The Jakarta Post
Local leaders attending the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) Forum in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, have agreed to protect the rights of indigenous communities.
“Indigenous people are the rightful owners of natural resources,” West Papua deputy governor Mohamad Lakotani said in a press conference on Wednesday evening.
East Kalimantan governor Awang Faroek Ishak and Victor Noriega Reategui, the governor of San Martin, Peru, shared similar commitments.
“We aim to ease their access to technology and capital,” said Awang.
Acknowledging the rights of indigenous people and providing them with easier access to technology and capital are part of the agreements stipulated in the Balikpapan Statement, which will be signed on Thursday.
The GCF is a forum of governors of provinces or states that was initiated by then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. The members of the forum are governors from 38 provinces and 10 states. Three new GCF members are Roraima (Brazil), Oaxaca (Mexico) and Pastaza (Equador).
Governors from seven Indonesian provinces are members of the forum. They are Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, North Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua.
In 2014, the GCF made an agreement in Rio Branco, Brazil, which was later implemented in Indonesia, through a commitment to reduce the deforestation rate from 320,000 hectares per year to only 65,000 ha. The need to protect the rights of indigenous people has been stipulated in the agreement.
GCF Task Force head William Boyd said the challenge the forum was facing was how to translate the commitment and dialogues into action. (ebf)
Participants of the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) Forum in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, talk on the sidelines of their meeting on Sept. 27. (JP/N. Adri)