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Indonesian president signs order to accelerate land reform

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, shown here when he was governor of Jakarta in 2013. Image by Sigit Djatmiko/Flickr.

  • The signing was announced the on the first day of the Global Land Forum in Bandung.
  • A final copy of the order is not yet available, but a draft seen by Mongabay outlines the creation of a special task force on agrarian issues.
  • Elsewhere at the Global Land Forum, farmers called for an end to “criminalization” of rural peoples who find themselves in conflict with large companies.

BANDUNG, Indonesia — President Joko Widodo has signed a presidential instruction on agrarian reform, in a bid to accelerate a program to give local communities greater control over land.

The signing was announced on the opening day of the Global Land Forum in the city of Bandung on Sept. 24.

A final copy of the order has yet to be released, but a draft seen by Mongabay outlines the creation of a special task force to deal with agrarian issues, to be chaired by the coordinating economic minister, with representatives from other relevant ministries, and with branches at the central, provincial and district government levels.

The order is set to be validated by the Ministry of Law, presidential spokesperson Yanuar Nugroho told Mongabay.

Dewi Kartika, secretary general of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA), welcomed the signing of the order. “The final draft is quite adequate,” she said.

A stated aim of the policy is to reduce inequality in the control and ownership of land.

President Jokowi, as he is popularly known, has pledged to expand community control over 127,000 square kilometers (49,000 square miles) of land, an area the size of Greece, as part of his flagship land reform program.

The government is targeting to issue 7 million land certificates by the end of this year, and 9 million certificates by the end of next year, as laid out in the national medium-term development plan.

From left, Michael Taylor, director of the International Land Coalition, Dewi Kartika, secretary general of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform, Moeldoko, the Indonesian president’s chief of staff, Darmin Nasution, the coordinating economic minister, Ahmad Taufan Damanik, head of Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights, and Bandung mayor Oded M Danial. Image by Donny Iqbal/Mongabay.

Elsewhere at the Global Land Forum, farmers read a declaration calling for an end to “criminalization” of rural peoples who find themselves in conflict with large companies.

“In our opinion, criminalizing people is a systematic way to seize their land,” read the declaration.

Also in the first day of the forum, the KPA presented to the government a map of priority areas for land reform. The map includes 444 locations covering more than 654,000 hectares home to some 445,000 families. Sofyan Djalil, the minister of agrarian and spatial planning, said the map would be verified.

The Global Land Forum, attended by some 1,000 people from 84 countries, lasts throughout the week.

Banner: Indonesian President Joko Widodo, shown here when he was governor of Jakarta in 2013. Image by Sigit Djatmiko/Flickr.

The story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published on our Indonesian site on Sept. 12, 2018.

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