The Negotiated Approach in Indonesia: cooperating with communities in river basins

A protected nature reserve, better waste processing, restricted mining and participation of local residents in water management: these are the results of eight years of working on a Negotiated Approach to integrated water management in five river basins in Indonesia.

Five rivers and multiple problems relating to the use and management of their water: reason enough for Both ENDS and a number of Indonesian partner organisations to set to work with a Negotiated Approach. The results included a protected nature reserve for fish in the Brantas, better waste processing along the Ciliwung, a rejected application for mining along the Bengkulu, and local resident participation in management of the water from the Lamasi and the Kampar.

From 2008 to 2015, Both ENDS, together with local partners, applied the Negotiated Approach to promote cooperation between local water users in the basins of the Bengkulu, Brantas, Ciliwung, Kampar and Lamasi rivers. The aim was to achieve fairer distribution and sustainable use of these Indonesian rivers.

Disputes arise between the users of the water resources in these river basins, partly because the knowledge of local communities is hardly used, if at all. By enabling all stakeholders to participate in the negotiations on an equal footing, new, fair and creative approaches can be found that contribute to society as a whole.

Cooperating with communities in river basins in Indonesia

Both ENDS works closely with local organisations, networks and activists to promote ecological and social justice. We believe that local organisations and communities should participate in policy processes and should be given an equal position in negotiations on the management of their own natural resources. That leads to fairer and more sustainable management, because they have crucial knowledge on, and a direct interest in, these natural resources, on which they are often dependent for their livelihoods.

We facilitate dialogue between stakeholders to discuss their shared responsibility for protecting natural resources and the risks of not providing that protection. Both ENDS combines local reality with scientific research, with the aim of finding alternatives embedded in the local situation.

Some of the results achieved:

Removing waste from the Ciliwung

In a number of small villages, the communities have been encouraged to regularly remove waste produced by households, hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities from the Ciliwung river. The local authorities are now open to proposals to support these communities by introducing an integrated waste processing system.

Habitat for fish in the Brantas

Ecoton has developed a Fish Sanctuary Area (FSA) in the Brantas river, with the aid of seven riverside companies, the local authorities of four surrounding villages and seven schools. The FSA not only helps to preserve the habitat of the fish and the ecological function of the river banks, but also serves as a unique educational environment for the local community.

Lamasi river committee

Both ENDS and Telapak helped the Luwu district chief to set up a river basin committee, the Komite Das Lamasi. The statutes of the committee explicitly allow for the participation of local communities in formal policy processes.

Creating solutions together for the Kampar

A joint problem analysis for the Kampar basin has encouraged the local authority, businesses and communities to come up with solutions for integrated river basin management for the Kampar. As a result, the authorities in this area are more open to cooperating with local communities to create solutions for their water and sanitation issues.

Action against mining along the Bengkulu

Our local partner Yayasan Ulayat Bengkulu is now a member of the Provincial Water Council (PWC), which enables them to represent the interests and needs of the community in policy documents and advisory reports issued by the PWC. One outcome of this is the rejection of a mining application by a local authority, which had asked the PWC for advice on the matter. In 2014, a memorandum of agreement was signed between the village of Rindu Hati and the FH University. The cooperation is focusing on creating a legal basis for requesting mining permits.

The IndoWater Community of Practice

At the end of 2014, to improve the implementation and promotion of the Negotiated Approach in Indonesia, especially in relation to local and national government, an informal Indonesia Water Community of Practice (IndoWater CoP) was set up in various river basins by our Indonesian partners. By working together, the members of the IndoWater CoP can learn from each other and develop joint strategies to better influence national water policy.



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