Conflict with Local Communities
The company’s operations caused serious conflict with local communities
APRIL: Positive relationships with local communities are essential to APRIL’s long-term success.
APRIL works actively to establish and maintain ongoing relationships with local people who live in proximity to our plantation estates. APRIL’s management systems ensure that plantation development processes foster full respect for the dignity, culture, human rights, aspirations and natural resource-based livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other local people.
That said, rights to land in Indonesia can be complex to determine and, under Indonesian law, the State owns forest estates not otherwise evidenced by legal title. Traditional or indigenous ownership of land is not necessarily recognized and is often difficult to determine given significant transmigration of people under Government-backed programmes. Nonetheless, we work hard to ensure that land disputes are avoided or resolved before we commence operations in our concessions
APRIL also provides opportunities for development benefits in culturally appropriate ways. We do this in a manner that acknowledges the aspirations of local people.
Our work with local communities on Pulau Padang is a case in point of the patient and diligent approach we take to addressing community needs and resolving disputes.
Our Pulau Padang concession was licensed to APRIL by the Indonesian Government in 2009. Through extensive community consultation and dialogue, we reached community agreements with 11 of the 14 villages in the vicinity of our concessions to deliver shared value from our operations. Disputes with the villages which had ongoing concerns were resolved through a government-appointed mediation team which included NGOs, scientists and government officials. While that was happening, APRIL halted its plans to establish plantations on its concessions there.
Community disputes in Pulau Padang have now largely been resolved and the Government has given APRIL the go ahead with its plantation establishment.
In 2013, APRIL will spend approximately US$900,000 in following through with community programmes on Pulau Padang which include:
- Establishment of integrated community farming systems through planning and supply of agricultural materials
- Provision of business assistance, loans and training for small-medium enterprises establishing in the area
- Provision of scholarships, teacher training and education equipment
- Enhancement of healthcare services
- Provision of social infrastructure including sports equipment, road infrastructure improvement, bridge repair and electricity generation capacity
- Job training focused on the youth