Field visit in Indonesia: Experience thriving nature in Borneo

Thriving nature is one of the three focus areas of our new strategy. If you want to understand what it means, have a look at these pictures taken during Nina Saalismaa’s field visit to Indonesia.

In the pursuit of our new strategy, which prioritises thriving nature among its three areas of work, recent field visits to Indonesia have shed light on remarkable initiatives led by our partner, Planet Indonesia. Senior Programme Manager, Nina Saalismaa, journeyed to the Island of Borneo to witness first-hand the progress of projects aimed at enhancing community-led interventions for the sustainable use and restoration of ecosystems, alongside the development of agricultural solutions bolstering climate resilience.

In the protected expanse of Gunung Nyiut nature reserve, nestled within Borneo’s lush landscapes, lies a vibrant tapestry of life cultivated by villagers from Laek and Dawar. Here, amidst verdant fields, an impressive array of crops flourishes – from staples like rice and peanuts to exotic spices such as ginger and black pepper, alongside livestock breeding ventures. Employing a diverse toolkit of agricultural techniques, including agroforestry, intercropping, and organic farming, these communities epitomize the essence of sustainable land management.

Ecosystems, as natural bulwarks against extreme weather, play a pivotal role in safeguarding vital infrastructure and preserving life itself. Recognizing this, ecosystem-based adaptations (EbA) emerge as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to fortify climate resilience. Central to this strategy is the active involvement of local communities as stewards and custodians of natural resources, a principle upheld through partnerships like ours.

Nina’s journey traversed three of the 69 villages supported by Planet Indonesia, unveiling a tapestry of community-led governance initiatives in West Kalimantan. At the heart of these endeavours are Governance Bodies, democratic structures empowered by villagers to deliberate on matters ranging from healthcare accessibility to education and prudent natural resource management. Discussions orbit around the tenets of climate-smart agriculture and fishery monitoring, embodying a holistic approach to sustainable development.

The trajectory of progress is bolstered by the sustained support of organizations like the Trafigura Foundation, whose commitment to alleviating rural poverty intertwines seamlessly with the ethos of community-led conservation. Over the past three years, their financial backing has catalysed initiatives aimed at fostering fair and sustainable livelihoods among indigenous communities. By nurturing the conditions conducive to effective community-led conservation efforts, we tackle the interconnected challenges of climate change, rural poverty, and biodiversity loss head-on.

Embedded within our partnership with Planet Indonesia are multifaceted objectives that mirror the pillars of our overarching strategy:

  • Empowering Communities: By securing rights and tenure over natural resources, and imparting training on sustainable agricultural and fishing practices, we equip communities with the tools to chart their own developmental course.

  • Enhancing Livelihoods: Socio-environmental services are leveraged to bolster regenerative livelihoods and foster holistic well-being among community members.

  • Building Governance: Local institutions are nurtured to evolve into robust governance bodies capable of steering social-ecological systems towards resilience and sustainability.

  • Facilitating Management: Technical expertise and incentives are deployed to empower communities in the management and stewardship of their natural heritage.

As we weave together the threads of empowerment, sustainability, and resilience, the story of Borneo’s communities emerges as a testament to the transformative potential inherent in community-led conservation efforts. Through collective action and unwavering commitment, we embark on a journey towards a future where thriving nature is not merely an aspiration but a tangible reality for generations to come.