On 5 December 2012 the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) received a request from REDD-Monitor for information about the land conflict in the Harapan Rainforest in Indonesia. The online platform, which deals with issues surrounding the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), was referring in this instance to a project in the region supported by the International Climate Initiative (ICI). The ICI project concerned is involved, on the basis of new Indonesian legislation on ecosystem restoration, in preserving the Harapan Rainforest, an area covering around 100,000 hectares on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The local people are involved in this project and are benefiting from it.
There have recently been critical reports of alleged expulsion of local inhabitants from the Harapan Rainforest. However, according to the information available to BMU, this land conflict in fact arises through settlers who claim to be supporting the rights of smallholders in order to continue with illegal logging and land-grabbing in the conservation area. The conflict stems from the different interests: on one side, of groups wanting to use the forest area for purposes such as oil palm cultivation and settlement expansion, and on the other, of the local inhabitants who support the conservation of the ecosystem.
REDD-Monitor wanted to know how the project was dealing with this conflict. BMU has provided a comprehensive response to the questions jointly with KfW, the implementing organisation for the project, and the ICI Programme Office. This sets out in detail the participation and mediation process between the stakeholder groups in the rainforest, which is steered by the Indonesian government and supported by the project. Furthermore, the project constantly emphasises to its local partners the need to avoid the use of force and to respect human rights.
BMU is committed to the greatest possible transparency in the promotion of projects. That is why it makes information on the ICI projects available on the Initiative's website and is in close communication with the local German Embassies.