Indonesia Leaders and Opponents

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Government Official
Siti Nurbaya Bakar
Minister of the Environment and Forestry (MoEF)

Deep reforms in the Forestry Ministry have been underway since President Widodo’s merger of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Forestry. These reforms have been led by the new and first Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar who is a reform-minded bureaucrat with experience in other planning agencies. The Forestry Ministry of the previous administration was adversarial to indigenous rights; they objected to customary land claims as they would diminish the land that the Forestry Ministry controls. The new MoEF supports, for instance, the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling that separated customary land from State Forest Areas. The MoEF’s approval of the ruling demonstrates the success of Widodo’s and Bakar’s reforms; the ruling diminishes the land area that the MoEF controls. The Environment and Forestry’s willingness to give up some of their power shows how the ministry has refocused on promoting national interests rather than their own power.
Since Siti’s appointment to Minister of the Environment and Forestry, there have been major reforms and many new initiatives. As it was agreed between the MoEF and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources before the COP-22 meeting in Marrakesh, the MoEF will account for 17.23% of the 29% of Indonesia’s reduction emission reduction commitment, and 23.13% of the 41% commitment. Meanwhile, the energy sector would respectively account for 11% and 14% of those figures. Siti Nurbaya Bakar is a promising leader for the newly merged Ministry of Environment and Forestry as it takes on this substantial contribution to Indonesia’s NDC.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry Website:

Climate Program Advocate
Abdon Nababan
Secretary General of AMAN

The Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara) is a non-government organization that represents many of Indonesia’s indigenous peoples. AMAN is calling on the government to grant rights to Indonesia’s indigenous people who number up to 70 million. Among the rights that AMAN is working to ensure is the legitimization of customary land claims. Legitimizing land use claims of indigenous people would protect the land from large scale forest and peatland destruction by agroforestry industry and smallholders—landowners ranging from the tiny to the medium-sized—and also ensure greater compliance to moratoriums on land clearing; indigenous peoples empowered to control their land would also at the same time be protecting carbon sinks.

A necessary tool to ensure compliance with moratoriums and to prevent further deforestation and peatland destruction is the establishment of a single map of land rights, which does not currently exist in Indonesia. Currently, there is significant overlap between the maps of government agencies, different levels of government, private entities, and citizens. A single map would eliminate conflicts over land use and allow authorities and communities to enforce measures that protect forests and peatlands. AMAN filed a judicial review to the Constitutional Court, arguing that customary forests could not be turned into state controlled lands, especially when the government grants concessions to businesses that clear forests. This filing led to the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling on State Forest Areas and customary land rights. The ruling was that the state’s authority over customary forests was given to some degree back to the adat peoples (customary forests are free from the designation of “State Forest Areas”). However, despite this success of AMAN in this case, without a procedure to recognize claims, indigenous groups must now assert their interests and rights in the state mapping process and ensure sub-national enforcement of the ruling. This is why a single map of land rights that prioritizes customary land claims and carbon sink conservation is so important. AMAN helped establish the Participative Mapping Working Network (JKPP) to assert Indigenous land use claims in the developing One Map Policy that seeks to create a single, harmonized map of land uses. AMAN also pushes local governments to honor the 2013 ruling. As of 2016, JKPP and AMAN have documented 7 million hectares of land. AMAN is also pushing district governments to uphold the court ruling by preparing dossiers on indigenous customs and lifeways. It is a slow process; only five regulations, known as Perdas, have been passed since the Constitutional Court’s decision. The participatory mapping processes and the work with district governments to uphold the 2013 ruling will help expand and protect customary lands that will ultimately protect carbon sinks and therefore contribute to the success of Indonesia’s Paris Agreement pledge.

Abdon Nababan, secretary general of AMAN, recognizes the important role of Indigenous people in battling climate change. He has stated that “[t]he bill [PPHMHA] could also highlight the role of indigenous people in global climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.” AMAN’s secretary general is leading many promising efforts to protect indigenous rights and fight climate change. His and his organization’s work in the past has been impressive and impactful.


Climate Program Opponent
Palm Oil Producers

Despite President Widodo administration’s April 2016 moratorium on palm oil concessions, many palm oil companies continue to clear forests. The MoEF has rejected 850,000 hectares worth of outstanding palm oil plantation requests, cancelled 600,000 hectares of previous approved sites, and has further plans to enforce the moratorium and prevent conversion. Despite all of this good work, many palm oil producers continue to clear, undermining the government and local communities.

The IOI group traded in palm oil that was not sustainably sourced. Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd—a palm oil supplier—sold palm oil to the IOI group and other traders. Goodhope has illegally cleared forested peatland. IOI receives Goodhope’s palm oil through intermediary traders such as Wilmar International, Musim Mas, and Golden Agri Resources (GAR). Goodhope has failed to consult the public or release plans. It has deforested in its PT Nabire Baru concession in Kalimantan this year. These palm oil producers must not continue to clear forests and peatlands. These actions will harm the work laid out for the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry after the COP-22 meeting in Marrakesh and prevent Indonesia’s successful implementation of their Paris Agreement pledge.


Learn More
About the history of the Forestry Ministry before the merger:

On the merger of the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forestry and on Siti Nurbaya Baka’s reforms in “False Start” section:

More on AMAN’s work to push sub-national governments and the national government to enforce the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling with Perda regulations:

Abdon Bababan’s statements on PPMHA and mitgation efforts can be found here along with more on deforestation in Borneo:

Submitted by Indonesia Country Manager Tristan Grupp


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