Leveraging Gender-Sensitive Innovation for Deforestation-Free Commodity Production in Indonesia

20 November 2022

Introduction of the SAFE Project

Forest ecosystems are vital for our planet and humankind. Yet, everyday thousands of hectares of forest are being destroyed. 90% of global forest loss is caused by agricultural production.

If tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank third in annual global greenhouse gas emissions after China and the USA. With the European Union being a major market for high deforestation-risk commodities, such as palm oil, cocoa, or natural rubber, it is estimated that around 15% of the EU’s carbon footprint is caused by the destruction of forests in Europe and the whole world.

To reduce its consumers’ impact on deforestation the EU is currently developing a regulation (EUDR) on the trading of commodities associated with deforestation or forest degradation. With this regulation coming into force in 2024 it is expected that traders of deforestation-risk commodities follow due-diligence processes to avoid or minimize the risk of these commodities originating from recently deforested areas.

While this represents a big step towards improved accountability, this regulation also poses the risk of smallholders being excluded from European markets due to more complex processes and requirements.

SAFE’s Aim
Jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and BMZ, GIZ launched the “Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems” project, or SAFE for short, in November 2022 during the COP27 in Egypt. The four-year project is part of the European Commission’s effort to reduce pressure on forests through agriculture in four countries: Ecuador, Brazil, Zambia, and Indonesia. Through identifying and piloting gender-sensitive innovations, the project aims to create enabling conditions for sustainable forest governance and management, foster deforestation-free supply chains, and empower local communities towards sustainable forest management.

SAFE in Indonesia
With its forests housing more than 200,000 species of animals and 130,000 species of plants (Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2020), Indonesia hosts the third largest area of tropical rainforests in the world. During 2019-2020, Indonesia unfortunately lost around 67,000 ha of its forest land due to deforestation (National Statistical Bureau, 2021), with agriculture being the major driver of forest loss in the past decades.

With millions of Indonesians depending on agriculture as their main livelihoods while still recognizing the need to conserve forests, the country has put in place various policies, plans, and corrective measures to improve forest governance and reduce deforestation and forest degradation throughout the years. These include Indonesia’s enhanced commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 31.89% in 2030 and have a 140 million tons carbon sink from Forestry and Other Land Uses (FOLU) and an upcoming regulation on sustainable jurisdiction indicators, that will help tracking sustainability performance in the plantation sector.

Regardless, implementation of such policies remains challenging, especially for smallholder farmers with obstacles to implement sustainable practices, lack of formal land rights and documentation, and lack of alternative livelihood opportunities on forested land or in close proximity to forest boundaries and other valuable ecosystems.

In Indonesia, the SAFE project is implemented in cooperation with the Agency for National Development Planning BAPPENAS. The project will work closely with various public and private stakeholders in identifying and testing gender-sensitive technological, organizational, institutional, and conceptual innovation initiatives. Through this approach, GIZ is opening the opportunity for stakeholders to co-create interventions with women and men in the communities, ensuring relevant design while providing direct market linkage to ensure the sustainability of the intervention. Further, GIZ is committed to ensure that identified interventions will be tailored to address gender gaps in forest governance and value chains.

At the beginning of the project, SAFE will launch an Innovation Challenge targeting private sector, CSOs, farmer organizations, think tanks, consortia, etc. to identify and submit potential innovation initiatives to reduce deforestation from agriculture. This Innovation Challenge is aimed to launch in the second half of 2023.

Once identified, the project will support the piloting of the identified initiatives through co-financing and provision of technical expertise. Building on GIZ’ previous experience, the initiatives will be implemented in West Kalimantan and/or Central Sulawesi provinces of Indonesia.

Throughout the implementation of the gender-sensitive innovation initiatives, SAFE project will collect learnings from the implementation of pilots and facilitate cross learnings between the four countries, while at the same time foster south-south-north collaboration between the 4 implementation countries, Germany, and the EU. All these learnings will in turn feed into policy recommendations to further strengthen forest governance and deforestation-free agricultural supply chains in Indonesia.

Link to further materials

Contact person
Jonas Dallinger — Principal Advisor
Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems – SAFE

Cecilia Novarina — Knowledge Management Advisor
Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems – SAFE

Key buzzwords
Sustainability, Deforestation-free, Value Chain, Sustainable Value Chain, Indonesia, Forest, FOLU, West Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, Gender, Innovation