Indonesia is set to share its knowledge and experience in agrarian reform with other countries and related organizations in the upcoming 2018 Global Land Forum (GLF) to be held next month in Bandung, West Java.
The eighth multinational event is being held by the International Land Coalition (ILC), a global consortium of civil society groups and farmers organizations, United Nations agencies, NGOs and research institutes from Sept. 22 to 27.
Indonesia was selected by the ILC as the first ASEAN host country for the event, which was first held in Rome in 2003, based on the significant progress of land reform under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, deputy to the presidential chief of staff Yanuar Nugroho said.
“Indonesia has made progress in the social movements that fight for people’s right to land and political willingness from the government to encourage land acknowledgment through land-reform policies and conflict settlement,” he said during the launch of the event on Friday.
The GLF is the world’s largest convention to discuss agrarian reform and covers everything from land rights and indigenous groups to women’s empowerment and environmental protection. The forum also discusses challenges when land reform efforts collide with industrial and economic development.
Organizers expect at least 900 participants from 77 countries representing academics, civil society groups, government and intergovernmental organizations to take part in this year’s event under the theme “United for Land Rights, Peace and Justice”.
Since taking office in 2014, President Jokowi has placed his flagship agrarian reform policy among his top priority programs. In the policy, Jokowi has widened access for locals, especially indigenous groups, to manage their own land. The president has also increased the issuance of land certificates in a bid to boost locals’ incomes and to settle land conflicts.
The Jokowi administration’s Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) has also set a target of redistributing 9 million hectares of land for farmers under the agrarian reform. His policies also include the social forest program which will provide greater control by indigenous communities over 12.7 million hectares of land.
The government representatives expressed hope that the forum would open a conversation between civic groups and government organizations, both local and international, about effective implementation.
“We hope that it will help us understand each other and to work upon a common solution,” Yanuar added.
Social Forestry and Environment Partnership director general Bambang Supriyanto said his ministry had distributed 1.75 million ha of social forestry to rural communities as of July. Social forests are state-owned swathes of land leased to communities for collective utilization.
However, Rukka Sombolinggi, secretary-general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) questioned the government’s commitment to agrarian reform.
She pointed out that the government still lagged behind its target, citing that only 1 percent, 19,000 ha, of the 1.75 million ha of distributed forest land had been returned to indigenous communities, while the rest went for social forestry.
“We want the government to speed up its work so we’ll have something to be proud of for the GLF,” she told the Jakarta Post.
Dewi Kartika, secretary-general of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA), also lambasted the government for failing to address agrarian conflicts. The KPA recorded a rise in land conflicts to 659 conflict cases in 2017 from 450 in 2016.
However, she remained positive about the GLF, noting that Bandung was chosen in commemoration of the 1955 Bandung Conference where 29 newly independent countries convened to strategize on mutual goals.