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Report launch | Forest politics in Indonesia: Drivers of deforestation and dispossession

02/03/2023 @ 09:30 - 11:30

You are invited to the launch of this report, which discusses the political dynamics shaping natural resource management in Indonesia. This event is a hybrid event. You can join online or attend in person.


This report discusses the political dynamics shaping natural resource management in Indonesia. Synthesizing a wide range of studies on the competitive struggle over control of land, timber and other natural resources in Indonesia’s forest zones, the report provides an accessible guide to the practices and incentives generated by Indonesia’s ‘forest politics’, and offers broad guidelines on how to design interventions that better engage with how the sector really operates. The report shows that informal clientelistic exchange relations between political, bureaucratic and economic actors – involving exchanges of favours of mutual benefit – are a pervasive feature of governance in Indonesia, and explains how they undermine natural resource and forest governance. The challenge of fostering sustainable development requires facing up to the fact that officials and other stakeholders face strong pressures to circumvent policies and engage in under-the-table deals that undermine implementation of laws and regulations. It requires grappling with the daunting task of working toward systemic reform.

With that objective in mind, this report employs insights from a range of recent studies to offers a guide to understand and address the actual, on-the-ground nature of natural resource management in Indonesia. Based on these findings the report proposes that efforts to strengthen natural resource governance need to engage more consciously and actively with the informal, clientelistic dynamics that shape the outcomes of both governmental policies and donor initiatives. The clientelistic politics and associated collusive relations between the worlds of business and of politics that drive deforestation and dispossession should not be treated as a mere part of the background that can be ignored or wished away. To that end this report calls for an ‘informality-sensitive approach’ to natural resource management, involving attention for on-the-ground incentive structures, improvements to monitoring, and a strengthening of countervailing powers. In this way this report offers a starting point for designing efforts that might make progress toward better management of Indonesia’s natural resources.

Full report

Read the full report (English) and the policy brieflings (English & Bahasa Indonesia) here.

Panel speakers

-Ward Berenschot, Senior Researcher KITLV, Professor at University of Amsterdam
-Ed Aspinall, Professor of the Australian National University
-Laode M Syarif, Executive Director, Kemitraan – the Indonesian Partnership for Governance Reform; Former Deputy Head of the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission
-Suraya Afiff, Professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Indonesia
-Felix Hoogveld, Coordinating Policy Advisor on Climate and Forests, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
-Tom Blomley, Adviser in the Programme Management Support Team, which works with the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme of the UK Government
-Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor of the Forest Peoples Programme

Date & time

Thursday, 2 March 2023
-08.30 – 10.30 AM | London
-09:30 – 11:30 AM | Amsterdam
-15:30 – 17:30 PM | Jakarta


Doelenzaal, University Library | University of Amsterdam | Room C0.07
Singel 425, Amsterdam
-Online via Zoom


-To attend in person, please contact: [email protected].

-To join online via Zoom, please register here.


Find the flyer in PDF format here.


Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)
University of Amstedam (UvA)



09:30 - 11:30
Event Category:




Doelenzaal | University Library | Room C0.07 | University of Amsterdam
Singel 425
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