August 27, 2014
Jakarta, Ekuatorial – South Barito of Central Kalimantan has been appointed as the first pilot project for forest recognition project by third party aimed to manage the province’s overlapping permit issuance, said a member of government’s office, in Jakarta, last month.
The Third Party Recognition and Verification Program, locally shorten as PPH, is conducted by the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) in cooperation with Ministry of Forestry, National Land Agency, and Geospatial Information Agency.
The program selected Central Kalimantan province after the socialization team had met villagers of Talio and Teluk Betung in February 2014 who reported their customary forests status which was overlapped with permits given to companies by local government.
Giorgio Budi, a member of the socialization team of UKP4, said that the team started out to introduce the program to villages through preparation, socialization, mapping, and claim procedures. “We also cooperating with AMAN [Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago] in the mapping process so there will be no loopholes for others to claim it as customary lands,” said Budi adding that the map will refer to 1:50,000 scale.
Furthermore, he said that the PPH mechanism will ensure consistency, transparency, and participation from public. In order to maintain transparency, he said that small teams, comprised of 30 people of which five were coming from civil societies concerned with forest issues, will be formed to tackle with boundaries issues.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Said, Director of Forest Areas Stipulation, Management, and Tenure at the Ministry of Forestry, said that his office had the authority to declare forest areas under the agrarian law in relation to claims made by local people.
“The law has already ordered strict ways to deal with land ownerships,” he said adding that customary lands proofs did not have to be written. “It can come from people or elderly testimonies of the areas. It can be solid proof.”
He said that they have implemented PPH in Bintan district, in Riau, as there were not much claims from indigenous people.
Myrna Safitri, Executive Director of Epistema Institute, said that PPH was not just about the maps. “There is an element of justice for people [being involved],” said Safitri. “It is also about how social development has been implemented by people living near the forest areas.”
She underlined the importance of media and civil society to monitor the program to prevent on stowaways. Ekuatorial Team.