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Highlighting the Role of Provinces in Recognizing Indigenous People’s Rights

Recognizing indigenous people’s rights is a significant part of the effort to address climate change. As a global sub-national alliance from 35 states and provinces, the GCF acknowledges the importance of indigenous people as an inseparable agenda within the GCF’s response to the global issue of climate change. The GCF recognizes the importance of the knowledge of indigenous communities in managing forest ecosystems, and also the crucial role that indigenous communities have in protecting tropical forests globally. Thus, the GCF held a meeting with The National Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance in Indonesia (AMAN) on July 18th, 2017, at Pullman Hotel, Jakarta, as part of the High-Level Meeting agenda. 

In preparation for the GCF Annual Meeting, which will be held from 25 to 29 September 2017 in Balikpapan, GCF members are including indigenous people through a participative process and substantive, appropriate programs. Thus, in the Balikpapan Statement, protecting the rights of indigenous people while improving their welfare is one of the three main pillars.

East Kalimantan Governor Awang Farouk, currently the chair of the GCF Taskforce, admitted that indigenous communities are important actors in the efforts for protecting forests. “We are trying to find the best framework that can recognize and integrate indigenous rights in the GCF platform, according to principles that are accepted by representatives from indigenous communities across the world as well as provincial and state governments, “ said Farouk. According to the East Kalimantan Governor, the framework should be translated into clear indicators that can be measured and merged into government plans.

The National Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance in Indonesia (AMAN) Secretary-General Rukka Sombolinggi welcomed the plan to strengthen the protection and recognition of indigenous peoples’ role in managing forests through the GCF platform. “GCF is returning the concept of autonomy to the sub-national level. We want stronger autonomy for local governments, which will in turn strengthen autonomy at the community level. Only by strengthening the autonomy of local governments will the autonomy of communities be strengthened”, said Rukka. Autonomy at the provincial level, Rukka continued, is hoped to result in more effective partnerships with indigenous people, which will enable the sustainable management of natural resources and fair distribution of the benefits derived from forests.

As the Indonesian Secretariat of the GCF, INOBU supports East Kalimantan and AMAN’s position, and adds that the platform should be developed based on the recommendations of indigenous peoples. INOBU Executive Director, Dr. Silvia Irawan stated that the GCF Secretariat has facilitated meetings between indigenous communities and GCF members before, and will continue to after, the Balikpapan Statement. Dr. Irawan hopes that this process will be strengthened in the future so that the substantive issues discussed can be achieved.


East Kalimantan Government

Daddy Ruhiyat



Rukka Sombolinggi


GCF Indonesian Secretariat

Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU)

Seruni Soewondo


#BalikpapanStatement #inobu

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