Fighting for ecological justice


Campaign Issues:

Since 1997, Kaoem Telapak has been actively working to tackle illegal logging and protecting Indonesian rainforest and its biodiversity, promoting the respect and the recognition of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities rights, and actively engaging with different stakeholders (i.e government bodies and institutions, impacted communities, civil society organisations and law enforcement agencies) to strengthen forest and land governance in Indonesia. 

Apart from the progress that the country has achieved since decentralisation in 2001 where the central government is no longer holds the absolute power as it had under Soeharto, it also brought problems due to its ineffective implementation due to rampant corruption, overlapping regulations, weak law enforcement, lack of transparency, and limited public participation. 

In this regard, Kaoem Telapak has and will continue to work to ensure that remaining forests are protected, combat deforestation and other forestry crimes, and encourage the strengthening of various national regulations through active public engagement.

Illegal Logging

Since 1997, Kaoem Telapak has been actively combating illegal logging across the country and was among the first organisations that introduced “pembalakan liar” to its Indonesian audience. The work combines field investigation, extensive research and data analysis with active public campaigning. 

In 2001, Kaoem Telapak’s relentless efforts led to the protection of Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus) by its inclusion into the Appendix III of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). 

In 2005, Kaoem Telapak’s reports on illegal timber logging activity in Papua played a part to drive the response from the Government of Indonesia by launching the Operasi Hutan Lestari/Sustainable Forest Operations – the biggest official effort to combat deforestation caused by illegal logging.

Independent Forest Monitoring

Since the mid-2000s, Kaoem Telapak has been actively working on network building with various local organisations, IPLCs groups, and individuals who have the same aspirations and goals to protect forests and biodiversity, to tackle deforestation, to combat forest crimes, and to protect the IPLCs rights. 

In 2010, Kaoem Telapak co-initiated the foundation of the first independent forest monitoring network in Indonesia. Followed by regular capacity-building training at national and local level, and designed its own training modules. 

In 2022, in collaboration with The Indigenous Youth Alliance of the Archipelago (BPAN), Kaoem Telapak expands its network of independent forestry monitors by reaching out to Indigenous youths in targeted locations threatened by the expansion of large-scale plantations, mining, and other infrastructure projects.

Anti-money Laundering Law

Kaoem Telapak believes that advocating for a strong anti-money laundering law at national level is an integral part to tackle illegal logging and forestry crimes. In 2021, with other civil society groups in Indonesia, Kaoem Telapak submitted a judicial review of the Prevention and Eradication of Money Laundering Law (PP-TPPU) to the Indonesian Constitutional Court. 

The judicial review addressed the limited definition of investigators in the elucidation of Chapter 74 of the law in regards to money laundering investigators. The exclusion of civil investigators and authorised only few law enforcement agencies for Kaoem Telapak will limit the fight to combat money laundering crimes, particularly in forestry sector. 

In July 2021, the Constitutional Court granted the similar judicial review submitted by the civil investigators from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries, which ruled that all the civil investigators also have the authority to investigate money laundering crimes.

Timber Legality and Sustainable Assurance System (TLAS)

In 2003, initiatives to combat illegal logging by promoting legal timber was started in Indonesia. In September 2009, the regulation was ratified and known as the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) which aims to guarantee that timber and wood products come from legal sources. Kaoem Telapak was actively involved in the making process of regulation and became a key representative of the Indonesian civil society during its consultative processes. After its ratification, Kaoem Telapak continued to actively monitor its implementation together with the independent forest monitoring network, and critically provided feedback to strengthen the regulation. 

In 2020, with other civil society groups in Indonesia, Kaoem Telapak sent an open letter to the President regarding the Minister of Trade Regulation No.15/2020 which eliminates the obligation to use V-Legal documents as a requirement for exporting forestry products. The President then revoked the regulation due to backlash from various parties. 

In June 2009, through the multi stakeholders consultation where Kaoem Telapak played an active role during its process, TLAS was upgraded through the addition of sustainable aspects as one of its mandatory requirements.

