In Indonesia's Riau Province, the Talang Mamak indigenous peoples of Indragiri Hulu are also known as “Tuku Tuha" which means ‘the first tribe to come is more entitled to natural resources’. Their identity can never be separated from the forests they live in, which are governed based on their customary law and have been their main source of livelihood for centuries. However, the government’s ‘New Order’ policies in the 1970s granted forest rights concessions, resulting to unsustainable forest extraction and land seizures from Talang Mamak indigenous peoples and local communities. While much policy reform have taken place since then, palm oil plantations and other extractive industry projects continue to pollute water and land with pesticides and untreated palm oil-mill effluent. Today, the area is pervaded by soil erosion, increasing sedimentation in rivers, and air pollution from forest fires.
As such, the ICCA-GSI project Ensuring rights and access of customary area for the protection of conserved area of Talang Mamak indigenous people in Indragiri Hulu is aimed at influencing regional policies on recognizing the rights of the Talang Mamak indigenous peoples and protecting their ICCAs. Core components of the project include (i.) ICCA spatial planning and mapping for data inputs into the national ICCA registry; (ii.) developing a publication on traditional management system of Talang Mamak ICCA including the governance and customary laws; (iii.) training of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of Nusantara of Indragiri Hulu Regency (AMAN INHU) cadres in lobbying rules, regulations and restrictions; and (iv.) drafting of a policy brief to be presented in relevant CSO-government consultations for policy influence efforts.
Concurrently, the project is identifying economic opportunities in non-timber forest products (NTFP) from the ICCA based on local wisdom and culture. With a special focus on women and adat youth, key activities include training in setting up small-scale businesses including product development, marketing and procurement.