JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – "Our customary land comes from ancestors.Would we not be trusted to take care of our own forest?" I say with a little stammer.
Iku is a community leader of Lipu Wana Posangke who lives in Morowali district, Central Sulawesi.
He and other indigenous peoples are trying to demand the establishment of customary forest areas to the government.
In a discussion entitled "Customary Law Community Charged Agreement on Stipulation of Indigenous Forest" at Jalan Veteran I, Central Jakarta, Monday (5/12/2016), Iku said, since 2013 Lipu Wana Posangke community fought for the determination.
However, to date, the government has not yet issued a decree on customary forest areas demanded by Lipu Wana Posangke community.
Iku also expressed concern if the government does not trust the community of Lipu Wana Posangke able to maintain its own forest area.
"Four years we are fighting for the determination of customary forests, to this day the central government is not serious about issuing decisions on indigenous forest of Wana Posangke," he said.
The existence of indigenous peoples of Lipu Wana Posangke has been recognized by local government through Perda Kabupaten of Morowali Number 13 year 2014.
The regulation becomes the capital for the community to register the customary forest establishment to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
On October 5, 2015, the indigenous people of Wana Posangke, accompanied by civil society organizations, registered a request for customary forest of 25,656 hectares.
Various requirements in accordance with Ministerial Regulation of Minister of LHK Regulation no. 32 Year 2015 on the Forest of Their Rights fulfill.These requirements include a letter of application for the establishment of customary forests, Local Regulations on the Recognition and Protection of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, as well as maps of customary forest areas.
However, it seems that the expectations of Iku and other indigenous peoples have not been realized.
(Read: Indigenous People Billing Jokowi Promise Related Stipulation of Indigenous Forest Area)
On the same occasion, Director of the Indonesian Conservation Society Warsi, Diki Kurniawan said every indigenous community has local wisdom in managing its customary forest.
According to Diki, indigenous peoples usually have unwritten rules governing which forest areas can be utilized and which ones are protected.
The regulation aims to preserve forests because the livelihoods of indigenous peoples are heavily dependent on the existence of forests.
"In the past, indigenous people have set their own customary lands, which one is protected which can be utilized," said Diki.
Therefore, Diki said, if the Government is hesitant to set customary forest area because the community is considered unable to maintain is the wrong reason.