Public debates in HoB area open new dialogue between governments and civil society



Posted on 06 January 2011  | 
The first of a series of public discussions took place in Pontianak, West Kalimantan from 25-27 November 2010, as part of an initiative of WWF Indonesia, supported by WWF-Sweden and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The debates were planned to generate informed dialogues about sustainable development, between civil society, local government and NGOs within the Heart of Borneo. The sessions were attended by around 50 representatives from local Civil Society (CSO’s) and Community- Based Organizations (CBO’s) as well as communities, universities and district governments.

The event was opened by the head of the HoB Working Group for West Kalimantan and was facilitated by a consortium of local NGOs with support from the WWF-Indonesia West Kalimantan team. The expectation is that the public debates will develop solutions for local governments to engage in the drafting of district workplans in West Kalimantan and ‘green’ their economic strategies.

The discussions also aim to strengthen the voice of civil society and reinforce the role they play in sustainable development in the HoB. “Sustainable development depends on stronger ‘green’ and ‘pro poor’ economies at local and regional level,” said Cristina Eghenter, Social Development Senior Adviser for WWF-Indonesia.

Eghenter is coordinating the series of public debates with the HoB program and went on to say that, “a Green Economy can provide the right umbrella to drive meaningful transformation towards more sustainability and well-being.”

The opening panel discussed existing community initiatives which focus on the sustainable use of resources within two districts in the HoB area.

They also explored the various efforts being made to advocate for a more rights-based approach to resource management in West Kalimantan.

These were then followed by presentations from two experts who explained the principles of a Green Economy and painted a picture of what a Green Economy framework could look like in West Kalimantan.

All stakeholders actively participated in the discussions and produced several valuable recommendations, including important principles and criteria that could frame green economic alternatives. The group also delivered suggestions to guide natural resource governance and policies to promote growth for the benefit of the people living within the Heart of Borneo. Some of the discussion areas included:
  • The value of ecosystems
  • Forest-based economies
  • Natural capital and social justice
  • Investment in biodiversity products
  • Local manufacturing and processing
  • Methods for monitoring and measuring
  • The role of social movements and coalitions.
A follow-up action plan was agreed upon and a consortium of local CSOs and CBOs has committed to further advocating for the adoption of some key points in favour of sustainable development. It was also decided that the recommendations be read at the planned HoB Working Group consolidation meeting to be held in West Kalimantan some weeks later.

The next event will be held in Central Kalimantan in January 2011, in a province that has already declared itself as a “Green” province.

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