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Ocean Forum empowers Demak community groups for coastal restoration

Published on:
  • Aquaculture, fisheries and coastal agriculture
  • Coastal resilience
  • Coastal wetland conservation
  • Integrated delta management

The 10 community groups, which have supported Building with Nature measures in Demak district in Java to restore the eroding coastline, are now organized in the ocean management forum Bintoro Forum. Bintoro” stands for “Bina Noto Segoro”, Javanese words, which means “To Manage the Sea”. Being organized in the forum allows the community to network with the government and receive funding to ensure sustainability of Building with Nature interventions.

Empowerment of local communities in Building with Nature

Building with Nature activities in Demak Regency are carried out in close collaboration with 10 communities groups in 9 villages at the project site, managed by Wetlands International. This enables the accommodation of ideas of group members into project interventions and the intensive communication between the Building with Nature consortium, the communities and the government. One of the approaches used is the financing mechanism Bio-Rights through which local communities can invest in sustainable economic practices and root them in village development plans, in turn for being actively involved in environmental conservation and restoration.

The desire for a collective movement to restore coastal areas

The role of community groups has proven to be essential. But members felt the need for even better communication between established community groups in different villages, and for a more collective movement to restore the coastal areas for community welfare. At the celebration of the World Mangrove Day in July 25, 2019, all community groups agreed on the establishment of an inter-group Communication Forum called BINTORO for managing the ocean. Since its official establishment in September, the BINTORO Forum has developed into an institution, which officially accommodates 11 groups in 9 villages, including 1 additional all women group to ensure the right gender balance.

BINTORO represents groups in communicating with partners, especially related to cooperation for development in member villages. It also functions as a mechanism to receive financial support from the government, for instance to ensure sustainability of Building with Nature interventions in Demak, such as the maintenance of permeable structures by community groups, mangrove rehabilitation and aquaculture revitalization.

Vehicle to network with the government

The BINTORO Forum actively communicates with the Government. Recently they conducted a review of government policies related to development in the coastal areas of Demak and surrounding areas. On the basis of this they developed a petition to call for the defense of their mangroves and for serious efforts from the Demak Regency government to reduce unsustainable groundwater use, especially by the industrial sector. This is leading to severe land subsidence, the sinking of the ground’s surface which contributes to environmental damage in the coastal areas of Demak and undermines efforts by the Building with Nature project to halt erosion, rehabilitate mangroves and revive aquaculture to boost the economy.

BINTORO also enabled contribution of communities to World Clean Up Day, meetings with the Pemali Jratun River Watershed Management Agency to explore collaboration on coastal restoration, and the commemoration of World Wetlands Day, engaging government institutions, local communities and students.

Authors: Yus Rusila Noro and Eko Budi PRiyanto, Wetlands International Indonesia

More information on Building with Nature Indonesia:

Building with Nature Indonesia is a programme by Wetlands International, EcoShape, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (PU), supported by supported by the Dutch Sustainable Water Fund and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).