Public policy for strengthening and scaling up community-based fire prevention initiatives of private corporations to benefit the environment and livelihoods

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Fire may reduce land preparation cost, but negative externalities can cause high losses, outweighing its economic benefit. The severe fire in Indonesia in 2015 affected health, the economy, the environment, tourism and education. In response, governments at national and sub-national levels have developed public policies to prevent or reduce fires and empower communities. We identified 53 public policies from different ministries, agencies and local governments in South Sumatra that are strongly connected to private sector initiatives, such as IFFS (Integrated Forestry Farming System or DMPA-Desa Makmur Peduli Api). Ten of the most connected public policies are Law No. 19/2013: Protection and empowerment of farmers; Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF)’s regulation No. 83/2016: Social forestry; Local Regulation of South Sumatra Province No. 8/2016: Forest and/or land fires control; Law No. 24/2007: Disaster prevention; Presidential Instruction No. 11/2015: Enhancement of forest and land fire control; Government Regulation No. 22/2008: Financing and management of disaster assistance; PUPR Ministerial Regulation No. 16/2015: Exploitation and Maintenance of Irrigation Network; Government Regulation No. 21/2008: Implementation of disaster prevention; National Disaster Board (BNPB) Head Regulation No. 1/2012: Guidelines for disaster resilient villages; and Government Regulation No. 57/2016: Protection and management of peat ecosystems. These 53 policies are interconnected, in that some are complementary, while others overlap.
Government units, such as ministries, non-ministerial government agencies (e.g. BNPB and Peatland Restoration Agency-BRG) and sub-national government departments are responsible for setting budgets, planning and implementing these policies. However, they are restricted financially. Public–private partnerships offer a solution. This hybrid governance will increase the legitimacy of private sector initiatives and the effectiveness of government programs.
A number of laws, regulations and policies at the national and sub-national level provide a legal umbrella allowing fire-prevention efforts to be scaled up. Funding is allocated from the government through state and local budgets, as well as from non-governmental organizations and the commercial sector. There are various mechanisms for self-financing IFFS, for example by establishing a revolving fund, village-owned enterprises (BUMDes), microfinancing institutions and cooperatives. To sustain IFFS programs and activities, a strong business model must be developed for every IFFS activity, incorporating its resources, its value creation and capture, and its transaction costs. Marketing of products is a significant element of sustainability must be developed.
The challenge in scaling-up efforts is the implementation of IFFS program on the ground. Our study noted slow technology adoption, lack of capacity, unstable market price and lack of stakeholders’ interest as the most prominent challenges. Stakeholders are concerned about generating a more permanent solution, i.e. creating a master plan of natural resources management in the area, and measuring the effectiveness and success of the IFFS program. Addressing these concerns could facilitate the scaling up the IFFS program at the national level.

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