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade-Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT – VPA)

Since VPA negotiations were initiated in 2007, Kaoem Telapak has been involved in the consultation process and has continued to campaign actively so that efforts to combat illegal logging become the responsibility of all relevant parties. When the FLEGT-VPA, which is a legal agreement between Indonesia as a timber-producing country and the European Union as a market country, was agreed upon in September 2013, Kaoem Telapak was involved in pushing for the acceleration within the country which was marked by when the Indonesia Government signed its ratification on 27 February 2014. To this day, Kaoem Telapak is still actively continuing its advocacy by monitoring the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA in order to achieve its goal of stopping illegal logging and cleaning up the supply chain of illegal wood products.

Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO)

Since ISPO was initiated by the Indonesian Government, Kaoem Telapak sees this as an opportunity to improve the palm oil industry governance. In 2017, Kaoem Telapak engaged with the consultations of the ISPO revision process and critically highlighted its concerns in regards to the exclusion of the FPIC mechanism, traceability and transparency aspects, proposing independent monitoring to be conducted on certification implementation, and how the certification should be mandatory for smallholders. 

In September 2018, Kaoem Telapak wrote to the Indonesian President, asking him not to sign off on the new ISPO as it considers it too weak. With other civil society groups and organisations in Indonesia, Kaoem Telapak co-initiated a broad coalition to support the moratorium on palm oil plantations expansion signed by the President Jokowi on 19th September 2019. The coalition expressed its disappointment when the moratorium was not extended in 2021. 

Kaoem Telapak also continues to carry out various studies and field investigations regarding the lack of ISPO implementation as an active contribution to strengthening the certification system.

Indigenous Peoples Rights Bills and Omnibus Law

Since 2017, Kaoem Telapak has been actively involved in the national coalition pushing for the ratification of the Indigenous Peoples Bills in Indonesia. In addition, Kaoem Telapak also continues to actively educate the public and campaigns regarding the importance of protecting and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

As part of the national coalition, Kaoem Telapak is also rejecting the ratification of the Job Creation Law (Omnibus Law), which is a form of deregulation practice that repels all the progress that has been achieved in the natural resources and environmental sectors. Kaoem Telapak is also of the view that the Omnibus Law has resulted in a shrinking of democratic space in Indonesia.

Market-Driven Regulation and Agreement

As one of the major producing countries of forest-risk commodities, Kaoem Telapak believes that the voice and concerns of the impacted parties – IPLCs and smallholders in Indonesia – need to be heard by decision makers and negotiators. With other civil society organisations in Indonesia, Kaoem Telapak actively monitors the IEU-CEPA (Indonesia and the European Union – Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement), initiated and lead the national coalition of the Indonesian civil society in regards to the EUDR (The European Union free-Deforestation Regulation) and actively following the development of other market-based regulations such as the UKTR (the United Kingdom Timber Regulation) and EU-CSDDD (the European Union – Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive).

Food Estate

Food Estate is a national strategic project that aims to ensure national food stocks. However, the project would clear much of the remaining forest to achieve its goal. In response to that, since 2020 Kaoem Telapak has been actively involved in monitoring and research in relation to the adverse impacts of the project in Humbang Hasundutan of North Sumatra on the forest and upon the IPLCs group. At national level, Kaoem Telapak also engaged with other civil society groups who also monitor similar projects in other parts of the country.


Advocacy Impact or Milestone

  1. Formal adoption on Illegal Logging definition through legal system
  2. Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus) listed under the Appendix III CITES
  3. Export ban for log in 2001 up to now
  4. Initiator for the Sustainable Forest Operations I (Operasi Hutan Lestari I) in 2005
  5. The adoption for the Independent Forest Monitors as integral system on Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS), known as SVLK in 2009
  6. The adoption for the Independent Monitors as integral system on Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) in 2020
  7. Judicial Review (JR) on Anti-Money Laundry (AML) law for prosecutor’s scope of work