On May 15 and 16 2018, CPI Team held meetings with the Government of Kotawaringin Timur and Katingan Districts, Central Kalimantan to discuss the findings of Village Fund study. In both districts, the meeting was hosted by the Regional Development Planning and Research and Development Agency (Bappelitbang) and attended by representatives from key district government offices and Bappelitbang of Central Kalimantan Provinces. CPI’s local partner in Central Kalimantan, Yayasan PILAR, provided support for the meeting organization.
Government of both Kotawaringin Timur and Katingan responded positively to the report findings and engaged actively in the discussion on follow-ups of the study recommendations. They recognized the unparalleled opportunities that Village Fund offer to support rural economic development and sustainable land use. They also agreed with the challenges and improvement recommendations identified in the report.
Five key takeaways from the discussions are:
- Across Indonesia, including Central Kalimantan, Village Fund has been used for physical development in much greater proportion than for sustainable land use because of four reasons: a) Villages are deprived of road infrastructure which has hampered their connectivity with other areas and economic development, b) Prevailing perspective that development results should be tangible in any physical form, c) Knowledge gaps on sustainable land use activities that can advance rural economy, and d) Lack of clear guidelines from district government on eligibility of sustainable land use activities.
- Clear guideline from the District Government that simplifies the key content of increasing number of regulations related to Village Fund is urgent. It is not realistic to expect village administration to keep up with the regulations and their amendments while they are struggling with implementation of current plan.
- As capacity of village administration is generally low, the Village and People Empowerment Office at district and sub-district levels plays a key role to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of Village Fund. However, they are short of human and financial resources. The central and district governments need to allocate adequate resources to address such a shortage.
- The central government should find more innovative mechanism for the provision of facilitators/experts to help the villages produce a sound village plan and budget.
- There is a need of improved collaboration between Rural and People Empowerment Office and other sectoral offices such as those in charge of agriculture and environment to support Village Fund use for sustainable land use activities by the villages. For instance, Agriculture Office has programs on organic farming and fertilization and land fires prevention which can be matched with the needs of villages.
CPI will organize similar discussion in Berau, East Kalimantan later this month. The Village Fund study was built with particular focus on the East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, the two provinces in which CPI has multi-year program to help local governments improve their land use policy and practice to align with climate and sustainable development objectives.