A new land rights project


When the people of the rainforest have legal rights to their land, they are more inclined to take good care of it. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we announce that Save the Orangutan has been granted DKK 1.2 million by the Danish government to ensure that the local people in the Mawas area on Borneo can obtain legal rights to the forest in which they live.

In 2013, a long-awaited Indonesian amendment was finally approved, which strengthens the hope of giving the indigenous peoples and local communities l

Community development

egal rights to the forest, they have lived in for generations.

The amendment provides ownership

Earlier customary forests in Indonesia were owned by the state, which were able to offer it to whomever they wanted. But the new amendment allows the vulnerable and marginalized communities in the rainforest to apply for formal ownership of their area and thus manage it.

Rights with a positive effect

Project leader Marie Sigvardt has worked closely with Save the Orangutan's Indonesian partner, BOS Foundation, on local development in the rainforest area Mawas since 2007. She is convinced that the new amendment will have a positive effect on the local population's management of natural resources: "The uncertainty associated with not having the rights to their land and resources influences people's long-term planning and vision of the future", she says,!"-If you risk losing it all tomorrow, why take care of it today?"

However, it is not that easy to claim rights to forest areas. The process requires knowledge about mapping of the forest boundaries as well as the legal system and political decision-making process. But with a grant from the Danish government of DKK 1.2 million Save the Orangutan and BOS Foundation are able to support the local communities in Mawas in their efforts to obtain legal rights to their forest areas.

Protection of the rainforest through local development

Efforts to curb illegal felling of orangutan habitat through local development were

already a focus area for Save the Orangutan in 2006. In 2007, the organization got the first grant from CISU, an institution under the Danish government, which allocates funds for smaller organizations. Since then, more funding has been allocated to projects, all of which have helped strengthen communities in the areas where humans and orangutans live side by side. The new rights-based project runs over the next three years. We will continuously post updates and information about the project and its progress.

Project leader Marie Sigvardt just started up the rights-based project in Mawas. She returned with many new great impressions, ideas and positive comments as well as memories of the warm welcomes she received from the locals and villages.