Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders active in the development of community-based forest management in East Kalimantan met in Samarinda on 20-21 November 2012 to exchange experiences, coordinate their efforts and to decide on next steps. The Coordination Meeting on Village Forest Development and Workshop on Indicative Mapping of Village Forest Areas was a collaborative effort between the Watershed Management Agency (DAS BP) Berau Mahakam, GIZ FORCLIME and Kawal Borneo Community Foundation (KBCF). The event was attended by 65 representatives from the Province and District Forestry Services in East Kalimantan, Technical Implementation Units (UPT) of the Ministry of Forestry, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and sub-district and community representatives from several villages in East Kalimantan.

Village Forest, as one of several government-sponsored community-based forest management schemes, is still in its early stages of development in East Kalimantan. Up to now there are two villages whose proposals have been verified by the Ministry of Forestry for permission of village forest management. The verified villages are Long Bentuk (East Kutai) with an area of 800 hectares facilitated by the KBCF, and Setulang (Malinau) which covers 5,314 hectares facilitated by GIZ FORCLIME. Additionally, WWF has proposed an area of 52,000 hectares in West Kutai to be allocated for community based forest management activities.

One important issue and challenge for further progress raised during the Village Forest Coordination Meeting is the local governments’ limited support in developing conducive policies. In addition, limited availability of facilitators is also a main problem in the forest village development processes. Prof. Dr. Ir. San Afri Awang, Special Adviser on Inter-institutional relations to the Minister of Forestry,  and Dr. Ir. Haryadi Himawan, Director of Social Forestry of the Ministry of Forestry, made a commitment to carry out a roadshow in East Kalimantan districts to encourage the local governments to provide their support to Village Forest development.

During the second day, the workshop focused on sharing experiences among villagers related to processes of village forest development and district-wide mapping of indicative areas for village forest development.  GIZ FORCLIME has supported the District Forestry Services in developing indicative maps for village forest allocation area in Malinau and Kapuas Hulu districts. The resource person from the Directorate General of Forestry Planning of the Ministry of Forestry strongly supported the District Forestry Services’ and FORCLIME’s efforts in preparing the draft indicative maps and considered that the developed maps met with the standards. The indicative village forest allocation maps of Malinau and Kapuas Hulu districts will be finalized by the District Forestry Services and proposed to the Ministry of Forestry for approval. With these maps legalised a big step forward in developing community based forest management in East Kalimantan will be achieved.