Bayuni Shantiko on Scenarios building in complex commons

Bayuni Shantiko on Scenarios building in complex commons: Engaging multiple stakeholders in land use decisions in Indonesia

As one of the most populated tropical forest countries in the world, Indonesia faces huge challenges in balancing development, livelihood improvement of its citizens and conservation of its natural assets. In order to address these issues, provincial and regency spatial planning authorities develop twenty-year plans for land allocation zoning and land use. Many stakeholders, especially resource users or commoners, are not involved in the process. An important step in trying to improve the current situation is to facilitate the implementation of a more collaborative land use planning and allocation process that benefits all parties, taking into consideration environmental and social issues.
We conducted research using an applied foresight approach called Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) in two regencies in Indonesia. Through a series of multiple stakeholder workshops over a two-year period, PPA allowed diverse actors and interests to jointly explore and anticipate trajectories of land use change. Four scenarios reflecting social, economic and environmental pressures were constructed by regency government officials, local communities, customary leaders, private sector representatives, NGOs and local universities. One of the scenarios was then jointly selected by these participants for future action.
The study revealed consensus on key drivers of change, and led to the identification of policies (such as land tenure) and social variables affecting the commons. The scenarios developed by participants provided information which could be used to overcome challenges and mitigate negative consequences of various land use changes. This exercise may also enable decision makers to anticipate the most effective way of bringing about their economic and conservation goals. Overall, by increasing participation and integrating the needs and interests of all stakeholders, scenarios developed which might help participants to anticipate the best path for the future development, use and management of their land.