forest degradation has reached worrying levels and is still continuing.
  3. There has been an uncontrollable increase in illegal logging operations due, in part, to collusion between local entrepreneurs/timber barons and law enforcement agencies.
  4. There is only very limited acknowledgement of indigenous peoples' rights and forest-dwelling communities are marginalized.
  5. No-one has accepted responsibility for forest destruction and transgressions committed by civil servants and the business community.
  6. The legislation on forests and forestry is contradictory, frequently changed and incomplete.
  7. The authority of central & local government and the community in implementing forest policy has not been clear since the introduction of regional autonomy.
  8. Corruption, collusion and nepotism are still rife in the forestry sector.
  9. There has not been sufficient involvement of educational institutions or public awareness initiatives on the importance of the environment or forestry and forest issues.
  10. There is very little involvement of forest-dwelling communities in the management of those forests.
  11. The (official) extent of the forest estate has not been determined.
  12. The use of and responsibility for the Reforestation Fund remains unclear.
  13. Capacity in the wood processing industry exceeds the productive capacity of forests to supply the raw materials and the industry is not competitive.
  14. Large-scale forest fires continue to occur regularly.
  15. Large tracts of logged-over forest, degraded due to poor forest management, are in need of rehabilitation and replanting.
  16. Nature conservation priorities are still secondary to the priorities of power politics.
  17. Natural forests are still regarded merely as a source of state revenues.
The Congress recommends that:

  1. The timber-based paradigm of forest management should be changed to a forest management system which supports livelihoods and increases the creativity of forest- dwelling communities.
  2. All parties should have a moral commitment and the political will to develop understanding about Indonesia's forests.
  3. A multi-stakeholder forum/council of people concerned with forests should be established and developed to function as a partner to the government in formulating policy and overseeing forest practices.
  4. The value of forest resources should be recalculated to provide input to long-term forest policy formulation so that greater benefit is obtained from them.
  5. Measures to tackle illegal logging must get to the roots of the problem.
  6. Responsibility should be taken for forest destruction and transgressions by civil servants and the business community.
  7. Understanding about forest functions should be promoted as soon as possible through the curriculum of educational institutions.
  8. Forest-dwelling communities should play an active role in forest management.
  9. Legislation on forestry and related sectors should be revised and re-orientated.
  10. The full force of the law should be used to eliminate corruption, collusion and nepotism in order to act as a deterrent.
  11. There should be full resolution of tenurial conflicts, including the establishment of a conflict resolution body from the local to national level, which consists of all stakeholders.
  12. Community-based forest management and joint forest management should be developed.
  13. The extent of the forest estate should be determined by participatory means so that it can be agreed by the relevant parties and given a firm legal basis.
  14. Indigenous peoples' rights should be recognized, protected and restored.
  15. Responsibility should be taken so that the Reforestation Fund and other reforestation budgets are (only) used for reforestation activities.
  16. The wood-processing industry should be re-structured.
  17. Systems of forest management and utilization should be restructured to be more diverse so they are appropriate to local conditions.
  18. The uses of non-timber forest products and environmental services should be promoted.
  19. There should be procedures for recycling and greater efficiency in the use of raw materials.
  20. There should be more effort to rehabilitate logged-over areas and establish tree-crop plantations.
  21. There should be strict delineation of responsibility between central & local governments and the community.
  22. There should be vertical and horizontal national reconciliation between stakeholders.
  23. Egalitarian, transparent public consultation mechanisms should be employed whenever forest policies are drawn up.
  24. There should be a moratorium of logging natural forests as part of the commitment to the incremental reform of forestry in Indonesia.
  25. The professionalism and competence of Indonesian foresters should be supported at local, national and international levels.
  26. The Forestry Congress should be held at regular intervals with a minimum of ten years and should be a forum for leading foresters to formulate general policies and technical forest administration.
  27. A working party representing all stakeholders should be set up to monitor the outcomes from this congress and prepare for the next one.
Jakarta, 27 October 2001

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