USAID LESTARI works with local government and community stakeholders to advance green development planning and leverage funding in a bottom-up, participatory manner. Based on Law 6 of 2014, villages in Indonesia are required to develop a medium-term development plan (RPJMDes). This planning document provides direction for activities that the village deems important for its development over a six-year period. The Village Government Work Plan (RKP) and the Village Budget (APBDes) are formulated annually based on theRPJMDes.
The USAID LESTARI team recently completed a six-volume RPJMDes manual that guides village development planning to contribute to the achievement of sustainable forest management. The RPJMDes manual assists village-level authorities through six sequential steps: (1) understand the paradigm of sustainable forest management and village development, (2) incorporate sustainable forest management into RPJMDes, (3) prepare RKP and APBDes, (4) conduct a technical assessment of village conditions, (5) develop a village zonation plan; and (6) collaboratively manage forest areas.
The head of South Aceh District welcomed the approach facilitated by this manual as a way to bring together village communities, the Forest Management Unit, and other forestry officials. He issued a decree (Peraturan Bupati) requiring all villages within the district to develop a village plan that involves programs for environmental protection. These programs include reforestation and forest rehabilitation, forest protection and preservation, water catchment protection, and human wildlife conflict mitigation. This brings more than 400,000 hectares of forest, including major sections of Leuser National Park and Singkil Wildlife Reserve that contain the habitats of key, critically endangered species (e.g., Sumatran orangutan, tiger, rhino, elephant), under sustainable co-management for conservation. The total potential funding leveraged is around $2 million.
The decree institutionalizes this approach facilitated by LESTARI and scales up impact from the village level up to the entire district. Given the interest in green development initiatives from the Aceh Government, LESTARI will seek to expand adoption across other districts in the Leuser Landscape and across Aceh Province. It has the potential to serve as a model for strengthening village-based forest governance across Indonesia.