Women Research Institute’s Participation at the Global Forest Watch Summit 2019 in Washington DC
The Global Forest Watch (GFW) held its inaugural Summit of practitioners and innovators in the field of forest monitoring from the 18th to 19th June 2019 at the Marvin Center, George Washington University in Washington DC. The purpose of this summit was to strengthen the capacity of the forest monitoring community to implement a technology-based monitoring approach in the development of forest management, conservation and restoration. Women Research Institute, a partner of the World Resources Institute, was invited to participate in the GFW Summit activities and exchange knowledge and experiences related to forest monitoring tools with other World Resources Institute partner institutions. The GFW Summit 2019 activities included multiple panel discussions that participants could attend. Women Research Institute researchers participated in various discussion sessions, topics included 1) The latest information about the development of the GFW platform, 2) Discussion on forest monitoring tools and practices 3) Discussion on Community Monitoring and Evaluation 4) Networking Session: user marketplace, 5) Utilizing data for real action.
The Indonesian government has implemented a 30% quota system for legislative institutions since the 2004 General Elections as mandated in Article 65 of Law No. 12/2003 and revised in Law No. 8/2012 concerning General Elections. However, the results of the 2014 General Election showed that the representation of women in parliament was only 17%. On the other hand, the Election Law stipulates that the legislative nomination mechanism for women candidates is regulated by political parties, stipulating that each political party is obliged to fulfill a 30% quota for women legislative candidates. Thus, political parties themselves play an important role in increasing women's representation. However, the challenge faced by political parties is developing a strategy to support female party members to get more seats in parliament heading towards the 2019 General Elections.
The Women Research Institute (WRI) conducted a Joint Research project with the Korean Women's Development Institute (KWDI) in 2016 called "Indonesian Women’s Political Representation: Affirmative Action Policies for Political Parties Approaching the 2019 Elections”. In this study, WRI intended to conduct an analysis of the causes of the decrease in the percentage of women's representation (to 17%) in the 2014 General Election, despite the adoption and amendment of the General Election Law governing the quota system for women. This research identified the issue of women's political representation in national parliaments by analyzing the challenges and opportunities for female party members in their respective political parties, as well as developing internal policy recommendations for political parties regarding affirmative action policies to increase women's representation.
Women Research Institute (WRI) is currently running a data-based advocacy traning program to promote gender equality in the effort to overcome problems related to forest concessions. The implementation of this program is supported by Global Forest Watch, a subsidiary of World Resource Institute. This training program has been carried out in two districts in Riau Province namely the District of Siak and the District of Pelalawan as a follow-up of WRI’s previous researches on gender, transparency, and participation in concessions.
Through our previous researches, WRI found that even though women play significant roles in the management of the environment and land, they were often not included in the meetings discussing policies related to environment and land management. Women seldom got the access to direct information while they experienced direct impacts of the decisions made.
The issue of forest fires which Indonesia has experienced every year for the last two decades has not only become a global concern, but also a disaster causing large-scaled deforestation. The forest fires in Riau Province in March 2014 recorded the most fire locations, with Bengkalis, Rokan Hilir, Pelalawan, and Siak Districts contributing up to 52 percent of the total fire locations in Indonesia.
The fire disasters greatly impact the local community living nearby forest concession areas, as a majority of them are burnt. The Indonesian government often allows big private companies to manage the land or natural resources for economic reasons, by granting them long-term concessions (approximately 20-55 years), which damage the forest areas and ignore the rights of the local community. However, there has been no research on public participation in forest management and forest concessions in Indonesia, particularly in relation to gender issues.
In the last few years, forest fires have been one of the major environmental issues in Indonesia. In 2014, Riau Province recorded the most fire locations in the country. As an illustration, four districts in Riau Province, namely Bengkalis, Rokan Hilir, Pelalawan, and Siak, accounted for 52% fire locations from the total forest fires throughout Indonesia. Meanwhile, the area of forests which experienced deforestation reached 373,373 hectares.
The problem of forest fires, which causes various economic, health, and environmental impacts to the local people, largely—if not mostly—affects women. As women are considered to be responsible for domestic matters, they are expected to bear the responsibility of all matters related to the family’s continuity.