IKAT-US: CSOs from Indonesia and the Philippines Collaborate around Subnational Initiatives

Issue: IKAT-US
Country: Asia-Pacific
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With decentralization occurring in many countries, more and more local, regional and provincial governments are directly dealing with oil, gas and mining issues themselves, and are facing challenges managing and governing those resources for their regions’ well-being. However, what can be done to improve natural resources management may differ from one region to another. But the knowledge gained from the experience in one place can provide much inspiration and lessons learned for other contexts.

In the framework of IKAT-US project, Article 33 Indonesia (formerly Pattiro Institute) and Bantay Kita network from the Philippines, with the support from RWI, conducted a field trip to Blora and Bojonegoro in Cepu block last July. Cepu block is the second biggest oil and gas reserve in Indonesia. The field visit aimed at sharing the experience of establishing revenue management of oil and gas in Blora and Bojonegoro to different settings in Philippines’ mining areas and gaining knowledge from the subnational mining experiences in the Philippines.

During the excursion, the participants from the Philippines (mostly representatives from Compostella Valley Province in Mindanao) met with Indonesian local government officials and parliaments, as well as civil society and local state-owned companies. Soeyoto, Regent of Bojonegoro, received the group; he discussed revenue management mechanisms in Bojonegoro with them. They shared in return the current conditions and mechanisms in Compostella Valley in the Philippines.

During this exchange visit, experience and knowledge of sustainable development, oil revenue investment, local content to opmitize local potential, revenue distribution to village level and legislation processes, were discussed. In Blora, participants learnt about transparency mechanisms and the establishment of transparency team – a multi-stakeholder group that consists of representatives of local government, companies, civil society organizations and local communities who live surrounding mining areas and that is formed to oversee the local transparency mechanisms in revenue collection and revenue sharing. Participants from Compostella Valley explained their advocacy for indigenous people rights and their concerns over the mining impact on the environment and on their society, compared to the little revenue they receive from the industry.

This collaborative activity between CSOs partners from Indonesia and the Philippines organized under IKAT-US project has been very positive and has shown good results. Back in Compostella Valley, the participants worked to accelerate the release of an executive order for the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholders Council, involving representatives from local government, business and civil society (in a similar model than the Transparency Team in Blora). Consequently, this order was signed, and the oath-taking for members of the council took place on November 19, 2012. Collaborative research is also underway between Article 33, Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao and Alyansa Tigil Mina, local CSOs in Davao, Philippines.

RWI's subnational workshop in London in October 2012, demonstrated the potential impact local, regional and provincial governments can have on managing and improving the relations between the oil, gas and mining companies and the communities they operate in. About 20 countries around the world who have been piloting projects participated in the discussion, sharing their challenges as well as solutions from various subnational contexts.

In the framework of IKAT-US, Vietnamese CSOs partners are also trying to initiate a subnational pilot project that will fortunately learn from experiences in Indonesia and the Philippines.

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