Our Work How Jurisdictional Approaches to Sustainability

Jurisdictional Approaches to Sustainability

If we want to change nature and society for the better, we need to ask where we implement changes as well as how. Throughout history, people have tried to conserve the natural environment by establishing land and marine protected areas, creating regulations, community based approaches and more recently, landscape approaches. Others, in response to the social and environmental harm caused by the cultivation, harvesting and extraction of commodities, have sought to make supply chains more sustainable through consumer boycotts and certification initiatives. Although these initiatives have had impact, they alone are not enough. The complexity of commodity supply chains and the people who do and do not benefit from them, mean that approaches that involve governments, the private sector and communities in a specific location are needed. We refer to these approaches as jurisdictional approaches.

Jurisdictional approaches seek to facilitate a consensus among different people, governments and the private sector for sustainable rural development within a jurisdiction. Jurisdictions, or government administrative areas, are selected on the basis of whether they have the authority to address the challenges associated with sustainable rural development. For most places in Indonesia, district governments have the authority to address most challenges related to sustainable rural development, with support also needed from higher levels of government and ministries. In provinces such as Aceh, Papua and West Papua, the provincial governments have been granted special autonomy status, which means that the governments have greater powers and responsibilities than other Indonesian provinces. In these provinces, working with the provincial government, with the support of higher and lower levels of government, such as districts, may be the most effective approach.

As an archipelagic nation, all of Indonesia’s provinces must contend with the sustainable management of natural resources from the land and sea. Within each jurisdiction, society and government not only have to manage one commodity supply chain, but will often have multiple along with land and marine uses intended for local consumption and subsistence. Finding solutions for jurisdictional sustainability will have to address these competing uses of the land and water, the conservation of the natural environment and improving the wellbeing of the people who live and work there. To find these solutions, government, civil society, the private sector and communities must work together to make informed decisions about the economic development of the jurisdiction.

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