Strategies to foster and strengthen the implementation of a rights-based approach to conservation through the meaningful participation of local communities (men and women) in decision-making processes concerning area-based conservation, natural resource management, and climate change adaptation are critical for successful conservation and livelihood outcomes and an integral part of our approach. Equally important are clear communication channels for communities to voice queries, complaints, and grievances related to our work and allow us to appropriately respond to these, such as through clarification, benefit-sharing, and livelihood restoration mechanisms.
In Indonesia, the main barriers to ensuring meaningful community engagement in, and support for, conservation activities are a lack of recognition of land tenure, natural resource user rights, livelihood incentives, gender equality and equity, other socioeconomic benefits, and weak consultation in project design and implementation. These barriers are compounded by inadequate government regulations on community rights and understanding of the need to apply social safeguards in our Program’s sites, in addition to limited government willingness and/or ability to correctly adhere to these safeguards.
The cross-cutting Rights & Communities Program will ensure that our conservation actions safeguard the rights and well-being of local communities, as well as the health and security of our staff and partners. In our landscapes and seascapes, we are deploying a comprehensive social safeguards system with supporting instruments that are based on safeguard standards, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability, and that fully adhere to the principles of our ‘Conservation and Human Rights: A Framework for Action’, which defines our approach for fulfilling our commitment to continue respecting human rights. The Program consists of two main components. It will support our staff and partners to design and implement a full safeguards system in our landscapes and seascapes. This will include a monitoring, evaluation, and reporting system for the safeguard instruments, gender mainstreaming plan, grievance redress mechanism, and other social safeguard measures identified by an Environmental and Social Management Plan. We will train project staff and partners in social safeguards techniques, such as human rights, Free Prior and Informed Consent, gender awareness, and conflict resolution. We will use our leverage, through government partnerships, to introduce social safeguard instruments and thus strengthen national park activities and initiatives that sensitively engage rural communities for improved conservation and livelihood outcomes.
The Program will oversee the development and progression of a gender equity and social inclusion strategy. This will include a political economy analysis to understand, for example, the role of women in natural resource use and managing household finances and how this role can be enhanced through training and technical assistance, which will be piloted in several sites. We will identify and promote female champions both internally and externally. The Rights & Communities Program will document the lessons learned, share these internally and with donors and other partners, and use the findings to adapt our community engagement strategy and inform the ongoing development of safeguard instruments.