Human security and agrarian control/land rights
Human security and agrarian control, the other two principles of climate justice cited by participant AP2 (Jakarta 2014), though not explicitly referenced as such by other respondents, were implicit in their responses. The overlapping nature of these principles have resulted in combining both under one heading due to various underlying, unresolved and unaddressed historical and contemporary issues that Indonesian adat communities have experienced and continue to. For example, one of the general findings spoke of the revolving door of international development projects in Central Kalimantan, where the same project developers are ‘coming and going under different names, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Suharto regime, central (Indonesian) government, military; so they [adat communities] say, REDD+ is just one of them’ (AP2 Jakarta 2014). Another claimed REDD+ is simply another ‘debt problem’.
I don’t see that this REDD, it is just another debt problem. Why? Because it is a South and it doesn’t even recognise the problems, the genuine problems, that exist in the society and we are talking about the social structure, indigenous peoples’ structure, when they are living in the forests they have already been impacted by the earlier system that you know, sometimes I have difficulty with the words, but you know if they don’t recognise the system, how can they solve problems just by giving benefit sharing [under REDD+].
(D Jakarta 2014)
Justice is thus situated within a wider context and background of past and current agrarian injustices. These have been perpetrated by national and international actors impacting on adat livelihoods and their ability to control their own destinies that continue to be reproduced today. One participant who had been researching Borneo’s agrarian history at the time of their interview found that as early as the 14th century there had already been internal migration that cost the nomadic Dayak, the original ethnic group, the loss of their forests, resulting in them having to move ‘so they could continue to cultivate the rattan again. Because there was ... a Muslim Sultanate there, and later, they interact a lot with the VOC, the Netherlands’ (SND Jakarta 2014). In consequence, there has been a ‘long history of market penetration ... [which] suddenly turned them all into the commodification of forests. So the commodification of forests equals money’ (SND Jakarta 2014). During the course of the participant’s research on KFCP, they came across a PowerPoint presentation where project developers presented to participating villagers a ‘picture of money REDD+ = $’ (SND Jakarta 2014).
The aspiration of adat agrarian control, or self-determination, and livelihood security (AP2 Jakarta 2014), has its antecedents in centuries-long dispossession of the land and resources that sustain their livelihoods. Maxton- Lee’s (2018) research into narratives framing conservation efforts of tropical forests in Indonesia, says the early foundations ‘were laid down in the colonial period, when the Dutch East Indies government set up nature reserves that were designed to restrict access to the commons by Indigenous people, from this period onwards have been depicted as the main offenders in environmental destruction’ (Maxton-Lee 2020, p. 50). The post-Sukarno ‘Green Revolution’ campaign, under the New Order of the Suharto Regime, was also singled out by the globalist respondents (D &c N Jakarta 2014). According to Hansen (1972), in the context of Indonesia’s ongoing rice production problem, by mid-1968 the government had signed a contract with Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical firm Ciba, ‘to saturate 300,000 hectares of prime rice lands on Java with high yield seeds [miracle rice seeds], fertilizer and pesticides for the 1968-1969 wet season’ (Hansen 1972, p. 937). As well as Ciba, a number of other foreign firms from West Germany (Hoeschst, A.H.T.), Japan (Mitsubishi), and a company registered in Europe that had the backing of Indonesian entrepreneurs, Coopa, were contracted to undertake the large-scale pro- gramme/campaign to achieve a Green Revolution by 1973 (Hansen 1972). By 1969, ecological dangers were coming to the attention of government authorities due to the widespread programme of aerial spraying. Inland ponds were being poisoned by aerial pesticides. Additionally, massive spraying was having harmful effects on fish and livestock, as well as humans. By May 1970, an official announcement was made by President Suharto ‘to abandon the program and terminate the government’s relationship with foreign firms’ (Hansen 1972, p. 44). Against an historical legacy of colonial rule and decades of ecologically destructive state-sanctioned national and international interventions, REDD+ is simply viewed as a modern-day iteration of past agrarian injustices ‘with (carbon) market penetration at its heart’ (SND Jakarta 2014).
Responses to the question of what climate justice means for adat women, inevitably followed a meandering pathway through these historical facts to arrive at a simple, yet profound, definition expressed by one participant: ‘How can they feed the family, it’s what they call justice’ (SND Jakarta 2014).
