Bantaeng District in Indonesia regulates rewards for ecosystem services
A Regent’s Regulation has become the first official local ruling in the province of South Sulawesi for rewards for ecosystem services. After going through a long and exhaustive process, the people of Bantaeng District now have clearer rules for managing their scarce water resources.
‘The long road towards Bantaeng becoming an environmental conservation city has now started. Promulgation of Regent’s Regulation no. 41/2015 is a great beginning’, said Mustafa, head of the Forest Management section of the Department of Forestry and Plantation in Bantaeng. ‘Now we are also striving to make this regulation go higher: from district to provincial level’.
Aided by the technical support of the Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi (AgFor) project, which is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada, the regulation sets the scene for the fair, equitable and conservative use of natural resources in the district. The regulation allows both providers and users of water resources to benefit, which will not only encourage better management of those resources but also reduce conflict over them.
Atiek Widayati, AgFor’s environment component coordinator, said that, ‘The regulation is based on community need and input, so it has to be of benefit to community members’.
The process that led to the regulation began in the watershed of Biang Loe, which provides water to four villages—Pa’bumbungan, Kampala, Parang Loe and Campaga—and the regional water company, PDAM. PDAM draws water from sites in three of the villages, using large pipes and equipment to produce bottled drinking water. Commercial use of bottled water is permitted under a district regulation whereby companies pay PDAM for the service, providing revenue to the district government.
Massive amounts of water were being drawn from Biang Loe but there were no benefits flowing to the villages that managed the watershed surrounding the sources. In early 2013, the community of Campaga voiced their thoughts on the importance of creating a regulation to govern the use of water, including the concept of reciprocity between the providers and users of water.
‘This inspired AgFor and its partner organisation, Balang, to survey households and others who had interests in the watershed’, said Mustafa.
The results of the survey revealed serious issues surrounding the management of water in Biang Loe. AgFor accordingly facilitated many meetings, discussions, training sessions and workshops on ‘rewards for ecosystem services’ for everyone involved in the management of the watershed.
‘It was definitely not an easy task to build public understanding of water as an environmental service’, said Adam Kurniawan, chair of Balang, which is also one of the strategic partners in the Working Group on Water Environmental Services that was formed in Bantaeng to understand how to better manage the resource. ‘It took a long time and lots of persistence as well as the cooperation of numerous people to get a proper understanding amongst everyone. However, in collaboration with all partners, such as the Department of Forestry and Plantations, Regional Environmental Impact Control Agency, heads of villages, the Community Entrepreneur Group and Village-owned Enterprises, finally, the regulation on environmental services was enacted’.
Article 5, chapter IV of the regulation states that each individual and/or legal entity that uses water for commercial and industrial purposes must reward the ‘providers’ of the service, that is, the local communities that keep the watershed in a healthy state. The procedure for granting rewards—including what form any reward should take—is regulated through an agreement between the providers and the recipients through the working group on environmental services. Accordingly, work is now underway to create such agreements between upstream communities and downstream users, such as PDAM, about the types of rewards to be provided.
Head of Bantaeng’s Regional Planning Agency, Samsu Alam, who also serves as the coordinator of the working group, reiterated the importance of conserving the services provided by the environment: ‘Rewards for water environmental services must be addressed so that the conservation of water resources in Biang Loe can be properly implemented. The Agency will cooperate closely with at least four working units of the government—Public Works, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—to ensure effective implementation’.
The hard work must continue with the cooperation of everyone involved. Good collaboration will bring results that can be enjoyed by all.
‘It is indeed important to remember that the creation of this regulation doesn’t mean that our work to conserve the environment has been completed’, said Widayati. ‘On the contrary, the real work has just begun. Now all parties must work hand-in-hand to implement it’.
This work is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry