Indonesian winners of Equator Prize celebrated at Award Ceremony in Jakarta

Apr 28, 2016

Jakarta, 28 April 2016 - Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung, Komunitas Adat Muara Tae, and FORMADAT were celebrated as winners of the Equator Prize 2015 at a ceremony held in Jakarta on 28 April 2016, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to environmental conservation, poverty reduction and climate action. They are three of twenty-one community initiatives from across the world that were awarded the prize in 2015, selected from 1,461 nominations submitted by communities in 126 countries. The ceremony in Jakarta followed an event held at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in December in Paris, France.

The ceremony held at UNDP Indonesia in Jakarta also featured a talk show with the winners and an interactive session with the audience which included ambassadors, a former Indonesian minister and students. Muara Tae’s Benuaq Ohokng Sangokng Dayak leader Mr. Petrus Asuy, Belitung community activist Mr. Budi Setiawan and Lundayeh Dayak tribal leader Mr. Lewi Paru of FORMADAT shared their inspiring experiences and answered questions from the audience.

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Indonesia Mr. Douglas Broderick remarked that the award-winning initiatives by the three community organisations were what the UNDP describe as “triple win” approaches, where initiatives deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits simultaneously.

“Action at the local level is critical for effective mitigation and adaptation to climate change, for building resilience to adverse natural events, and protecting the health of the environment for the benefit of all future generations,” added Mr. Broderick.

On an archipelago off the east coast of Sumatra that has been devastated by tin mining and unmitigated industrial development, Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung is working to rehabilitate, protect and sustainably manage coastal resources. Community management of coral reefs, mangroves, fishing zones and tropical forests has led to improved livelihoods and the restoration of a unique marine and coastal ecosystem. The group has effectively created three programs that balance environmental protection with ecotourism, including the Kepayang Island Conservation Center (for training, environmental education and turtle conservation), the Mendanau Mangrove Conservation Center (for mangrove and tropical rainforest protection), and the Batu Mentas Nature Reserve and Tarsius Sanctuary (which protects a threatened population of tarsius). Scuba diving, jungle treks, river tubing, tarsius expeditions, mangrove tours, homestays, fishing tours and boat rentals all are run by and directly benefit the local population. The group has successfully advocated for the creation of a regional marine conservation plan (with no-take and sustainable fishing zones) and five island turtle conservation areas, where more than 12,000 baby turtles have been released over the past five years. More than 45,000 mangrove trees have been replanted and the group oversees community nurseries that cultivate 20,000 seedlings. A video on Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung’s work is available here.

Komunitas Adat Muara Tae is a community of Dayak people in Kalimantan fighting for the protection of their customary forests. Of their original 11,000 hectares of land, only 4,000 hectares remain, the rest having been lost to illegal clear-cutting by palm oil, mining and logging companies. Through community mapping, demarcation of their traditional territory, and advocacy with government and industry, the group is working to achieve legal recognition of their land rights. The community has replanted more than 700 hectares of forest with traditional wood and fruit trees that are becoming increasingly rare due to land clearing for extractive industries. The movement was formed as a means of struggle and cooperation, a way of maintaining, safeguarding and preserving their culture and the natural resources in the customary forest. Komunitas Adat Muara Tae is a model of peaceful community resistance for forest protection in Indonesia – one community fighting with dignity for their survival. A video on Komunitas Adat Muara Tae’s work is available here.

The trans-border indigenous peoples alliance Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi Borneo (FORMADAT) came together in 2004 to build on the shared historical and cultural bonds between the Lundayeh, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and Sa'ban peoples living in the highlands of the heart of Borneo. FORMADAT aims to integrate conservation and development at the landscape level and to generate benefits for local people by preserving the rich natural and cultural diversity of the region, an area that includes the largest surviving intact forested and traditionally farmed catchment area on the island of Borneo. Farmers in the region use a traditional wet rice farming system, developed over centuries, which allows the same fields to be farmed continually and is unique in Borneo where most use rotational or shifting agriculture. The group has prioritized farming native varieties of rice and fruits, building innovative value-added supply chains to NGOs and networks like Slow Food International. FORMADAT is also an advocacy network that actively lobbies for greater land tenure security, indigenous peoples rights and forest protection. Several member communities have conducted territorial mapping and campaigned to gain rights to their traditional lands, including collaborative management of lands inside an Indonesian national park. A video on FORMADAT’s work is available here.

The ceremony in Jakarta followed the recognition of the three communities on the global level at a high-level award ceremony on 7 December 2015 in Paris, France, during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21). Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said “Climate change affects all of us—rich and poor, developed and developing, urban and local. The people and groups here tonight have shown that action and innovation against climate change can and does happen at all levels, and this should be encouraged, supported and scaled up.”

Each winning organization received USD10,000 and two representatives from each community participated in workshops and events at COP21. In statements delivered at the award ceremony, community representatives stressed the urgent need for better representation of indigenous peoples and local communities in decisions on land tenure and management of natural resources.

The Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. Since 2002, the partnership has awarded the prestigious Equator Prize to 208 local and indigenous communities around the world.

A complete list of Equator Prize 2015 winners can be found here. To access videos on all winners, please click here.

Contact information
Martin Sommerschuh
Phone: + 1 646 781 4072 or

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