The principles of justice articulated by AP2 (Jakarta 2014) resonated in the mandate of one of the participant feminist organisations whose work centred in the provinces of Central Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan and Ache, to ‘strengthen women, grass-root women, in the fight against impoverishment’ (A Jakarta 2014). Impoverishment was linked to a range of issues, for example, food sovereignty and conflicts over natural resources among others, where impoverishment is a clear example of how securing adat tenure to ensure freedom from want and from fear, can neither be theoretically, nor practically, separated. Respondent ‘A’ (Jakarta 2014) was emphatic, reiterating on several occasions throughout the interview that ‘we cannot put them in boxes; this is indigenous women and this is local women’. For example, ‘in Central Sulawesi, when we are coming into the villages, we are not only seeing the indigenous women. With the transmigration of the land, there is more likely local people now, not originally from the area’ (A Jakarta 2014). With respect to REDD+, one aim of this participant feminist NGO is to provide more information to the women outside of the official information they receive from the government and the REDD+ project developers. For example, 4ve are also trying to say that there’s injustice, global injustice because of the climate change, who’s the actor and everything. But, if you want a quick answer, they
[women] don’t get it about the climate change justice’ (A Jakarta 2014). The explanation for why ‘they don’t get it’, is because the term is elitist, ‘it is too far away from the ground, what is climate change?’ (A Jakarta 2014). This response mirrored that of another in Central Kalimantan, where the participant explained the difficulty of translating what climate change mitigation is. Firstly, it requires an understanding of what climate change is; which in turn requires explaining the mechanisms, such as REDD, meant to reduce carbon emissions. And then, ‘like what is carbon, what is emission, how to reduce it and that kind of thing’ (RD Central Kalimantan 2014). The use of these ‘high terminologies’ (RD Central Kalimantan 2014) made one respondent question,
Well why do they plan to use those abstract terms [in REDD+] that are so far from daily life of women on the ground? Why do they choose to do that? Why do they try to sanitise it from things relevant to a woman’s life, children, water, fishing, so this at the UNFCCC level, but of course at the UNFCCC level it is very abstract, very far from the ground, but why should it be like that?
(AP2 Central Kalimantan 2014)
While climate justice, and gender justice, has led to no single definition in the participant responses, they are relationally implied in several principles underscoring ‘climate justice’ by AP2 (Central Kalimantan 2014). Namely, the polluter pays principle, human security and agrarian control, the land rights aspect. These principles are linked to historical facts framing current claims for adat tenure; recognition of alternative methodologies that respect adat cultural systems, local knowledge, practices and expertise side-lined in the mainstream discussions of the UNFCCC as strategically inferior to carbon centrism; the prevalence of relations of power and the asymmetry of power manifest in abstract terms, that have little meaning to those on the ground - that is, participating customary communities in REDD+.
Returning to notions of gender justice and climate justice by way of conclusion, participants were asked about their understanding of the phrase, ‘there can be no climate justice without gender justice’ (Gender 2007, cited in Rooke 2009). This produced a similar pattern of responses to those regarding notions of what climate justice and gender justice means; the logic of response was often contextual, tangential and, in this case, inverted. That is, in defining what this expression of justice meant, injustice was first made visible.
So what I think about there can be no climate justice without gender justice is we have to make the layers of injustice visible first. And, when we talk about actions, efforts to mitigate climate change, we have to really scrutinise those mechanisms, REDD+. Does it avert inclusivity of women or, it just operates on the status quo principle ... the assumption that it [climate change] is gender neutral.
The assumption climate change is a gender-neutral issue was first introduced in Chapter 1 and results from climate change being defined, first and foremost, as a science problem, hence the focus on mitigation. This scientific assumption of gender neutrality has been accompanied with another, from a different episteme, in the sphere of the ‘market’, where feminists from the neoclassical school view the ‘market as sexually neutral’ (Bessis 2003, p. 1). Epistemic assumptions from both have been structurally debunked in presenting these empirical insights from the women-specific findings of the Indonesian study. No amount of fine tuning of REDD+, however, can remedy the deep androcentrism at its heart.