Lost forests: an aerial photograph shows land cleared for a palm oil plantation in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Romeo Gacad

Indonesian development policies have for the past several decades focused on rapid economic growth, without a targeted strategy to benefit the least powerful groups, such as landless and land-poor agricultural laborers in the densely populated agricultural districts and the equally poor forest-dwelling communities in the less populated islands. Indonesia’s legal and regulatory framework governing land is flawed and in need of a comprehensive overhaul. Throughout the country, the land rights of unregistered owners are insecure, women’s rights to marital property are generally not registered, and registration of all rights is unnecessarily expensive. A deforestation rate of 2% per annum is a significant ongoing threat which imposes especially high costs on traditional adat communities that depend upon forest resources for their livelihood. Indonesia’s legal framework fails to provide an environment conducive to investment and economic growth that would open doors of opportunity for the poor, women and traditional communities.

At least five land and natural resource property-rights issues should be addressed for the benefits of growth to be more widely shared and to increase environmental sustainability. First, ambiguities between formal and customary law are interpreted by governments, officials and citizens in ways that undermine land rights, leading to a growth in land disputes and conflicts which must be addressed. Second, a registration system that is overly complex, inefficient and ambiguous has weakened security of tenure and the development of a functioning land market. Third, land conversions driven by economic development are threatening Indonesia’s vital forest resources and hold implications at the global, national and local levels, particularly related to climate change. Fourth, urban growth has not been accompanied by sufficient investments in housing and urban services despite continuing decentralization. Fifth, the problem of rural landlessness has limited the economic options, basic livelihood strategies and food security of millions of families.

The current era of decentralization of central government functions could be an opportune time to work with district (kabupaten) governments on various land tenure and natural resource property issues. The National Land Agency (BPN) has long resisted reforms and does not appear likely to embrace them, while some district governments may be more amenable to reforms that they see as responsive to the needs of their communities. This could also be an opportune time to engage with civil-society organizations that have an interest in agrarian, natural resource and legal aid matters, but which may not have sufficient technical capacity to design and promote specific legislative reforms.

Selected indicators

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

Measurement unit: 
Percentage

Distribution of agricultural holders by sex (female - Share %) according to the FAO Land and Gender Database.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage

GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates.

Measurement unit: 
PPP$ 2011

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 Ha

Total funding for programmes still ongoing in January 2016 (US $).

Measurement unit: 
US$ (Current)

Total number of programmes still ongoing in January 2016

Measurement unit: 
Number

Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number

Rural population refers to the share (%) of people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Urban Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number
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Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit: 
1'000 Ha

It measures the area (1'000 Ha) covered by forest.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 Ha

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 Ha

Permanent crops (1'000 Ha) - land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee); land under trees and shrubs producing flowers, such

Measurement unit: 
1000 Ha

Permanent meadows and pastures - land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit: 
1000 Ha

Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    Legend
    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT)


    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.

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    Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.