Aceh’s Leuser ecosystem is one of the most biodiverse locations on Earth, home to Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos, sun bears and many other species. It contains large areas of peatland, up to 8 meters deep. And the province has a forest cover of more than 3 million hectares that acts as a significant carbon sink. Aceh is increasingly becoming an important producer of oil palm, rubber, coffee, cocoa and other agricultural commodities.
This is critical in reviving economic development. Yet increased agricultural production goes hand-in-hand with deforestation and degradation of the Leuser ecosystem.
A green growth plan for Aceh Timur district was delivered, and plans for (integrating) green growth strategies in the policy frameworks of the province
and Aceh Tamiang district are made. Land legality issues in Leuser ecosystem were analyzed and concrete (policy) solutions proposed. These strategies and plans help to address land-use planning and sustainable development at government level. Three compact areas have been scoped and the first concepts for interventions have been discussed with stakeholders. In Aceh, we aim to conserve 34,000 hectares of HCV/HCS forest (with a further 200,000 hectares indirectly protected) and improve sustainable agricultural production on 40,000 hectares. We also aim to improve the livelihoods of 1,000 smallholder farmers and 500 community members that are directly reached by training and service delivery.
Changes in business practicesPrivate-sector (sustainability) investments in the program: Target 2020 2,000,000Target 2017 5,000,000Result 0Business cases developed (pilots started): 3IDH has convened major palm oil buyers in Aceh with sustainability commitments (GAR, Musim Mas, Wilmar, Apical) to discuss environmental sustainability of the Leuser Ecosystem. Where relevant, we coordinate with TFT and the Rainforest Action Network. IDH connected the buyers to the provincial and district governments and local plantation companies. IDH managed to generate interest among local oil palm plantation companies (Musim Mas and Pati Sari) to become part of PPI compacts in Tenggulun (Aceh Tamiang) and Peunaron (Aceh Timur). IDH’s role is unique: no other organization has been able to make concrete agreements with local plantation companies. IDH has convened major palm oil buyers in Aceh with sustainability commitments (GAR, Musim Mas, Wilmar, Apical) to discuss environmental sustainability of the Leuser Ecosystem. Where relevant, we coordinate with TFT and the Rainforest Action Network. IDH connected the buyers to the provincial and district governments and local plantation companies. IDH managed to generate interest among local oil palm plantation companies (Musim Mas and Pati Sari) to become part of PPI compacts in Tenggulun (Aceh Tamiang) and Peunaron (Aceh Timur). IDH’s role is unique: no other organization has been able to make concrete agreements with local plantation companies. Following a workshop we held with the Aceh Timur government to gather input on our approach, we are now working towards concrete buyer-plantation partnerships in field-level projects, with the aim to create a Verified Sourcing Area (VSA) in Aceh Timur. Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo and other companies have expressed interest in supporting our VSA concept in Aceh. The size of these companies means that there will be sufficient offtake of the palm generated from the program – a key incentive to the producers and government. IDH helped build the Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods – a group of traders, manufacturers and others, aimed at transforming supply chains in North Sumatra and Aceh that supply to Belawan (Medan) palm oil refineries. This coalition allows us to scale up and replicate our model, and should provide an exit strategy in the long term.
Changes in landscape governanceLandscape plans developed and operationalized: Target 2020 3Target 2017 2Result 0Number of effective Verified Sourcing Areas developed (not defined). Result: In development 0Number of Green Growth Plans developed: Target 2020 4Target 2017 1Result 1In 2017, IDH supported provincial and district governments with developing a provincial green growth plan as the mandatory component of the new medium-term development plan for Aceh Timur, combining forest protection in the Leuser ecosystem with opportunities for sustainable commodity development for smallholders and rural and forest communities. This is the first time that forest protection and commodity-based economic development are addressed in one plan in Aceh. IDH organized technical expertise from the Universitas Indonesia to collect and analyze data, held multi-stakeholder discussions, and presented a plan and an implementation roadmap. The final plan will be integrated into government planning and is already taking effect. For example, based on the plan’s recommendations, the government has developed a strategy for revitalizing cocoa production in the district. We introduced the concept of Verified Sourcing Areas to the district government of Aceh Timur, identified three PPI compact zones, and began detailed mapping of relevant issues and opportunities resulting in a plan of action. IDH commissioned a study to explore the extent of illegal plantations in the Leuser ecosystem, and the policy and non-policy opportunities to address these.
Field-level impactNumber of producers/workers/community members trained (all Indonesia): Target 2020 15,000Target 2017 0Result (projects had not started in 2017) 0Number of hectares under protection and restoration (all Indonesia): Target 2020* 30,000Target 2017 0Result (project had not started yet in 2017) 0Three PPI compacts have been scoped near the Lokop Mega-Fauna Sanctuary (part of Leuser ecosystem) in Aceh Tamiang and Aceh Timur districts. In Aceh Tamiang, we plan to provide a service delivery model to smallholders, so farmers can increase their productivity and meet the sourcing needs of the mill, without expanding into the forest. In Aceh Tamiang Semadam, we will convene local government and communities to improve plantation and smallholder productivity of rubber and palm oil, in return for on- and off-concession forest protection and stopping further forest encroachment. Compacts in both areas would form a protective ring around the border to the Leuser ecosystem in areas where forest encroachment is imminent. Together with government and local plantation companies, in May 2017 we explored supporting the development of a PPI compact in Peunaron sub-district to minimize human-elephant conflict and intensify sustainable palm oil production to protect 30,000 hectares (direct) and 200,000 hectares (indirect).
IDH’s role is unique in making concrete plans with local plantation companies and local government on sustainability.
Provincial and district level elections in February 2017 influenced the speed of political engagement between the last quarter of 2016 and the first two quarters of 2017. Multi-stakeholder convening, governance and planning needs to be combined with action on the ground to keep stakeholders motivated.
The peatland management regulation and forest moratorium are requiring land users, especially SME plantation companies, to protect and restore, while alternative business models are not yet proven. This reduces the effectiveness of the policy framework, with low enforcement and compliance in reality.