Down to Earth works with partners in Indonesia and internationally to promote climate justice and sustainable livelihoods in Indonesia, acting as two-way information bridge between Indonesia and Europe for research and analysis, advocacy and capacity-building.
DTE was set up by the two UK-based NGOs, Tapol and Survival International, as a monitoring service for environment and development in Indonesia. The aim was to provide information on and raise awareness of the problems faced by rural communities confronted by the Indonesian government's centrally-planned development programme. Issues covered included the transmigration programme, forests and forest peoples, land disputes, dams, mining, the proposed nuclear power programme and marine and coastal fisheries and mangroves.
The target audience included key figures in the development community, government policy-makers, conservation organisations, research institutions, journalists as well as other NGOs and activists in Indonesia and elsewhere. As well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, the project participated in campaigns with other organisations.
This work helps expose international responsibility for social and environmental problems in Indonesia. Cases included the World Bank's role in Indonesia's disastrous transmigration programme, and its funding for the Kedung Ombo dam in Central Java - a project which led to forced or coercive evictions from their homes of thousands of local families. They also included a successful joint campaign to stop a US-based multinational , Scott Paper, from investing in an environmentally and socially damaging pulp mill project in Papua.
In 1991 DTE adopted a more assertive campaigning stance and started producing special reports on campaign issues. These included a book on mining, and special reports on pulp, forests, certification and transmigration. DTE's new strap line - International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia - reflected the campaigns’ orientation.
Since then DTE has expanded in terms of staff and scope of work. It has supported local Indonesian campaigns against destructive projects, helped to spread local-level information to international NGOs and media, organised lobbying events and capacity-building workshops and have helped build campaigning networks.
Goal, objectives and strategies
DTE’s primary goal is: Sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable communities in Indonesia, empowered by ecological justice. Under its strategic goals for the three-year (2010-2012) programme, Down to Earth has being working to:
- support communities in Indonesia defend their livelihoods and rights to resources, and
- hold governments and companies in Europe to account for the livelihood, human rights and climate justice impacts of their policies and investments relating to:
Top-down resource exploitation in Papua
Damaging top-down climate change programs
The overarching strategies are:
Building capacity among Indonesian local CSOs to participate in international debates and advocacy related to climate justice and sustainable livelihoods, though improved flow of information from international sources to Indonesian partners.
Raising awareness internationally of, and more effective international advocacy on, the destruction of Indonesia’s natural resources and sustainable livelihoods, and climate change-related impacts
Building capacity among local CSOs for making sure that affected communities are informed, heard and can make ecologically just responses to climate change.
Raising awareness of sustainable, community-based alternatives which can contribute to tackling climate change, among national and international policy-makers and decision-makers.
Ways of working
Down to Earth will act as a two-way information bridge between Indonesia and Europe for research and analysis, advocacy and capacity-building which connects to climate change, sustainable livelihoods and ecological justice in Indonesia. In order to do this, DTE has adopted the following priority ways of working to guide activities during the three-year period.
Working with local NGOs: DTE will build and improve relationships with local civil society organizations working for local communities’ sustainable livelihoods, against the destruction of natural resources and for climate justice.
Information dissemination: DTE will continue to publish its well-received newsletter and develop additional publications together with partners, on relevant topics. We will develop a more diverse repertoire, including more contemporary media – such as video and podcasts – suited to an internet audience. DTE’s website will be upgraded.
Capacity building: Indonesian language materials will be used as part of capacity-building projects, to be developed jointly with partners. DTE will also build its own capacity in relevant areas, in order to improve its two-way bridging role
Translation into Bahasa Indonesia:DTE will produce more of its own materials in the Indonesian language and facilitate more translation of key external sources for an Indonesian CSO audience.